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SUMO Heavy structures its fees on a monthly retainer model. In a nutshell, it means you retain our full services for one monthly fee. That means whatever the job takes (agreed level of service), you’ll still get the same bill at the end of each month.
But we still get asked: “How many hours?”
We understand the curiosity – maybe the client doesn’t think the job takes as long as it should. The better question would be to determine the value of the work being performed, versus time on the clock.
When we started the company, we charged like everyone else did – on an hourly basis per person for each project. We’d spend a lot of time guestimating how long each phase of each project would take, and 99 percent of the time those calculations were wrong. Guessing how many hours a project will take, regardless of your amount of experience is just that – guessing.
After years of trial and error, we eventually moved to a full retainer model for our clients. The client wins because they get one bill for work performed during the month, regardless of time spent, and we don’t waste time making endless calculations and generating unnecessary paperwork. One flat fee also means that our teams need to be efficient in process and work. The client gets the added benefit of our teams going above and beyond what it would cost at an hourly rate.
Here’s one of the ways we break down the retainer model for potential clients:
There is a difference between an hour from our senior engineer and an hour from me programming ( no, you do not want me working on actual code). That also goes for junior devs, designers, architects, sales etc. We know that agencies use blended rates for this kind of work but as a client wouldn’t you rather have a senior developer for one hour than five hours from a junior developer? You are paying for the experience and not that actual hour.
How about meetings? Calls? Slack messages? Project Managers are a huge part of the process, spending the majority of their time using these tools to keep projects moving forward. Have you considered the time a PM spends with you on your project?
Another cost consideration is development tools. Technical tools are like a hammer for a carpenter but in the tech world these tools can get pricey, especially if the client were to foot the bill.
At SUMO Heavy we integrate with client teams, making it a better working relationship that is based on mutual respect of time and money.
Billing by the hour may seem like the easiest way to price a project, but we believe in bringing value over hours spent.