We get it. Whether it’s Excel-spreadsheet-oveload, an off-the-shelf business application that doesn’t really fit your needs, or you’ve just outgrown your existing custom software, you don’t have the tools you need to manage your business, workgroup, or process efficiently. We’ve helped thousands of people get back to working well with custom software that is flexible, affordable, scalable, and perfectly crafted to work the way you do.
How We Work
Send us an email and we’ll get started right away. Usually the best first step is a phone call to discuss your needs and options. In most cases, this is followed by an on-site visit or virtual meeting where we dig a little deeper into how you work and what you need. Our first goal is to produce a realistic cost estimate for your application.
If you choose to initiate the project, we like to deliver periodic “rough draft” versions of your application (accessible to you and only you through your web browser). We love to coordinate with our customers, learning from one another, and tweaking the design so we’re both thrilled with the result. When the application is ready, we can host it for you or deploy it on your servers on a network you manage, if you’re into that kind of thing.
In most cases, we then develop an ongoing relationship, expanding, adjusting, and improving the application to meet new needs or tackle new areas of your business. As a testament to the value, flexibility, and scalability of the applications we build, consider that 85% of our customers continue to enhance their applications for 2+ years after the initial project is complete.
Why Web Applications?
Although we work with many technologies, in most cases, after analysis, our customers decide a web-based application best meets their needs. Usually, they are unfamiliar with this type of development before the project starts, but the benefits speak for themselves.
Web applications explained
A “Web application” is a custom database application that you access and use with a web browser (like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, and/or FireFox) rather than with a proprietary program you have to install. Think of Facebook, for example. You don’t have to install Facebook on your computer. Instead, you simply log in and start sharing pictures of your kids. Our software is just like that: Fire up a web browser, click a bookmark, log in, and you’re ready to write quotes, schedule calls, send invoices, or whatever we’ve designed your application to do.
Everything you already know about browsing the internet applies to your application, so it is easy to understand and comfortable to use right out of the box. What more details? Click the link. Need to go back? Yep, just click Back. Multiple tabs, bookmarks, sharing links: It all works just like you expect.
Anywhere access, fast
The number one benefit of a web application versus traditional database applications is access. Because the web was designed from the ground up for fast, seamless worldwide access, your application is ready for any use case you can imagine.
Have staff in multiple offices all over the place? Everybody can access the same application at the same time through the web easily, with no slowdowns and no tricky network shenanigans. We host our applications at a first class data center in Missouri, USA, and access them from all over the world with excellent performance.
Need to access the system from home? If you can get to Facebook, you can get to your application. Log in from home to check an order, pop in from Starbucks to tidy up next week’s schedule, or hop on from a friend’s house to troubleshoot a lost shipment. You can access your application any time, from anywhere.
Of course we design your application with security in mind. Nobody gets in without a password, and we can even restrict access for certain users to certain offices or locations. Every request can be protected with SSL encryption if you choose. So you get worldwide access and excellent security without complicated terminal services or VPNs.
Any platform, any device
Windows or Mac? Why not both? Because our applications use stock-standard web technologies like HTML5, you can use them from any device that can browse the web. If you’re IT staff uses Linux, the Art department is all-Mac-all-the-time, and Accounting loves the Windows, they are all first-class citizens with your new application.
Increasingly, our customers are on the go and they want to take their applications with them. If your device can use the web, it can access your application. Laptops, desktops, iPads and Android tablets can all use your application with minimal restrictions. In a pinch you can even hop in from your smartphone. And if you need first-class phone support, we can design portions of your application with small screens in mind so you can truly work on the go. These days you’re connected almost everywhere you go, and you can be a tap away from your business every step of the way.
Zero IT headaches
When was the last time you worried about how to get The Internet installed? That’s right, never. And that’s how often you have to worry about installing your custom application. Because it’s on the web, it’s already installed on every device you own. Never again will a software update kill your database and send you running to the developer for help. The web is such an essential part of any computing experience that you know it will keep working as you’re technology changes.
If you choose to let us host your application, you don’t even need to worry about servers, switches, and firewalls. Most of our customers prefer this zero-IT solution. We deploy your application on top-notch Linux servers, provide backups, software updates, and 24/7 monitoring and troubleshooting. Roll it all up into a single monthly bill and you never have to call the surly IT guy again.
Low marginal cost
The technologies we use are powerful, industry standard, and primarily Open-source. Of course this means you get the ultimate in safety with well-tested, well-supported, well-understood application technologies. But it also means you can say goodbye to draconian per-seat licensing costs. We pay the requisite prices for the technologies we use, which never include a per-user cost. If you grow from 5 users to 50, you don’t have to pay more for each user you add. In fact aside from transactional charges like credit card processing fees from your bank, you never pay per user, per order, per transaction, or per machine with our applications. You buy it, we build it, and you own it.
For all the reasons above, we think the web is the ultimate deployment platform for multi-user business applications. And once you see your app in action, we know you’ll agree.
How Much Does it Cost?
Because everything we build is custom-crafted just for you, we have to build a comprehensive estimate for each new project. (For enhancements to existing projects, we are often able to deliver a quick estimate by email and get to work right away). For reference, most of our projects cost between $15,000 and $45,000 for the initial delivery, although we have completed some small projects for less, and occasional larger projects for more. We are happy to work with you to price features individually so you can choose where to focus your money for the best return. And in most cases we can deliver a fixed bid for your consideration before you pay a penny. Also, bear in mind most clients choose to continue to invest in their application after the initial build because they find it returns so much value quickly. This is always up to you.
Who Owns the Code?
I’m so glad you asked. Far too few customers ask this question, and we’ve heard some sad stories about lock in, developer intransigence, and money down the drain. When you commission a custom application for your business, it is incredibly important that you have the flexibility to do with it as you please. That’s why the applications we build for you are “work for hire” meaning you retain copyright ownership of the finished product. If you choose a developer other than Six Fried Rice for your project (hey, we get it, there’re a lot of good developers our there) please remember to get code ownership in writing. It is incredibly important to you even though you’ve probably never thought about it.
This isn’t just a theoretical advantage. More than once, our customers have loved their application so much they’ve decided to sell it to other companies in their field. And a time or two they’ve hired on-staff programmers to take over development. While we’d love to be your Developer4Lyf, we get it: Sometimes things change. Take your code and run with it. We’re sad to see you go, but proud to watch you soar.
How Do I Get Started?
Contact us today and start the conversation. We’re ready when you are.