About
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to some commonly asked questions
 

Over the years, we've been asked and answered some common questions from our clients. We've compiled a few of the most common questions and provided answers to them below.

Your firm does not have a branch in my area. Can I still work with you?
Yes. Eighty percent of our clients are in a different state than we are. Some are even in a different country. For both web and database application development we can provide services without ever going on site. For larger projects we occasionally suggest face to face meetings at the beginning of a project and upon delivery, but even large projects can be done on a completely remote basis.

My last developer was a freelancer (or other small firm) that just disappeared, went out of business or lost interest in my project. How can I be sure you won't do the same?
Alternative Systems was founded in 1981 and has been growing steadily ever since. Our philosophy is to grow without debt, which means that we are an extremely stable, extremely reliable company. Some of our clients have been with us for nearly twenty years. We know how much our clients value stability, so we integrate stability into our client relationships.

What types of clients do you work with?
Alternative Systems develops for all types of clients - from individuals, to Fortune 500 companies, to educational organizations, to non-profits, to small businesses and everything in between.

What types of projects do you take on?
Alternative Systems creates everything from simple web pages to complex e-commerce applications involving clustered servers and multiple databases.

How much do you charge?
While many consulting firms try to hide their hourly rates until you contact them, we are proud of our hourly rates and always publish them directly on our web site. We are consistently more affordable than other professional development firms of our quality. View our rates list.

How much does a web site or database typically cost?
There are many factors that go into determining the amount of time and resources needed for the creation of a new web site, application or database. If you are looking for a very simple solution, or only a few updates to an existing application, the cost may be as low as $500 - 1,000. If you contact us we can provide you with a free, no obligation initial consultation and rough estimate.

What forms of payment do you accept and what are your billing terms?
We accept payment by personal, company, or cashier's check. Credit cards are accepted in rare instances. Payment terms depend on the contract, but are most often Net 15, billed on a weekly basis for hourly work. Fixed Bid projects require an initial down payment and scheduled project payments.

How can I keep development costs down?
The best way to keep development costs down is to have an in depth understanding of what you are looking for BEFORE you approach any development firm. Check what your competition is doing, review the standards in your industry, review the capability of similar canned software, make a sketch of what you are looking for and create a clearly defined statement of work.

I have an old web site or database application - will you help me maintain it or fix it up?
Sure. We often work with web sites or database that we did not create.

What kinds of support do you offer after my project is finished?
We offer our clients a number of support options - from open-ended monthly maintenance contracts, to reduced rate technical support options to standard hourly support.

Does Alternative Systems offer "One Stop" services for web clients?
Yes. Alternative Systems offers a full range of web services, including developing an initial blueprint for the site, programming the site, designing the site's graphical user interface, testing the site for quality assurance, hosting the site, maintaining the site and promoting the site through web marketing and search engine positioning.

Do you provide on site assistance or consulting?
Alternative Systems consultants can be scheduled to be at your location for our usual hourly rate plus a small on-site fee per day. On site visits may require expenses such as hotel or meals, which are the responsibility of the client.

What is "managed" web hosting?
Managed web hosting means that we take care of every aspect of your web site. If you need to make a change to the site, we do it for you. This insures that only trained Alternative Systems professionals have access to your site, which allows for a dramatic increase in site stability and performance. Moreover, our service provides the reliability of other managed environments, but at costs equivalent to hosting at a regular ISP.

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