These are the terms we typically work to, however we’re happy to negotiate!

Costs

We normally charge an hourly rate of £90/hour (+VAT), negotiable for larger projects and long-term clients. We agree a flat rate with each client, rather than different rates for different types of work, as this keeps time-tracking and billing simple.

We charge the time it takes rather than working to a fixed price. This allows the client much greater flexibility as they can change their requirements part-way through a project without having to re-specify and re-negotiate the job with us. This is akin to using in-house employees – the client simply uses us as a resource. Of course this means the client has to trust us to use our time efficiently – we figure if the client doesn’t trust us they shouldn’t be dealing with us.

The client carries the risk should the project overrun, however we work closely with the client to manage this risk. We will typically break the project down into phases, and re-assess the project plan and estimates at the end of each phase. If additional costs arise, we aim to be open and up-front about this, and work with the client to find a suitable solution. Sometimes the client decides to pay more to achieve a specific outcome, other times we will suggest changes to the design requirements in order to limit costs.

If you need a fixed price we are happy to quote. However this will generally work out more expensive, as we need to cover our risks. We may also quote parts of the project (e.g. feasibility studies) separately.

We handle projects from around £5k to around £200k – anything significantly bigger than that is probably too much for us. If you’re not sure if your project is suited to us, just give us a call – we will be very happy to discuss it with you and make suggestions.

Equipment

We consider the tools and equipment we use to be part of the service we are offering, and hence the costs are included in our hourly rate. Occasionally a client will ask us to use a specific tool or item of hardware that is particular to their job – we sometimes charge the client for this, or ask them to buy it. As ever we will be up-front about this – there are no hidden charges!

Travel

We don’t charge for travel to or from the client’s main premises – after all we decide where we live, so why should you pay for that! However we do charge a nominal fee to cover our expenses for other travel related to your project, for example to an EMC test house, or for site visits. It is worth noting that travel costs are normally a very small part of the overall budget – we make good use of modern communication tools, which minimises travel.

Design Data

Design ownership can be a murky area, as IP (intellectual property) and copyright is traditionally retained by the designer. Some design consultants will try to restrict how the client uses a design, and will retain the source files, making it difficult for a client to take that design elsewhere. Not us!

We believe that if we design something for you, then that design data should be yours to do with as you wish, much like an in-house design.

As standard practise, we pass all design data, including source files, to you, making it easy for you to switch to another designer if need be.

We can arrange daily syncs of all work in progress, for example to a Dropbox share, so even if our office burns down, you still have instant access to all current work. All our design notes and project files are stored electronically, so there should be no information lost, come what may.

We grant you a perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide license to use all design data as you please, so there are no problems with intellectual property, and no restrictions on how you use the design data.

We will not sell your design to anyone else, nor design similar products for your competitors.

Security

Security is taken seriously. Our offices are physically well secured against intruders. We use an enterprise-grade firewall (FireBrick FB2700), a trustworthy ISP (AAISP) and full virus scanning on all machines. When sending data over the internet (email, ftp, dropbox etc.) we always use trusted servers and accounts, and secure passwords.

Confidentiality

We treat all knowledge and data as confidential unless told otherwise. We will not share any information relating to a client or project to anyone else without your express permission.

A Non Disclosure Agreement can be drawn up if required.

All data is kept secure from access by third parties (see Data Security above).

Indemnity

We have never let a client down, and pride ourselves in the quality of our work. However, for your peace of mind, we have Professional Indemnity Insurance Cover which can provide you with compensation up to £250,000 should we act negligently.