Where do we start?
The best place to start is with a phone call or email to outline what the project is about and what services you need. You may know exactly what you want, or you may just have an idea for a product and need some initial guidance on how to go about it. If you are looking for an introduction to embedded systems, try our primer.
From there we would normally meet up to discuss the project in more detail, perhaps to see drawings and samples of previous models, and to discuss ideas. This will give us a good sense of how we can work together, whether other resources will be needed, how long the project is likely to take and what your delivery deadlines are. We can also talk about costs and what we might do to reduce them.
Some designs are very simple but in general it is a good idea to prepare a specification for what you want. Usually this is an iterative process as we come up with questions on the spec, and look at all the awkward ‘what if …’ scenarios that must be addressed to ensure product reliability.
From there we can prepare a detailed quotation listing the tasks involved and indicating an estimated cost for the work.
How much will it cost?
The first thing to note is that the initial discussion phase will not cost you anything, although if it involves a lot of travelling then we may want to negotiate reasonable expenses.
It is always difficult to state an exact cost because inevitably some unforeseen problem will arise at some point. In order to provide a fixed price we would have to calculate the expected cost using a daily rate, and then add a substantial margin as contingency for such events. If the original estimate was correct then you end up over-paying.
For this reason we always work for a simple daily rate, agreed between us at the project start. We rely on repeat business and recommendations, so overcharging clients is really not in our interest and we always aim to provide customer satisfaction and value for money. We also endeavour to provide you with regular updates so you know how the project is progressing and do not receive any nasty surprises at the end of the project.