November 11, 2019

Productized bug-fixing service

I currently do freelance dev for a startup where I essentially fix non-urgent bugs and things. That led me to thinking - could this be offered as a productized service charged at $x/mo? I'd only offer it for the tech stack that I'm good at.

I'm not sure how you'd structure pricing for something like this, especially since bugs can be notorious to estimate time to fix.

I'd love to get feedback though, is this something that startups might consider? The pitch is that it'll cost $2-3x of your FTE dev time vs my service and distract them from building core product.

Thoughts IHers?

  1. 3

    Hey @v1l !

    I definitely think it could be productized. Some things to consider:

    • Among your current customers, do you see any patterns among the type of tasks you're required to do for them? (For example: Do the same bugs/fixes come up over and over again?)

    • How can you outsource / systemize the bug fixing process? Do you see yourself able to hand off the delivery (bug fixing jobs) to someone else? How would you train your team?

    • What's the main reason why people hire you? (that will enable you to find your value proposition - which is super important since you'll be able to communicate that to other customers in the future) - Is it to save time? Is it to save costs? What do they care most about your service and what do they really like?

    As regard to your other question:

    "I'm not sure how you'd structure pricing for something like this, especially since bugs can be notorious to estimate time to fix." --> This is actually an opportunity in disguise in my opinion. Hiring a dev to do all sort of maintenance / bug fixing can be a bad experience as a customer since you have no idea how much you should pay and they might charge you different prices. Among the jobs you've done, what is the average time required to fix the jobs / how many tasks customers ask on average per month? Then try to come up with some pricing.

    Finally - since your target market seems to be devs that want to focus on core jobs, try to get on some calls with them or get them to get a trial of your service so that you can see what they care the most about.

    Let us know how it goes :)

  2. 1

    I both love and hate this idea.

    I love it, because I think there's lots of software out there that need bugs fixed, and I have first-hand evidence that people are already paying people to have them fixed.

    I hate it because depending on the pricing structure - an insidious bug or a bug-riddled app could block you for whole days or weeks. Not to mention the time to get set up on new projects (many of them won't "just run" locally or have suffered from bit rot or require a specific environment).

    I think as a lead-in to consulting, though, this has some interesting potential. A statement like "I'll fix your most critical bug in your React/Angular/Spring/Django/Rails/whatever app for $500" - and then use that as a start of a consulting relationship. "Now that I'm familiar with your app, I'll charge $X/hr to work through your remaining bugs and I'll create a plan for testing and process improvements to help prevent and catch bugs in the future"

    I think I'm landing more on the "love" side :P I may steal your idea, though probably not any time soon. If you run with this, I'd love to hear how it goes :D

  3. 1

    Yes yes yes

  4. 0

    Hi Vin!

    I am interested in building this if you are looking for a partner. Feel free to reach out at [email protected]