The answer to the question ‘How long does it take to build a plugin’ has as much to do with my current schedule as it does the size and complexity of the job. For smaller jobs, I can usually work it in under two weeks. But for larger projects, I generally I ask for a 30 day lead time.
I may be able to build a site in 40 hours and that looks pretty much like a week to most people. But that does not mean I can deliver the work in a week. I’ll be working on multiple projects during the course of any given week. So I may only devote 10 hours per week to any one job which means I need 4 weeks to complete a 40 hour job. And that is the norm.
Having 30 days allows me to seamlessly work new projects into my schedule. It also allows me time to think about the job before I begin which is very beneficial to all parties.
Most people think writing code is like typing a copy of something. You just start typing code and don’t stop until you’re done. But in reality, coding is much more like writing a mystery novel. You actually have to think about it first. Plan it out. Try to imagine all the different players and plot twists ahead of time so that all the pieces fit together elegantly and make perfect sense to anyone reading the code. And the more complex the job, the more thinking required. Sometimes it means walking away for a day or two just to noodle through something – sleep on it maybe.
So even though you may want or even need your work done like today, patience will be rewarded with a site or plugin that has been built with care and thoughtfulness. You’ll be happy with the end result and so will anyone else that comes along to work on your site. “Wow”, they’ll say. “Somebody really did a great job on this”.