FAQ

Questions and answers about what we do and how we do it.

GENERAL

What is the significance of the name 5marbles?

It’s a tip of the hat to the excellent Marillion album Marbles.

What method does 5marbles use to develop software?

Yes, there are many ways to build databases, mobile apps, and websites. We follow Scrum, a popular Agile approach. For more on this, click here.

I want build [insert application] but an not sure which technologies or frameworks to use. Can you help me select the right one?

Yes, we can. There’s no shortage of ways to build just about anything these days. 5marbles can certainly help you figure out the right tech for your project and organization.

Who owns the code and intellectual property at the end of our project?

You do. Do with it what you wish.

I know an organization who needs software development. Got a referral program?

Yes. If you recommend a client to us and we develop software for it, then we’ll make it worth your while.

COST AND TIMING

How much do you charge for software development?

In short, it depends. Anyone who can give you a flat-rate quote on a database, mobile app, and/or website is merely guessing. For our weekly rates, click here.

We aren’t the cheapest development shop out there and that’s by design. To quote an oft-cited axiom for software development: Fast, cheap, and good; pick any two of the three.

Do you negotiate on rates?

The short answer is no.

Developing quality software requires skilled developers. 5marbles only works with intelligent, high-integrity, and top-notch folks who have proven themselves over time. We don’t just hire anyone.

What are your payment terms?

5marbles requires payment for 50 percent of the project up front. For instance, let’s say that we start a five-week project at $20,000. Before beginning, the client needs to retain us with a $10,000-check. Once we hit the midway point, 5marbles will invoice you for the remaining half.

Delays in payment mean delays in the project. Put differently, we don’t “chase the money.”

Brass tacks: Take our payment terms seriously and there won’t be any problems.

My organization only needs a week or two of development. Can you work with us?

Sorry, but the answer is no. 5marbles only takes on projects of five weeks or more. This is largely because of the natural learning curve that exists among individuals and organizations. We commit our resources to organizations with relatively ambitious projects.

What happens if we finish our project sooner than expected?

Let’s say that your organization has committed to working with us for seven weeks and we finish in six. You can do one of the following:

  • Receive the funds for one week back
  • Have us build more features in your existing product
  • Engage us in the future and we’ll apply the balance

How long will our project take?

Again, it depends. There’s just no way to know. Some projects are fairly simple and only take a few months. Others are more involved and take longer. Of course, much depends on how fast our clients want to move. (For more on this, see our rates and plans.)

In the past, 5marbles’ clients have decided to keep going after our initial engagement and add more features.

What happens if our work takes us beyond our initial agreement?

At the end of our initial contract, you may decide that you need more features, functionality, etc. If you respect our payment terms and are generally pleasant to work with, then we can continue on a weekly basis.

If it doesn’t go well, then it’s probably time for us to go our separate ways.

TECHNOLOGIES

I want build [insert application] but don' know the right technologies or frameworks to use. Can you help me select the right one?

Yes, we can. There’s no shortage of ways to build just about anything these days. 5marbles can certainly help you figure out the right tech for your project and organization.

Do you maintain applications, websites, and mobile apps that other developers have built or just build new ones?

We build new ones; we don’t fix and or maintain outdated or broken ones built by third parties. We just can’t vouch for what they have built. Note, however, that we will certainly add features to our apps since we know the code base and have worked with you in the past.

Does the company only develop WordPress' sites?

No. Amazon, eBay, and other companies had to build technologies to support their specific business needs. 5marbles carefully matches the client to the technology.

For mobile apps, will my organization ultimately need its own developers' license?

Yes. While 5marbles can do the development, your organization will ultimately own the application. To this end, before submitting to the app store (iOS), you will need to spend $99 to purchase your own license.

Any other licensing information that we should know before starting?

Yes. 5marbles uses a combination of proprietary and open-source software. At a very high level, the former requires a license to legally use while the other is essentially free to use—as in free speech, not free beer as the oft-cited axiom goes. Note that this is subject to some restrictions.

Your organization may want 5marbles to develop tools with proprietary software. If this is the case, then your firm must purchase the requisite software licenses. For instance, if you need us to build a database using Microsoft SQL Server (as a few organizations already have), then you must purchase a license for it.

If you intend to use open-source applications such as WordPress, a MySQL database, etc., then you need not worry about this.

If you are not sure about what you need to build your app, database, or website, then send us a note and we can discuss it.

ETHICS

Is there anything that you will not build?

As a matter of fact, yes.

5marbles strives to be an ethical and law-abiding company. To paraphrase from Google’s initial internal credo, we will do no evil. For instance, we will not build bots that seek to create or disseminate fake news. We will not pursue ethically questionable projects such as ones that Uber has undertaken.

For more on our ethics, click here.

Talk to me about privacy and security.

We take privacy and security very seriously at 5marbles. If you don’t, then we shouldn’t work together.

We take steps to prevent against breaches. In the past, we have used encryption tools when dealing with especially sensitive data. Click here to read our privacy policy.

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

If you still have questions about working with 5marbles, then click the button on the right and fill out the contact form.

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

If you still have questions about working with 5marbles, then click the button on the right and fill out the contact form.