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Why are you called Hastings "Research"?
Are any of your ecommerce systems making a profit?
How much do you charge?
Do you have references?
What development and collaboration processes do you use?
Who would be in charge of our project?
Do you use XML? (... etc., etc.)

Why are you called Hastings "Research"?
We began as an interaction and Internet research company, and gradually added on commercial work when customers started knocking on the door.

Are any of your ecommerce systems making a profit?
All of them are. 100%.

How much do you charge?
A usability review and report on your web site's front page might only be $200. A from-scratch fully interactive training course we did for Citibank cost a lot more. If in doubt, send us an email or give us a call. We won't charge to answer an email, and we will never ask for your firstborn.

How We Charge
We can work on a fixed contract price, or by the hour. Here's the difference.

When established companies call, they often ask for a proposal (or bid) with a fixed price and completion date. To get that, they send us an RFQ (Request For Quote) or MRD (Marketing Requirements Document) with fixed requirements. This might run 10 pages, it might run 30 pages. We go down the list, figure how long it will take us, and send them a quote.

On the other hand, many companies don't know what they want. That's particularly true among startups or companies new to hightech, who are figuring out new business models. That's fine; we like interesting challenges. However, it moves on to the second concept:

By the Hour:
If you don't know what you need yet, we have to figure out a solution. That usually takes time. We are happy to talk for an hour or two, so you can check us out. After that, we politely start charging for our time. Typically this will mean 3-20* hours for mapping out the concept, and coming up with a proposal and mockups. If you like what you see, and you have a job of some size, then we can both sit down and talk knowledgeably about the total cost of the job. (* Unless you simply want a starter site, to establish a presence on the Web. If you're interested in putting up 10-20 pages of company information, with perhaps a contact form or two, we can give you a quote on the spot.)

Hourly Rates:
Our hourly depends on the work. HTML coding is $40/hour. Heavy-duty database design is $200/hour and up. If working by the hour, we can provide task/worker billing breakdowns.

We ask for an initial payment. That way we know we have a client, and you know you have a subcontractor.

Having worked with startups, we're willing to look at mixed cash/equity proposals. However, we need to see some sort of a plan on paper before deciding – and some initial payment before starting work.

Do you have references?
Yes, plenty. We are pleased to provide references on serious inquiries.

What development and collaboration processes do you use?
Inhouse, we generally do rough prototyping on 6-foot magnetic whiteboards with scanning software, feeding into custom tools and storyboards. For coordination with clients or subcontractors, we can use UML, CVS, PERT, CPM, MS Project, Visio, and most PMBOK tools. See our project management page for more detail.

Who would be in charge of our project?
Someone with at least ten years of development experience. (Unlike the giant consulting firms, we do not send "rainmakers" to make a pitch, and then put a rookie in charge.)

Do you use XML? (... etc., etc.)
Yes ... we answer carefully. XML, XSLT, even XLink some days. We do not have a shortage of markup or programming languages. However the hard part is knowing which languages to use for what architecture.

Here is an exerpt from the legendary Frederick Brooks' No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering

"The hardest single part of building a software system is deciding precisely what to build. No other part of the conceptual work is as difficult as establishing the detailed technical requirements, including all the interfaces to people, to machines, and to other software systems. No other part of the work so cripples the resulting system if done wrong. No other part is more difficult to rectify later."

Hastings Research "rectifies" a lot of ill-conceived software systems. In fact, that's how we got into commercial work – desperate companies turning up at our door with failed software systems.

If you want it done right the first time, please get in touch with us first. But if you have a disaster on your hands – sure, drop us a line. We've done this before. And we always bring the hostages out alive.

Contact us at info@hastingsresearch. com

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