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Any ideas on how to reach the right people?

Discussion in 'New here? Share your story' started by Quimby, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. Quimby

    Quimby Member

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    Hi eveyone, I just joined.
    I am looking to properly kick off as a freelance programmer, designing custom business software for local businesses.
    Eventually I work to build a free program that will readily adapt itself to different business setups so that fledgling and small businesses can download it and have a fully funtioning software suite that adjusts itself to thier needs.
    In the meantime though, I have decided just to work freelance, but am unsure as to how I will get my message across to the right businesses in Brisbane.
    Any ideas?
    Here is the email I was intending to spread around, before I realised how hard it would be. :)

    To whom it may concern,
    Could your business benifit from custom built software?
    Is your current software clunky and ill fitted to the specifics of your industry?
    Or are you looking for a cheap and easy way to streamline the way your business runs?
    If so, you're in luck!

    As of the 6th of July, my services will again be available for businesses like yours.
    I urge you to be quick in considering, as I can only work on one project at a time.

    So what do I do exactly?
    Well, what I am offering is quite unique and perfectly suited to the finacial climate we must all currently temper.
    Essentially I am a one man programming team that specialises in custom built software for businesses of any size.
    Custom software can be important to businesses when the standard tools like Word, Excel, and Database etc. are not adequately suited for the task at hand.
    Most people will use different tricks and devices to try and make these programs acceptable, but that can lead to huge complicated messes.

    Custom software is expensive, right? So how much do I charge?
    OK, here's the really unique part.
    First, it is true that most programming teams will charge an arm and a leg to build something for your company and that is completely fair, as they also have a company to run.
    When you hire me though, what you get is an employee, not a contract.
    We would agree apon a wage, and I would join your staff as a permanent employee instead of charging one big lump fee.
    This is handy for you in two ways.
    First, you have the luxury of terminating our contract at any time with only two weeks notice; No having to worry about contractual obligations and penalties.
    And second, it's more affordable to pay one extra employee each week than it is to come up with the money all in one go.

    Ok, so I get paid as an employee. How much can you expect to pay!? Some IT contractors charge upwards of $80 / hour!!!
    Relax... I love doing this kind of work, so I don't believe in charging those kind of exorbitant prices to do what I love.
    Depending on the kind of work you need done, and the time frame you have set, you can expect to pay around $35 / hour, but no more than $40 / hour.
    I have a soft spot for small and fledgling businesses, so just ask me and we can discuss it.
    Please note, as I would actually be working for your company, your payroll dept will be responsible for timely payments, paying super-annuation, sick leave and holiday entitlements etc.

    So if you are paying $35 an hour, how much can you expect to pay a week? How does this work?
    That all depends on what you can afford and what you need done.
    Mostly, my work will take place in three stages.
    First is the obsevation/ brainstorm phase which would involve me observing the current methods in place and determine what is needed. This could be one day, or a week depending on the work.
    Next is the design phase, where I would liase with you and we would work out what form the finished product would take.
    And last is the build stage where I actually make the program itself.
    During this stage, I would be working from home for the specified time each day.
    I would prefer to work 8hrs a day, 5 days a week for this stage, but am totally flexible.
    If you require me to do longer hours due to a tight deadline please inform me at the beginning of the project, I do not charge overtime, but would factor this into wage negotiations.
    Most importantly though, if I get carried away and work more than the hours you specified (As I often do...), you will not be charged for that extra time.

    Can I tell you what to expect from the completed program?
    No, because thats all up to you.
    As the employer you will have as much or as little as you want with the design process.
    You know your business better than anyone, so your input can be invaluable.

    What kind of businesses can benifit from my services?
    Actually I think which businesses couldn't benefit would be an easier question to answer as I can't think of any.
    Convenience stores, factories, hotels, landscaping companies, and restraunts could all easily benefit, just to name a few.

    Are the any kind of licencing or usuage fees after the program is completed?
    You paid me to build it for you, it's all yours.

    What kind of computers do you need to run this software?
    Working ones. It doesn't matter if it's a brand new $2000 powerhouse or a ten year old paperwieght you bought for $30 at a garage sale, as long as it is a working PC.
    (Not Apple Macintosh)

    Can I train your staff in using the program once it's done?
    You bet.

    If you are located in Brisbane and you are interested in finding out what I can do for your company, simply email me at [email protected]
    I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Luke Quinn.
  2. Lis Sowerbutts

    Lis Sowerbutts Member

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    OK a couple of obvious points. Check your spelling! You confused me - you talk about being a contractor then you offer to be an employee? Are you asking for a job or are you a freelance contractor? The two are very different and have huge implications for the company involved.

    As a business analyst I don't really see what you are offering - a workflow solution? (There are a dozen of these available ) The issue will be with actually getting a clear set of business requirements which the business understands and signs off on (this is always the issue with software developement that's why Im not a business analyst anymore).

    And who's going to maintain the software when you go? Requirements change all the time - so does your software need to. Do you include maintenance?
  3. Quimby

    Quimby Member

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    Hey Lis, thanks for your feedback.
    You brought up quite a few good points I hadn't considered.
    Each time I have developed a program so far, I have been employed by the company.
    I don't want to join a team, so I figured that being an employee rather than a contractor would be a less messy situation.
    The problem with presenting myself as a contractor would be quoting a final price as I have found with the businesses I have worked for, the final goal keeps changing as more and more people put in thier opinions leading to potentially costly schedule blowouts.
    Reading back over my message, I can see how you got confused so I will have to put some more work into it before sending it out.
    (What did I misspell by the way? I didn't use a spell checker whilst writing it, but I usually don't have a problem.)
    And just to clarify, I have previously worked on rostering / database intergrating / account keeping programs, usually for larger companies.
    I have found that if you make fairly rigid but user friendly programs that are flexible and easily altered (by a designated few - usually the companies own IT staff), there is rarely any issues.
    The main problem with most places is that key people that had to use them (supervisors and the like) were not very computer literate, so having a consistant and self explanitory program that they could become accustomed to really helped.
    In refference to the maintainance issue, I have not actually had to do any additional work to my completed programs so far, but thanks for pointing that out.
    I will have to rethink my approach, including maintainance into it.
    I make a point of having very user friendly and comprehensive help sections, and in one case an interactive tutorial to help users better understand how to use the programs.
    Again, thank you - Much appreciated. :)
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2009
  4. Quimby

    Quimby Member

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    Also, reading back over my first message, it comes across a bit preachy and alot like spam.
    I don't want to look dodgy, so I will have to redo the whole thing. :-(
  5. JayDee

    JayDee Member

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    My first thought was: Are you offering a fixed priced solution? It may be worth considering going fixed cost - even making a loss - to try to quickly establish an installed base of customers that you can use for reference sites. You can recover some costs with higher support charges. You would need to be dynamite on the control of the scope of the project to ensure additional features don't blow you out of the water.

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