Frequently Asked QuestionsWe are proud of the fact that our customers are unique and as such, our associations are also unique. Thus, it is difficult to provide a uniform answer to the questions that are usually asked. We will present here some of the general questions that are usually asked, but we ask you to keep in mind that our associations with our customers will depend solely on the needs of our customers.
Q: What services do you provide?
A: We are a consulting company. As such, computer automation may not be the solution to your problem. We will first sit down with you to determine just what the problem is. We will look at the current business flow or processes or products and the resulting problems to be solved. We will then propose a solution. It may be a complex solution requiring significant effort or it may be a simple change to procedures that solves the problem. Only when computer automation is appropriate will that solution be proposed. In addition to development, we do training and other functions that can be found looking at our services tab. Please do so to get a better look at the services we provide.
Q: Why do you typically use Microsoft
A: While there is a significant amount of pro and con feelings about the Microsoft line of products, typically we use. First, they are readily available and supported. Second, they typically cost less than some of the more exotic products. Next, we find we can develop our results quicker and with less problems with Microsoft products.
Next, we believe in the notion of irreplaceability. If you are not satisfied with our performance and wish to change providers, it is much easier to find someone knowledgeable in Microsoft products. In addition, there is always the possibility of the proverbial "bus" which might remove the developer from the project. Again, finding a replacement for a Microsoft product typically is easier.
Q: How do you charge for your services?
A: Our charges are based on a few factors. First, what is the problem to be solved? What will be the means to do so? We have had instances where we have advised potential customers not to automate since it would not bring them any savings. But, once we assess what needs to be done, we then discuss the solution. Our rates will depend on the number of projected hours to create your solution. The more hours that are projected, the lower the hourly rate will be. Repeat customers enjoy a lower rate also. We do not believe in charging for every little thing. As a result, we do not charge for phone assistance unless it turns out to be extraordinarily long, and in those cases, we decide before hand what is to be done. If our customer is in the Raleigh metropolitan area, we do not charge for travel. If outside of that area, charges are agreed to prior to any travel. We do not sell hardware. Thus, if we have the opportunity to purchase hardware for our customers, the cost will be that of the hardware and nothing more.
Our charges are based on the 1/2 hour of work and rounding is done based on the quarter hour. Thus, any portion that is less than 15 minutes is not charged for and anything greater than 15 minutes is rounded to the 1/2 hour. Thus, 3 hours and 12 minutes results in a 3 hour charge and 5 hours and 50 minutes results in a 6 hour charge.
Typically, we break down our billing to twice a month. We will bill on the 15th of the month for the work done from the 1st through the 14th. Then, we will bill on the first of the next month to cover the 15th through the last day of the month. In addition to the invoice, we will also provide a log of the work done and the dates and time of the work. However, we are happy to modify our procedures if you have wishes that would result in different billing.
Q: How do your rates compare with your
A: Typically, our rates are lower than those of our competitors. We have several things going for us. First, our overhead is very low. As a result, we can pass those savings on directly to our customers. Second, since we tend to stick to the main stream in terms of what we provide, we do not require specialized software or hardware or a knowledge of a product that is rarely found in the mainstream of programming. At the same time, our level of expertise permits us to accomplish a task in a much shorter time frame than our competitors, resulting in less billable hours and thus a lower charge overall. Finally, as an independent company, we only answer to you, our customers and ourselves. Thus, we can create the best overall development environment resulting in the most favorable rates.
Q: What do we expect from our customers?
A: We have been very fortunate. Since the day we opened our doors, we have had wonderful customers. We develop long term relationships with our customers and look at it as a partnership. We look to the customer to provide us with a statement of the problems they have encountered. In a combined effort, we will develop a list of goals, objectives and requirements. We may do this formally in a written document or just as part of on going discussions.
It is our opinion that our customers have the hard job, particularly when the solution is computerized automation. In order for us to arrive at a proper solution, we ask our customers to define the algorithms and processes that define their business. It is interesting to note that in many cases, our customers have not been able to do so, simply because they have never given much thought to it. When it comes to automation, our job is "easy" because you the customer need to define the algorithms and all we need to do is "simply" automate them.
Q: Why should I pay too fix a bug?
A: You absolutely should NOT!
It is interesting to note that often development organizations charge you, the customer, to fix bugs. It is not unusual for bugs to show up during the development phase when computer automation is the solution to your problems. However, bugs are our responsibility to fix. We look forward to working with our customers to produce the best possible solution and that includes the finding of bugs, particularly if they can be found before we activate the solution.
Q: Who owns the solution when there is
A: It should be kept in mind that the solution to your problem may not in fact be an automated solution. In the case where there is a solution, it should be noted that there are some development organizations that feel that they own whatever they have developed for you and that you are leasing it from them. The development organization retains ownership of the solution! Our position is the opposite. You have paid for the development of the solution and thus you own it. Thus, you are entitled to do whatever you wish with the results of the development effort. There is a caveat, however. If you chose to have someone work on a product in the middle of the development process, it could cause problems. If such problems do occur, it will be up to you as the customer to incur the costs of resolving any such issues.