Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
We are LD Studios, founded in 2014 by Lauren Schneidewind and Daniel Rice. We are a custom software consulting and development agency based in Atlanta. At LD Studios, we are experts in creating reliable code in the most efficient manner possible. This gives us a competitive advantage by being able to increase results and decrease time being spent on coding. I am the majority owner of LD Studios and function as the CEO. My other role is the overall strategy for the business and where we are going in the future.
What was the idea behind starting this organization?
Daniel and I had been thinking about starting a business for several years and then found an opening within the market in Atlanta. There were not any niche software consulting agencies in our field. We decided that it would be great if we could assist in bringing the development roles back to the US and only offer US-based engineers, no outsourcing.
What is your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
For our development work and all the work that is billed to our clients, we do it in-house. We will never outsource your project. We pride ourselves on being able to provide efficient and quality products. A large part of this is employing Atlanta-based engineers to work on the projects. This means we make a little less money at the end of the day, but we sleep well knowing we are adding to the Atlanta community.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
Our value addition claim comes from our ability to build a customer’s product on-time and on-budget the first time. We even guarantee it. Our industry is notorious for being over-budget, under-delivering and high maintenance costs over the lifespan of the project. We pride ourselves on quality, which means in the long run and over the lifespan of the project, we will get it done faster and cheaper. Our industry has on-going maintenance costs of around 60% of the entire project; we guarantee ours to have less than 10%. We actually have some clients that have not spent anything in over 5 years on their projects and they are still functioning as they are meant to. I however, do not suggest this, but it can be done. Web apps can be just like cars, with routine oil changes and maintenance they can run for a long time, well so can web apps if build correctly.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive?
We cater to two verticals: Small business through enterprise. We can come in and assist a business owner scale their businesses by automating their employees’ repetitive tasks such as using excel for more than 5-10 hours a week. We also love working with clients who run their business online and have an e-commerce presence. Our second vertical is coming in to an established business, typically at the enterprise level and optimizing a large app with many different developers over a multiple year period. You can consider this a remodel and sometimes even a teardown and rebuild type job. This type of job is actually one of the most difficult and we only use consultants with more than ten years of experience to come in for these jobs.
Most of our clients are long term and our organic growth is our stronger area of growth.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a web app.
The time frames we suggest to our client are specific for each client and are taken extremely serious. We actually guarantee our timelines in our contract for our clients. We plan out the entire project ahead of time and it is completely customized for each client.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a web app?
We specialize in back end and challenges regarding back end functions. We probably spend 90% of our time of the back end development and about 10% on the front end development. Once the project works the way it should, we then work with a team that specialises in UI/UX, but this typically comes after money is being generated for the project and the user base starts growing.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a web application?
Since we build custom software, the key parameters are what the client wants in terms of functionality and performance including workload. Most of our applications are built using Ruby on Rails, but when another technology is warranted we will suggest it and use it.
Which platform and technologies do you prefer to use in development of your web apps?
We prefer to use Ruby based technologies; Ruby on Rails is our go to.
Do you offer website design templates or customized website design, and do you have a responsive website design?
Since we build custom applications, we do all of the above. We typically assess the goals and budget and come up with a strategy. Almost all of our projects have a responsive website design. What we use ultimately depends on what the client wants.
Which Content Management System do you prefer to use?
We are a custom development shop, we build them. Our website is hosted using Jekyll, which is a developer friendly publishing platform.
Do you provide website maintenance services?
Yes, we provide all services related to software and website maintenance.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a web application?
We base all our project costs on the time required to build them, as well as the complexity, which tends to take more time.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, and Pay per Milestone?
We do all of the above. We price everything based on the time required but we will price out the project however the client would like. We use agile methodologies with respect to our client’s requests. This is one great thing about being a custom development agency; we do what the client wants while respecting their goals and money.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement?
We do not have set minimums; we can come in at an hourly rate and work on the project. Sometimes a client will do this if they have a problem and need something fixed right about. We do have realistic minimums we tell the clients about. For an e-commerce site that needs to be customized they tend to start at $7500. Some basic systems such as moving a single page excel doc to the web would be about $5000. We generally say a custom web application for a small business is realistically about $20k, and they should see an ROI within 6 months.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2015?
We had a fully customised ecommerce site built for $7500 to a fully customised motorcycle leasing platform that cost about $500,000.