2015 was a year that was dominated by mobile app requests at Envative. It was a great year and we were privileged to be a part of some really great ideas and projects. With the trend in mobile development, we have been introduced to some atypical clients - ‘rookies’ - to the software game and they are AWESOME. Entrepreneurs with great ideas, diligent business plans, but no software project experience. While I do my best to explain the effort and costs in detail, the lure of the “independent contractor’s” promise to get it done quickly at a fraction of the cost can be too great to ignore. They have a ‘friend’ with a son or daughter that writes software and will do it for a pittance. As you would expect, I get an email that says, “Craig, I really appreciate the information and time but I have been lucky enough to meet a guy that says he can do it. Considering the costs, I am going to go that route”. I reply with well-wishes and…wait. Remember, as the saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” and this applies, resoundingly, to software projects.
I wanted to share a story from a client of ours. His name is Pete Zizzi and he wrote a synopsis of his experience over the last couple of years. I think there is incredible value in hearing from people whom have actually traversed the experience and not just speak in hypotheticals.
So without further ado, I introduce Pete Zizzi.
My name is Pete Zizzi, I’ve been a real estate broker with Re/Max Plus for 10 +years. I got the idea to start a mobile app about 2 years ago, by identifying an issue and seeing no good solutions. Now, keep in mind, I have no background in apps or development and was completely reliant on the advice of other people.
I interviewed one large company to develop the app and realized quickly I couldn't afford their pricing. Thinking this was the norm, I didn’t realize that there was a great option (Envative) with realistic pricing options. Disillusioned but not defeated, I got referred to an ‘at home developer’ who appeared to know what he was doing and gave me a price I could easily afford. I contracted with him to do the build. Immediately after launch, we had multiple issues and in a short time the developer completely disappeared and wouldn’t answer phone calls. I was effectively orphaned. He built subpar software that has since had many bugs. Every time a new update came out, I would be incredibly stressed wondering if the new android or IOS OS would crash the app. He used a database that is completely code driven and inaccessible to me, he wouldn't answer questions about how to use it and therefore I could barely use the database. I couldn't confidently market the app to consumers and big national players for fear of it not working.
That’s when I was referred to Envative. They were incredibly helpful taking me on as a client with code that was problematic and have been amazing at keeping it not only operational, but improving it! One of the things I love about their process is the counseling and the straight forward, honest advice about what makes sense to spend money on and what doesn’t. Being a rookie to all of this, they have been very understanding about my lack of knowledge and what is a ‘large request’ versus a ‘small one’, and working with me on accomplishing the end goal. The planning for future development has been instrumental to taking my app to the next level.
I am extremely grateful for Envative and the team. I trust their advice and know that I’m in great hands for the future.
While I am very appreciative of the accolades that Pete has bestowed upon us that is not the ‘headline’ of the story. Pete has spent more money fixing his app than he would have spent had he built it with an experienced firm – any firm. Pete is lucky. He could afford to get things fixed but for many others the dollars invested are the ‘only dollars’ and the decision to spend them wisely has passed.
The lesson here - research the experience of the firms you are interested in and ask them about options and plans. Reputable firms can help with payment plans, billing schedules, and project phases. Not all developers are the same. If you focus on price you’re focused on the wrong thing.