How to Select a Partner Who Delivers Value, Not Inputs

  • August 25, 2023
  • Michael Maloney
  • 5 min read

It’s not a secret that you need great engineers to build great products. But great engineers are expensive. And cheap engineers aren’t great.

So when your engineering team is at capacity, how do you get that complex feature or product out of the backlog and into the hands of your users without breaking the bank?

Per edX and Linux Foundation Research, 41% of companies are turning to software consultancies to avoid delays and launch features and products faster.

But that begs the question of how you select the right innovation partner. And more importantly, how do you ensure that your partnership investment will deliver a return?

Let’s dig in.

Understanding The Total Cost of Ownership

For better or worse, the billable hourly rate has become the go-to metric in the consulting world. One hour of development work costs x. And this molecular metric is used by everyone to compare agency partners.

But too often, this is the main driver of purchasing. And the problem with this is that it assumes all agencies are created equal, and that “development is commoditized.

As a standalone number, the billable rate fails to consider how much value is being delivered within that hour. And most importantly, how many total hours will it take to deliver the desired results of your project?

Because the unspoken assumption is that with the lowest rate, you can get more hours. And with more hours, you get better results. But that math doesn’t add up as the hours only represent the input, not the output.

There are partners who can (and will) gladly deliver 1,000 low-cost hours to you, but without the value. And in most cases, throwing more low-quality hours at the problem will actually compound it before fixing it.

Imagine you need a hole in the ground. What's more valuable: Two hours with a shovel or two hundred hours with a ladder?

In this (awesome) analogy, the cost per hour really isn't the most important factor. Because one item clearly solves your problem and the other has you standing on the roof wondering why you didn’t just buy the damn shovel.

Whether it’s a new feature or hypothetical yard work: You have a problem that needs to be solved. So the first thing you need to understand is how much it’s going to cost to get from your current state to the desired state (see: value) instead of buying the lowest price and hoping for the best.

Getting To Value

At The Gnar, we’ve helped partners go from an idea to a revenue-generating application in 90 days. We typically start shipping production-ready code in our first week on the project. We’ve designed and launched features in a matter of weeks. And we’re able to do this for a number of reasons:

  • We onboard quicker than a full-time person ever could.
  • We become obsessed with solving the problem by having a dedicated team of experts who aren’t juggling six priorities.
  • We offer suggestions on different ways to build features given the desired functionality and budget.
  • We build software with tests already integrated into the code.
  • We have expert team members who know how to communicate, lead, and ship.

All in the name of building it right the first time with your long-term business goals in mind. This saves you the time, frustration, and money of hiring a “cheaper” agency.

Because poor communication, missed deadlines and project delays will deliver headaches and add hours to your project – every time. The last thing you need is to become an overpriced babysitter. But unfortunately, all of that time wasted by you and your team doesn’t show up in the low-cost billable hour.

But the value in building great software comes with building fast, high-quality products that scale. You get to revenue faster. You can start understanding your users and optimizing accordingly. And you aren’t wasting money moving backward and fixing issues caused by cutting corners.

Maintenance and Support

So you’ve picked a partner, launched your product/feature, and started to see a return. But now your app is alive and requires some level of maintenance to ensure you aren’t left without a paddle.

At The Gnar, we needed a way to prove all the above claims of quality.

So we offer a 12-month bug-free warranty on our code. We will literally come back and repair any nonconformance within a year – at absolutely no cost to you. Here’s a quote from a CEO that explains it nicely:

I chose The Gnar because of their warranty on the code they provided. I actually thought they were foolish to be offering a guarantee on code being could this be profitable!? But then I realized they provide this warranty because issues almost never come up. With the test-driven approach, they know they know that new code won't cause something else to break.

It’s like Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee where they’ll repair any item free of charge. But if you’ve ever owned Patagonia before, you never worry about it ripping. Because you paid for the craftsmanship the first time, and know the brand has a reputation for quality.

So we’ll gladly assume that extra risk. When you’re selecting a development partner to solve your problem, you shouldn’t have to worry about all the what if’s of hiring the wrong shop.

Plain and simple, we want to build great things with great partners - and will always go the extra mile to deliver those results.

We’re never going to have the lowest billable hour. And we’re certainly never going to have the highest. We don’t want either.

We want to deliver results that will pay dividends for our partners long after we’re gone. We want to be the partner who has a reputation for shipping great products on time, on budget, and leaves every client in a better place than when they started. Because that is an actual, measurable, value.

Want to get more features to market without breaking the bank? Let’s chat.

Interested in building with us?