Frequently Asked Questions
The following information is provided to address questions we are frequently asked about engaging with Edgeneering LLC on projects. This is not the entirety of our terms & conditions, which is provided for all projects with our standard contract terms, but it should help you understand who Edgeneering are, what advantages there are with engaging with Edgeneering, and what how it all works, so you can determine if we are a good fit for your needs.
What advantages do Edgeneering bring?
Edgeneering is a Phoenix, Arizona based company, with all operations based out of Arizona. We are members of the Arizona Coalition of Military Veterans and we are very much based as a US centric organization. This doesn’t mean that we are not a good fit for international clients, of which we have many. But our advantage is that we are an organization that, unlike most on the Internet, are physically present in the local market.
Why is this important? Clients need to know that in a world of virtual reality, digital content and servers that are all over the place, that there is an organization that they can physically meet with, visit the very data center(s) where their servers are located and audit us. This is crucial because many of our clients engage in highly sensitive digital content (such as patient records, military, financial information or other private data) and we are bound to be a trusted party as custodians to that data.
Data can exist in multiple copies all over the world. This is the nature of digital content. But this is also the downside of that content. If a server is breached and data is copied, it cannot be brought back. Copies are a perfect replication of data, so therefore knowing where your data lives and who is looking after it, is really the only way to be 100% sure that you have engaged and trusted the right party for that. If you elect to purchase server hosting purely on price, know that your data will exist all over the world in wherever that server provider elects to put it. This is true of any of the larger providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, etc. You won’t be able to physically visit their data center and know where your data is. You are trusting that a huge organization cares enough about you individually, and that just doesn’t happen as much as we might pretend.
So Edgeneering pride ourselves in being a boutique provider because our clients want to partner with an organization that is specifically focused on the client’s best interests.
In addition to the high security landscape of Edgeneering and our managed services, we can leverage off work done before your project begins. The jewel of the crown for Edgeneering is our development framework that allows us to use our software as a machine to build new software. New software that is heavily database oriented. Heavy transaction oriented systems is our core competency and normally the building of custom systems for this can be slow and take years.
Time to market
21st century business doesn’t have years to bring a new product offering or service to market. The competition is fierce, so being able to leverage off existing software technologies by Edgeneering is a major competitive advantage. This includes technologies for security, user interface, PDF generation, SEO, audit & logging, etc. These items may add years of development time to a project, but Edgeneering have developed technology that allows us to produce any system with these capabilities from day one. This is because we have adopted a “build the machine to build other machines” approach to development.
With this comes acceptance of some facts for clients. First, although Edgeneering may be hired as a development vendor for a client, our terms may not be the defacto “Work for Hire” copyright and intellectual property terms that you would get if you just engaged a contractor to build something from scratch. If the contractor builds something from scratch for you, then you typically own the rights to that thing. However with Edgeneering a vast majority of your project will be based on derivative works that Edgeneering owns, so you don’t get the rights to that. And those properties assume and may require that they be hosted within Edgeneering infrastructure. So you probably won’t be able to move the project to your own servers. Therefore rather than considering Edgeneering as a custom software development company, we think of ourselves as a “Managed Services Provider” and you outsource the development and management of your software to Edgeneering.
So even if you have an IT department who are used to managing your digital systems in house, the relationship that Edgeneering will have with them won’t be traditional. We are truly an outsourced vendor in this regard and although we attempt to partner with your IT staff, we probably cannot accommodate them if they expect to dictate how Edgeneering do our work as they might with an employee or contractor. We therefore work on specification documents, which we are happy to produce, that determines a clear line of delineation between the client and Edgeneering. That said, most of our clients have been clients for more than 10 years with Edgeneering and this method of a shared responsibility to the goals of the client clearly work. Our clients have gone from start ups to $100+ million annual revenue organizations during that time, and we are happy to help empower their growth. But with that comes the understanding that Edgeneering owns what it brings to the table outright, and the client owns what was developed specifically for them, and often that technology won’t work without the former.
There are typically two components to our billing with a client. The first is any fees for service based on time spent on projects. That will include tasks like consulting, requirement gathering, systems analysis, design coding, testing, QA and maintenance. Additionally there may be service based fees for some operations support work if it doesn’t include general operations support work that Edgeneering does on all of our infrastructure.
How we charge
Second, there is typically some form of “hosting fee” that comes with hosting the system. These are normally defined by what level of infrastructure a system requires and typically is no less than a 12 month contract for the client. Often more favorable fees can be gained by longer term commitments.
We invoice clients for time based fees every two (2) weeks, unless it is a larger project with an alternative payment schedule defined up front and in the contract. Failure to pay those invoices in a timely manner will result in a “tools down” situation, where the consultants and developers will stop work on a project until all arrears is paid in full.
We invoice our clients for hosting each month. If invoices are unpaid, hosting is turned off. It is that simple. We have to pay for power, bandwidth and other fees monthly and we base our business on being able to leverage those fees to our clients. So timing is critical. Invoices left unpaid for more than seven (7) days are subject to disconnection - much like how your power company may charge for their utility services.
We prefer payments digitally (ie. ACH, credit/debit card or crypto-currency) just because this is the nature of digital business in the 21st century. We do not enjoy having to chase up late payments on invoices, and will likely terminate services with clients that routinely do this. If you are still writing checks to pay your vendors, ask us how to change that and reduce your expenses in labor to do it. Reciprocally we prefer to be paid electronically than to have to take receive postal mail with checks, etc. It is just not how high technology firms should operate and it isn’t a competitive advantage to do business that way. We can help you advance to avoid it, and we’d love to help you get the same advantages for your business.
Clients often prefer some form of fixed price to determine a budget for a project. We may be able to accommodate that once we understand all about what the client wants, but we also prefer a “measure twice, cut once” approach to development. This means that we don’t skip over the requirements. We engage for a long period of time with determining exactly what is required and documenting it. This can be as much as 25% of the entire project scope, so we charge for this on a time & materials basis.
Fixed price vs. time & materials quotes
Once we understand exactly what the client needs and have some ability to determine a strategy on how to achieve it, we can then produce some form of fixed price quote. But with the complexity of modern technology along with the constant need for change that clients have in our fast paced world, we do not provide fixed price quotations for projects that are less than $25,000 in total expected budget scope. This may not be able to be determined until the requirement work is done, so the client should understand that Edgeneering cannot provide fixed priced quotes for work that will be less than $25,000 in total cost and cannot provide anything more than a price “guess” which is non-binding if a client asks for what the expected costs of building something will be. Also know that there will be ongoing hosting fees as well for all work that Edgeneering does. If you need to engage with us to develop any software that you wish to host yourself, we are not a good fit for this. There are plenty of alternative providers that would be able to handle this, but it isn’t something Edgeneering are willing or able to accommodate.
If a client needs maintenance or small changes to existing projects that are already in place, we cannot provide fixed priced quotes for those changes (again) unless the work is likely to exceed $25,000 in total scope. We understand that clients wish to cost contain their projects, but in a world of complexity such as software development and the Internet, if that is needed, Edgeneering is not a good choice for the client.
We understand that our clients have timelines that they need work done by. However since the work is often done in conjunction with information or digital assets that are provided to Edgeneering by the client, or that the requirements for the project must become static in order for systems to be built around them, there may be times when for a lack of best intentions, projects get delayed. In those cases, Edgeneering will reserve the right to take our labor resources off those projects and move them to other client work. We do work on a first come, first serve basis, and scheduling in order to have the right resource available for the right project can be tricky. We therefore ask our clients to be as best prepared for their new project before we start, so that all content including APIs, corporate logos, graphics, website design, etc. that the client is providing is already in place.
We are open for normal communications from 9AM to 5PM, Arizona Time. This is typically Pacific Standard Time, but keep in mind that Arizona doesn’t participate in daylight savings time, so for a part of the year, we are on Mountain Standard Time. We do not have staff working typically on weekends other than system operators who work 24/7 to maintain uptime for servers, etc. Although you might wish to work on weekends, we prefer not to. So please don’t assume we are available or can respond to emails when we are not open, unless it is an emergency situation.
Also our team need vacations like everyone does. Be sure to ask us about resource availability during your project timeline, particularly around the US summer period. Often our team will not work during these times, which typically means low resource availability during June, July and August. The same may be true during holiday seasons.
Transparency is important to us. We respect our clients and what they are trying to achieve and we want to help them achieve success. Our ability to work long term with clients really comes down to us being completely transparent on how we operate and to do business in good faith. This approach allows us to be there in the long term for the client. We ask that the client respects how we operate, and it would be impossible for us to ask for that if we were not transparent.
So if you have any questions or need any further information, please feel free to CONTACT US for more information.