Frequently Asked Questions
How will we get billed?
We have two options available for billing; Hourly and Quoted. Each option has their own set of advantages and disadvantages and as such we recommend working on a quoted basis for large projects and an hourly basis for small projects.
Additionally we follow these rules;
- Intellectual property produced remains the property of RSS until work has been paid for in full.
- Credit agreements are signed prior to beginning work. Usually we offer end of month credit terms.
- Work will stop on overdue accounts.
When being charged on an hourly basis it is as simple as doing the work and charging for however long it takes. When operating in this manner we will still provide a cost estimation however we will not be under any contractual agreement to meet that quote.
You will be invoiced on a weekly basis and the majority of customers are afforded end of month credit terms.
The advantage of this method is as follows;
- We can give you a cheaper price. Essentially you will be absorbing the risk.
- We don't have to document requirements as fully which in some instances can save costs.
- There is additional flexibility that is not available to those who work on a quoted basis.
When working under a quoted basis, we will quote a price for the complete job. There are several caveats with this method of costing;
- We cannot perform requirements analysis on a quoted basis and will not do so unless we have extensive prior experience with the business/domain in question.
- We will document fully 100% exactly requirement specifications prior to quoting. We will then stick to them to the letter without deviation.
Billing arrangements are dependent on the scope of the project and will be laid out as part of a contract with the requirements specifications. Typically payment will be requested once specific predefined levels of functionality have been reached (i.e. Milestones).
How do I save money?
There are many ways you can save money, some are good ways, some are bad. What we list below is usually good advice regardless of the cost savings.
If you have to make changes, do it at the beginning of the process.
We cannot emphasis this enough. You will pay dearly for changing requirements late in the process. The more changes of mind you have, the more development will cost. Changes late in the development processes almost invariably mean exponential costs.
Omit bells and whistles
Lets face it. Everyone likes them, they make people happy. The unfortunate reality is that they cost money. Ask yourself, do you really need this functionality? Are the efficiencies gained going to save me more in operational costs than it does to implement? Of course not everyone is in business to make money however the majority of us are and it is pertinent to remind yourself when getting carried away with scope.
Hire a professional first time
The unfortunate fact of software development is that there is a considerable amount of inexperienced (but well meaning) developers out there who believe they know more than they really do. There have been many who have been burned by failed software projects and unfortunately it is only then that this mistake is identified and learned from. As someone famous has already said "Experience is only ever useful directly after one needs it". The result of all this is that it costs you considerably more if you attempt to go with inexperience. Unfortunately we can only advise you and ask you to trust us on this.
The more documentation we have the better. If we can learn it from reading then that is already your costs cut in half (A document isn't on a salary but your manager is)
Base your software on existing products
Find off the shelf software for your industry (In fact this avenue should always be exhausted before even coming to custom software development) and emulate the best of each.
The fact is that it is more often than not more expensive to in-source you're software development. The reasons for this are fairly complex and may not always hold true however the obvious truths are as follows;
It is unlikely to be your core expertise and hence you will have difficulty hiring the correct staff. (Hiring the wrong IT staff is a BIG mistake)
- Recruitment agencies in our experience have difficulty choosing the correct technical staff. Their tendency is to be attracted by buzzwords and as such miss the important things only those who do software development can pick up.
- We can boilerplate code. Straight up you can save thousands of dollars by reusing code libraries we have already built.
- We can boilerplate development environments. We have all the software tools paid for and licensed. You don't have to pay for these again.
- We have a wider range of expertise available. Experts do things quicker, saving you money.
Obviously there are reasons why one might not outsource however these are not usually financial reasons, additionally, there are many more reasons why however won't bore you with the details.
Will RSS deal with me?
While we do not like to turn business down, it is in our nature to want more work however it is sometimes necessary for us to turn down jobs for a few possible reasons;We are asked to do projects which we don't believe will be successful
We are in software development because we like computers and we like to build things. Some of us are driven to be creative and some of us are driven to create efficiency. If we are building software we don't believe in we can do neither of these things. Further, to produce good quality software requires a certain amount of passion. Without it your product would be substandard and this is not what we want.
Furthermore we are also slightly selfish and we really don't envy seeing projects going down the tube, it's the opposite of fun for anyone involved.
We do not claim to know everything, software development is a large field. If we do not have the expertise or ability to gain the expertise we will turn the job down.We deem work to be immoral and/or socially degrading
We like to strive to be moral people and as such would like to see that those involved in existence are the recipients of minimum pain and maximum pleasure. The consequence of this is that if we deem work to be in opposition to these morals we will turn the work down.
What are the legal issues?
There are two primary causes of concern with regards to legal issues and software development;
Who owns the copyright on software produced?
You might be surprised to know that unless prior agreements have been signed all copyright ownership stays with the company or contractor who produced it. That is, RSS owns all code produced unless prior agreements have been signed.
This sounds daunting but do not distress as we will discuss intellectual property issues during the Legal Documentation Phase of development. Your options for various legal agreements will be explained and in all but exceptional cases we are more than happy to sign over copyright ownership for the code we produce on your behalf.
For your information, the issue is slightly complicated by the fact that we do not sign over boiler plated code. The reason for this is that we wish to retain the right to use our code in multiple projects without having to pay you a royalty fee. The benefit to you is that you never actually have to pay for this code, you get it for free simply by virtue of having RSS work on your project. We don't believe this is anything a rational person would be concerned about however we are stating it here merely to aid in your awareness and understanding of the issues.
What's to stop RSS from directly dealing with competitors once development has ceased?
This is a very valid and real concern, nobody likes to be the guinea pig for someone else's advantage. In most cases we are happy to sign a Restrictive Covenant Agreement which prevents us from working with competitors for a predefined period.