Lean app contracting lets you...
Build Super-Apps!

Every app development shop out there claims to be lean and agile. So why do their contracts rely so heavily on up-front planning for scope and cost? Ditch the outdated contracts and use lean methods to build super-apps instead.

Build Super-Apps With Flat Fees & Lean Contracts

Lean contracting allows you to put your money toward the right things at the right time.

Most other companies base their contracts on a scope of work to quote a price for your app. This outdated practice still makes sense to most of us because we associate more features with higher prices. "The more you want, the higher the cost", right? Except that pricing is about effort, not about how much scope there is. Lean methods for development stress the importance of learning in the early stages so that you can work out the details of scope as you go. This lets you put your money toward the right things at the right time.

So how can we accomplish this?

It’s true that long-term costs for mobile & web apps are unpredictable, and can range from $50K to $500K (or higher). That is a huge margin, but the beginning stages of a product don’t have to be that unpredictable. With a few rare exceptions, development for mobile & web applications can happen within fixed time frames for each stage of development. Based on over 20 years experience with software, we know how much effort goes into building an app. So we've come up with three packages designed specifically for startups.

Lean App Foundation - $950

Gain confidence in your idea with planing & validation so you can move forward.

  • Prove business viability
  • Prove technical feasibility
  • Validate the plan with potential customers
  • Step-by-step guide for finding customers, interviews, & gathering traction
  • First step to finding funding & business partners
  • Lays the foundation for a successful MVP

Lean App Blueprint - $4K

Find funding, business partners, or customers with marketing materials designed to sell your idea, and poise your startup for MVP development.

  • Build on Foundation with a solution design and feature definition
  • Show technical details with a feature roadmap
  • Screen mockups define the look & feel for landing pages, pitches, & demos
  • Next step to finding funding & business partners
  • Defines the blueprint for a successful MVP

Lean App MVP - $32K

Get paying customers, and gain undeniable traction with the launch of your minimum viable product (MVP).

  • Use Lean Blueprint to launch a minimal version of the app
  • Test usability with functioning concept apps
  • Make the app shine with graphics
  • Launch a production quality app in the app stores
  • Get paying customers and undeniable traction
  • Serves as the launchpad for your company going forward

Custom Options

If the packages above don’t quite fit the bill, we also work on an hourly and daily basis. We can put together a custom package for your app that hits the mark.

  • Hourly rate of $125/hr for consulting or other small tasks
  • Daily rate of $800/day for custom packages

Pay-As-You-Go

Hiring an app development company when bootstrapping a startup can be a difficult. We make this a little easier with a “pay-as-you-go” invoicing structure. We do not collect down payments for projects because there are no materials we need to buy in order to get started. However, we do need to commit resources for projects to build out development schedules. Each development cycle is roughly 5 man-days worth of work, so we organize projects into blocks this size ($4K). We schedule a block of work for completion after payment is made. You can choose to pay for one or more blocks of work to get started, and we’ll schedule the work at that time.

Easy-peasy.

Escrow Option: if you’re on a deadline and need to guarantee a schedule with us, making payment in full using escrow provides a way to do it. We can verify funds are committed to the project, and this allows us to commit resources for the full project schedule. We still try to organize projects into blocks of 5 man-days, and invoice prior to starting the work. However, with the funds secured by escrow, we’re able to schedule work for the entire project and ensure things stay on track.

Pricing Is About Efforts, Not Features

How can we price your app without knowing much about it? We have the experience to know how much effort we’re likely to spend.

Many people have a preconceived notion that scope (how much stuff you want to build) determines price. I think this mostly comes from off-the-shelf products which use more features to justify a higher price. This makes a lot of sense to consumers, and is a tough mindset to break when moving over to the custom software arena.

Effort is the primary factor when estimating costs.

For custom mobile apps and web applications, level of effort is the primary factor when estimating price. One can generally say that more features means more effort, but this is not always the case. Different people want the same feature set for different purposes, and have different expectations about the results. Higher expectations and better outcomes require more effort to get the job done. That is what drives price.

All projects start out the same.

Even though different startups may have unique expectations and different price tags for their apps in the long run, they all start out the same. With a few rare exceptions, the effort (and price) for the beginning stages of your app can be fixed, and we can figure out what your feature set should look like to fit that price. It is also key to know what you’re looking to accomplish so we can keep the big picture in mind when crafting your business blueprint.

But what if your app is the exception and not the rule?

There are a number of different features which directly affect effort, and therefore directly affect price. Most of these things can initially be done manually to reduce up front cost, but sometimes the complex things are part of your core offering and must be done early on. In these rare cases, we help you come up with a different plan that meets the goal. We’ve identified a few of those features which increase effort and price if they’re must-have from the start.

Things That Directly Affect Effort

The long-term investment needed for each app depends on a lot of factors, but some things in particular are likely to increase the cost.

Server Side Automations

Server-side
Automations

User driven actions are fairly straight forward because we can rely on the user to do something first. If the server must do something on its own, we have to maintain schedules and make sure that scheduled actions happen at the right time. These kinds of systems require more effort to design, build, and test.

Advanced Graphics

Advanced Graphics
or Animations

We can do a lot with clean and professional looking colors, icons, and fonts, but sometimes apps need customized graphics and animations to complete the package. More graphic design means more effort.

Store Sensitive Information

Store Sensitive
Information

Whenever possible, we store credit card info, medical data, or other sensitive information with secure and reliable 3rd parties. If the system we build must store this type of information, it will take more effort to ensure it is secure and PCI-DSS or HIPAA compliant.

One Shot

One-shot & Other
Critical Operations

The critical nature of operations plays a big factor when estimating effort. Every application needs to function well and be reliable, but some are particularly important. These may require multiple checks, fail-safes, and audit logging to make absolutely sure that things are working as expected.

Processing

Processing Large
Amounts of Money

Apps that handle large amounts of money are automatically critical. These apps need good ways to track down inconsistencies with monthly reports when they don’t reconcile as expected. Audit becomes terribly important when the dollars per month start to rise!

Hardware

Hardware Components

When we need to consider specific hardware as part of a development project, efforts associated with simulators and communication protocols can quickly increase cost. If your plan includes BLE devices or other proprietary hardware, your plan should also include a much larger budget.

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