We offer different billing arrangements depending on a client’s situation. Some clients want to know the exact cost before proceeding. The only way that we can accurately estimate the cost is to hold a series of meetings during which we gather the requirements and produce a scope of work document. The client is billed for this document at our current hourly rate because we don’t know in advance how long this process will take. We will give you a rough idea of what these meetings will cost during our initial consultation. The scope of work document will contain a detailed description of the features that will be provided, how the software will function, and what it will cost. Once the scope of work document is agreed upon, a contract is signed and work begins. An estimate of additional cost will be provided for any additional changes requested by the client that are not in the original scope of work document once the work begins.
Some clients are comfortable with us working on a “time and materials” basis. We still recommend preparing the scope of work document as a way of monitoring and controlling cost, but now have the flexibility of making changes and adding features along the way without the formality of a change request.
Some clients prefer a prototyping approach where we develop a small piece of the program, they use it and then we make changes or move on to the next part of the program.
Lastly, we generally insist on charging an hourly rate when troubleshooting a problem in software that was not developed by us since we are not familiar with the code.