As I established in my prior post, "Understanding the cost of not being accessible", repairing accessibility issues is costly. There are two ways that repairing accessibility issues can get expensive. First, there’s the obvious cost of the labor involved in fixing the issues. Second, as I established, is the cost of disruption, which is the loss of money incurred by redirecting revenue-generating staff to tasks that do not generate revenue.

As I said in that previous post, the cost of disruption is easy to calculate:

  1. Find out your profit
  2. Gather your average cost per person on the development team
  3. Your average ROI per person on the development team is (profit - (avg. cost per person * number of people))/ number of people
  4. Your average ROI per person, per hour, is the ROI per person (from above) divided by 2080, which is the # of work hours per year

Using the steps above, you will now have the amount of money your company makes every hour an employee works. Each company is different, of course, so it is important to have this number on hand, because the next step is to figure out how much it will cost you to make your site accessible.

Calculating the cost to make a website accessible depends on a lot of variables, such as how bad the site is, how the site is made, and what type of errors there are. For the most part, you can estimate the cost pretty reliably by tracking the time-per-issue on your bugs, in general.

That being said, a major factor involved impacting the cost of fixing the accessibility of your site is how well your development team knows accessibility. And chances are, your team likely doesn’t know much about accessibility. Frankly speaking, it is why people like me have such strong job security. Deep knowledge of accessibility remains rather niche because it isn’t taught in schools or coding bootcamps and even most online courses don’t discuss it at all. Worse still, most formal and informal development education pays little attention to the accessibility concerns of the material being taught. What this means, on a practical level, is that your internal team will get it wrong the first time and, even in the best scenarios, need much more time to fix the issues.

Why an outside vendor makes more sense for remediating your accessibility issues

As I just described, using internal resources will take longer than a knowledgeable third-party. How much faster is hard to quantify, but it isn’t a stretch to assume that developers who specialize in accessible web development would be twice as efficient in remediating your accessibility issues. That alone will mean it is cheaper than using internal resources. But the more impactful financial argument is that it eliminates the Cost of Disruption.

Put extremely simply: if your remediation vendor is cheaper, per hour, than your average ROI per internal person, per hour, then it truly makes no sense to use internal resources to fix your accessibility issues.