Why You Should Trust Your Software Vendor – From a Guy who Fears the Mechanic


Buying custom software design and development services, especially for the first time, can be scary. There is clearly a knowledge imbalance between you and your service provider. They (hopefully) understand the effort required to successfully build your product, and you don’t. This puts you at risk of being taken advantage of.

I understand this fear. Any time my car is in need of repairs, I am paranoid that the mechanic will take me for a ride. Other than being able to drive a car, I know very little about them. There is a clear imbalance between my and the mechanic’s understanding of labor and parts costs. This puts me at risk.

Luckily, the market has put two controls in place to help mitigate this risk:

  1. Competition – When the job is expensive, people talk to many service providers. When this happens at scale, the market is formed and price is defined based on the quality delivered.
  2. Referrals – When I receive good service, I tell my friends. I also listen to their advice about good service that they received. Positive referrals are good motivation for service providers to treat people fairly.

But even with these controls in place, I am still nervous the first time I engage with a new mechanic. Since quality is so important and subjective, he could use his knowledge imbalance to squeeze a few more dollars out of me.

Why You Should Trust your Software Vendor

Fortunately for you, the dynamic of buying custom software is a little different than getting your car repaired.

Why? Atomic is financially incentivized for you to spend less money.

Sounds crazy, right? Especially since our fixed budget, scope-controlled business engagement works to a budget, but invoices hourly. Thus you pay for the hours that we work on your project.

We are actually crazy like a fox. In truth, we make more money when we release your product for less.

The secret to this phenomena is based on two criteria:

  1. The product that is being created has economic impact by either generating new revenue or saving expenses.
  2. Good software is never complete. I have yet to meet a customer who has more money than ideas. I assume such a person would actually be quite boring.

Beyond competition and reputation, there is little reason for a mechanic to keep your costs down. The more labor hours and parts involved, the greater their profit. On the surface, this may seem true in software as well.

However, in reality, the faster software delivers economic value, the faster the client comes back around to start the next feature/project. (And there is always a next feature/project.) Continuing the relationship to the next project — and the project after that — is how we maximize our profit. Besides the car junkies, no one wants any extra features addressed by the mechanic.

What else worries you about buying custom software services and vendor selection?