The most emotive part of any project – the money and the conditions of supply!
Fixed prices at project level not available here
We’ve never experienced a project where the requirements have stayed the same for more than a month. If we are to insulate ourselves from changes, we have to pad the budget. This isn’t good for you. See more here.
We will produce a budget guide based on the brief we take from you – a sort of estimate based on 20+ years experience – which we find is usually very accurate and usually uncovers some gaps in the requirements list!
Fixed prices at phase level are available here
We will fix prices for clearly understandable items as the project proceeds. For example, if you need three data entry forms creating over the next two weeks, the information to be stored is written up, you tell us what the validation should be, what, if any, processing is required, we can then be quite definitive about costs and you can control the budget.
We only charge for the time you use. If we do it quicker, you win. If it takes longer for reasons outside of our control, we will charge for that time. If you fill in the all important detail after we’ve started and it consequently takes longer, we charge for that time. If we underestimated, we will absorb the costs. Mostly it balances itself out over the life of the project.
We do not provide free revisions. We find detailed requirements usually end up with revisions anyway as it is only when the end-user sees the system do some requirements become apparent. This is why we work iteratively and will bill for the time used.
Rather like revisions, we don’t add features for free. If you need more features that don’t appear on the original budget guide, that’s fine, we can give you an estimate and schedule accordingly.
Whilst we have an active project with you we will let you know how many hours are available for you to use and ensure that allocation is made available to you. We work on a two-week cycle so typically a request, if it can be performed in the hours available, will appear about two weeks hence.
We are generally not sitting about waiting for work so if you have a project, give us as much notice as possible.
We will do our utmost to meet the deadlines we confirm in writing. We will do our best to meet urgently arising deadlines but it is not a project failure on our part if you need something at short notice and we do not have the capacity to do so.
We ensure that we only use fully licensed software and will keep you informed if you need to get any licenses or the terms of any software libraries we may use. We are unable to use unlicensed or under-licensed systems or software.
We own the rights to the systems we supply until they are paid for in full. Once paid in full, you own the right to use the system, all other rights (such as resale of software or transfer of license) are subject to agreement to be confirmed in writing.
Project management is budgeted at 15% of estimated costs and is billed as taken. We don’t like long project telecalls so we’ll prep as much up front as we can so we can just cover the project exceptions and discussion points.
If we are working with another FileMaker developer and they are fronting the project, we don’t have a minimum project size. If we are client facing and making additions (FMP or Web) to an existing system, we look for projects starting at £1,000/$1,400. For a greenfield project where nothing exists, typically projects start at £5,000/$7200.
Due to the proliferation of on-demand freelancer websites providing programming resources from around the world, you are able to find developers that will tell you that they are immediately available and charge £25/$35 (or even less) per hour. We are not them.
Scroll down to see some pricing examples.
Depending on the value and what work we’ve done with you before depends on the exact payment schedule. For new clients for a small project (under £500/$750), we will need 40% upfront, 40% on delivery and 20% retention for 60 days. For larger projects we will look for a 20% upfront, a series of 20% stages and then 20% retention for 90 days.
Payments are due on receipt of invoice. After 7 days if we’ve not been paid we will cease work until the situation is resolved, which may require upfront payment of remaining work.
We accept PayPal, MasterCard or Visa or bank transfer.
Guarantees and retentions
The retention is to give you confidence that the systems we create are reasonably bug free and do what they need to do through the typical business cycles of month-ends.
You test too
We test as we go. We do a clean system test (seperate server and workstation). We put it up to the staging server for you to review and test. We will ask you to sign off items, which comes with the tacit assumption that you’ve tested the system at more than a token level.
One point of contact
To save confusion we ask that there is one point of contact for us to deal with. We can send release notes to your distribution list and liaise direct with your staff so we can haggle over the techy details. And we don’t care who calls when ‘something bad has happened’ so that we can get on with getting the situation resolved. But overall, we need just one person who keeps track of the project on your side and who authorises work.
Hard disk is cheap. Stupidly cheap. We recently bought two 3Tb Seagate Constellation ES2 drives from eBay for £150/ $235 from a bankrupt stock reseller. Constellation drives are Seagate’s Enterprise class drives rated for 24/7 use, they are heading for our main VMware server so we can keep even more backups. This sort of situation is why we feel that price is not a barrier to keeping a nightly backup FOREVER.
As such, we expect the data owner to keep backups for at least 2 years, or a delta if the data really is that large. And we expect it to be off-site so it can’t be messed with.
We have a script library to compress and FTP data for both Mac OS and Windows for FMS and the same for mySQL on Linux.
We don’t do rocket science unless we absolutely have to. We code so that any reasonable journeyman developer with a couple of years experience can pick through the comments and figure out what’s going on. Mostly because we’ve had to go back to systems we’ve created 8 years prior to make changes and it allows us to get back up to speed in double quick time. If you find a colleague casting scorn on our output, best check if their code is maintainable.
These cover our commitments to team members and any costs & liabilities on a project should it be terminated mid-flow. At all times, you should assume that we’ve done the work you’ve asked us to if it’s been authorised in a project call and that it is chargeable. Larger projects will be assessed and if appropriate, a kill fee clause included.
We do much bigger projects, much much bigger projects for national retailers and the international offices of project management consultancies, but the majority of projects are small extensions of an existing system which is how we’ve optimised our team. For larger projects we tend to act in a consultancy role, providing the core expertise and working with your developers to get them to do the bulk of the work.