How to save money on your software support

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Having supported our customer’s software for almost 5 years now, we have discovered a pattern. Unless you are a software development house and are able to keep your software developers busy at about 90% – 100% of the time, it is not entirely cost effective to hire in-house software developers.

In our experience, hiring a good software developer (and you must not settle for less) could cost you anything from £5K - £20K. This is just in recruitment agency fees. We are talking about a software developer worth his/her salt. This is a sizable upfront cost before you get any value from them at all. Now please remember, if after a few months they walk out, you have lost most (if not all) your recruitment money. That is a financial risk.

Then there is the issue of bringing the software developer up-to-speed with your industry, sector, business practises, requirements, domain knowledge, and so on. If you get someone really good, that will be quicker, but for someone less experienced it will take longer. On average it takes about 3 months or so for a developer to become comfortable with the domain your business operates in and start to be really productive. That is another upfront cost of 3+ months of wages where the developer is just picking up speed.

So, what about the salary then? In our experience the salaries vary from £25K+ for a junior, to £35+ for a mid-level, to £50K+ for a senior software developer. Add on top of that the equipment, the office space, the pension, the perks (make sure they are good if you want to keep hold of them), and all the other things that go with employing a person, such as holiday, sick pay, training, etc. This is not cheap, so proceed with caution.

Director of Finance: Training developers is expensive. What if we train them and then they leave?

Director of Operations: What if we do not train them and they stay?

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Again, the only time this makes sense is if you can keep that developer really busy. And if you are thinking of just hiring someone for 6 months or so until you are done with a given project and then letting them go, then their heart will not be in it. And if a developer’s heart is not in it, then you might not like what you will get out of it. I have seen that happen, and it is not pretty.

Well, I will get a contractor then, you say. Well, that is a wonderful idea, but not a cheap one either. Contractor rates are currently averaging at £400 - £600 per day, depending on where in the UK you are. And don’t forget, with a contractor, depending on the arrangement, you may have to spend on some things. They are also notoriously hard to come by given the demand, and also, make sure you get a good one too, otherwise trouble will ensue down the road. Within a team of developers, the best idea always goes forward to implementation, where there is only one developer, the only idea goes forward to implementation, and you want good ideas implemented in your software.

And then there are people like us, Poole Software Limited. We have worked out that most of our customers need to only hire our software support services for about 2 days a month, on average for any given system. That, according to our calculation, works out about half the cost for a permanent junior software developer. For half the cost of a junior, you can have a dedicated helpline where experienced software developers can look after your bespoke business software application, and then you have only to worry about your customers.

Just think about it, very good service for a fixed monthly fee. Someone that will not walk out with all the knowledge and expertise. No more hiring developers and no more endless interviews (that brings back memories) and no more hassle.

Or we can go offshore, you say. It's cheaper to hire in India, or some other offshore country. There are some good articles about that, and I will not go into them here. There are some good testimonies about that, but there are more bad ones than good. One big issue that companies face with offshore software houses is the very high staff turnover. One day you are explaining the problem to John, and the next day you have to go through all of it again with Peter. Still, if you can find the right supplier abroad, then you will be OK. But why risk it?

With us, you will save money whilst getting great customer support and your bespoke software systems will be well looked after. Give us a call and let’s build beautiful things together.
09 February 2022 | Andrei Bazanov
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