We’ll give it to you straight. Custom software can be expensive. However, it can also provide a big return on investment in the form of increased profit, more time to get other things done, and happier employees and clients. We bet your new copy machine can’t do all of that.
Each custom software project is different, so we’ll need to review your specific needs in order to give you an accurate estimate. However, after decades of experience, we can predict your project will probably fall into one of these categories:
These are only guidelines, of course. We encourage you to get in touch with us to discuss your project.
We’ve found it difficult to build quality software of any kind in less than two months. Creating new software that provides meaningful business value – whether web or mobile – takes time to do right. Like winemaking or assembling furniture. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone about those extra pieces you didn’t use.) Here are some rough timelines.
Our payment terms are 30-day net.
For project-based work we invoice for billable hours one month in arrears on the seventh day of the month. For example – if a developer works on your project for 80 hours in September, you’ll receive a net 30 invoice for 80 hours on November 7.
For contracted work, you’ll pre-pay for the month. For example – if you’ve contracted for 80 hours of work in September, you’ll receive a net 30 invoice on September 7.
In order to follow our proven process, we structure the delivery of all of our engagements as a project. Due to this, our engagement model is usually project-based and we work towards the estimate created for the project. It aligns well with delivery.
However, occasionally, our engagement model is on a contract basis. This means we’ll dedicate developers to your project for an allocated number of hours per month. A large enough allocation of hours often allows for some pricing flexibility.
We also engage in fun, whether we’re having Whiskey Wednesdays, playing a quick game of ping pong or darts, or using our tech skills to delight our coworkers, clients, and the neighbors in our building.
Is your answer yes to one or more of the following questions? (Don’t you love it when people answer a question with a question?)
Custom software is an investment. However, most of the time that investment leads to long term cost savings, increased revenue, greater efficiency, and/or happier employees and customers.
We hire and train developers and support staff who can engage directly with our clients. This means we aren’t going to put someone between you and the people working on your project, allowing for efficient work and clear communication.
For each project, we’ll put together a small team, which will evolve as the project progresses. This is not to say there won’t be a point person to guide the project – there will be. And there are times when dedicating a specific developer makes sense. But most often, we “bring the team” to ensure your project is well-covered and that multiple people always know where it is in the process.
This usually depends on the phase of your project. Different phases require different skill sets. However, you are always welcome to contact the team member with whom you are most comfortable – and you can always contact Rod or Don with any concerns along the way.
Unless you already have an established technology stack, we believe it doesn’t really matter what tech stack is used – as long as the technologies are mainstream, and they make your developers very efficient.
Volano mainly uses Microsoft technologies and Ionic for mobile apps.
We have found commonality in the hundreds of projects we’ve built over the years. So, we’ve culled and developed the most communal features into our Jumpstart project. When we can, we start with our Jumpstart project, which means you pay less because building your software will require less development time. Bonus: Volano does not retain rights to our Jumpstart bits, so there aren’t any ownership issues.
Once you’ve paid your invoices, you own the source code. And you always own the intellectual property. We’ll never use your code.
That said, we learn best practices and gain intrinsic knowledge each time we create a new system. Obviously, this learning becomes engrained at Volano.
We would hate to see you go! Sometimes but rarely – just three times in 12 years actually – we find that we don’t have alignment with a client. True to our core, we just want to help. So, we’ll professionally move you to the new firm. We have even helped past clients pick that new firm. Please feel free to call Rod if you would like references for companies that we’ve moved.
Or, maybe you want to build your own development team? That’s cool, too. We’re happy to help you build and mentor the team.
If Volano is hosting your application, we’ll bill you for hosting costs quarterly.
Also, we suggest you budget for software maintenance. Unfortunately, like food left out too long in the Nebraska summer heat, software rots [link to blog post] and you’ll probably want some help mitigating software depreciation. We can help you forecast these costs and set up a maintenance plan with us.
We never charge to create the same code twice. So, if the code is wrong, that’s on us and we pay to fix it. However, if the necessary code wasn’t created in the first place, creating the code will be billable work.
Volano was formalized in 2007 after our founders Rod Smith and Don Stavneak had worked together for seven years on various projects. There are now more than 20 of us on the Volano team and the vast majority are developers. All of us are technologists. We work in a cool space in North Downtown Omaha that we’re really proud of.
We’ve grown in a controlled and financially mature way. We are bootstrapping entrepreneurs who are financially stable, profitable, and pragmatic.
The easiest way to gauge our scale is to consider our “run rate”: 90+ projects for over 40 clients over the last five years. Being engaged on follow-on projects illustrates our commitment to partnership. We’re not a one and done firm. In fact, we have the honor of still working with a few of our very first clients more than ten years later.
Our metrics for the past seven years:
Volano has many success measures. Our second core value [link] is perform to completion. The ultimate measure of completion is getting working software into production, and our track record is 100%. Client satisfaction is also a measure of success. Our ability to earn a client as a repeat customer for multiple years after going to production is 97%.
Indeed, we do. In fact, we have defined processes for sales, delivery, and invoicing. You can expect a consistently good experience doing business with Volano due to the business and software development processes we’ve established and implemented across our company.
It’s unlikely. We believe that a fixed bid software project is not a win-win formula for success. Fixed bid engagements typically have a winner and a loser. From a project perspective, fixed bids don’t allow for the fluidity inherent in software development and are typically full of change orders.
What we will do is create a high confidence estimate for you and then collectively measure our success against this estimate.
Yes. Our guarantee is that we will get your software into production.
Well, we sure think so! Here are some ways in which we’re different from other firms:
Here in Omaha, we’re the only software development consultancy that has:
In one translation, Volano is Italian for “flywheel.” We like the flywheel metaphor of circular momentum. It is analogous to our iterative software development life cycle. With each iteration of your software, we’re building momentum together. Take a look at the center of our logo, aka ‘The Vortex.” It represents that circular momentum.
Some folks address us as Volcano, which is amusing and likely a product of spell check.