The Contractor - Which one to choose?
If the first thing that comes to your mind is to look by search engines, you'll probably be amazed by the quantity of companies offering web design and development of websites – both static and dynamic. You will be also surprised to see a price difference for seemingly the same service. This is normal - a lot of these companies are actually independent freelance developers with no costs for office and staff, what they say helps them achieve a lower price. The other question is whether such performers are to be trusted as able to achieve the desired quality in compliance within the agreed terms, to carry legal and physical responsibility in case of breach of contractual terms.
We will try to guide you in few steps to the successful selection of a contractor, with regard to certain mandatory attributes to be required:
One way to choose the right contractor is to examine its corporative portfolio - if apart the corporate brands and dynamic sites there is a web-based software, a solution, gaining immense popularity in recent years, this is a big plus. Online-based software systems with dynamic databases are much more complex than the sites with CMS (System Content Management), thus that should mean this company deserves special attention as refers to the quality of programming.
Explore the web-sites (software) of your industry, and generally in the web space servicing your teritory, and point the ones you like. Even if you cannot find out who their performer is, you will have an idea of what is to be required if you opt for one.
Ask your colleagues and clients whose website / software they think is well made – they may give you tips and echo about the actual quality of their key projects.
Once you have selected several potential contractors, check their own websites, their portfolio, check for information on the Internet. So you can get a preliminary idea of the size of their team and the quality of implementation. What are the projects that have been implemented? How you find them referring to their performance, functionality and design. How their activity varies, aren’t there identical products? Are there references from clients and partners, from public or private, or governmental organizations? Good indication of the reliability of the contractor is the availability of quality certificates, development projects financed by the European Union, this is to say that this company has been verified on several levels.
Once the above study is performed, it’s time for request of quotes from potential contractors pre-selected for your project. Look in the "Contact" section of their site - most of the companies are using an inquiry form for Request for quotation. For everything that constitutes not a special field in this form, write in the box Other/Remarks (usually placed in the last position). Note that the more detailed it is - this is another indicator of reliability, another indication that you choose people who value their and yours time and work.
If you have already sent your request for quotation, then pay attention to few more details:
- How fast your inquiry was answered?
- What kind of clarifications you were asked? Were the questions clear or rather confusing ones?
- After the feedback, how long it took for the company to prepare their quotation?
- If you have made a contact by phone, with whom you spoke? Has it behavied in a polite or rather disinterested way? Questions that you were asked, were they constructive and guiding, have they you helped you to cristalize or clarify your idea at least to a small degree?
- Did the other side ask a meeting with you? In which moment?
- If the company is situated in a city other than your own, have they asked you to come to your office?
The answers to these questions will help you to make a screening refered to your goals and respectively to remove the unreliable companies from the list with those that would be useful for your business.
What happened after the receipt of the quotation?
- The quotation offer is made tailored for you, or it is rather a typical document?
- Does the offer give comprehensive answers to almost all your questions?
- The offer is written in comprehensive and clear for you language or the contrary - is filled with heavy technical terminology and details?
- Are there any additional clarifications and guidance, is there any suggestion related to issues requested by you, but inadeguate to the project?
- Does the offer differentiate by price and volume the various stages of the project work?
- What is included in the final price? Have you arrived to the idea how much all the project work will cost you?
- Does the offer include training?
- Does the offer include a manual for operation with the system on your site or with your software?
- Is the IT company-contractor ready to make a presentation at your office?
When you have the answers of the questions above, you can proceed to the contract.