Frequently Asked Questions
The most common question of all is a request for something free - free help, free software, free support, free customizations, free installation, free debugging, etc.
Please understand that this is a business, not a free helpline. Forums are free, but if you email me or PM me asking me to work on your problem, you should be prepared to pay.
Now if you're reading this and thinking, "oh, this doesn't apply to me because..." please note: this actually does apply to you.
If you want me to answer a question or two, I can do a brief email consultation for $20.
Telephone consultations are $60 for up to half an hour.
If you need me to install one of my modules, the price is generally $60. I can also customize most of my modules to your exact requirements; price on request, minimum charge $60.
I have a variety of shrink-wrapped solutions to common problems that have fixed prices. Prices are as noted on the help page for the module.
I occasionally do modifications for $90 or $120, but most jobs start at $180 and go up from there depending on complexity.
If your job is complex or has significant unknowns, you will need to pay for an estimate. Estimate building is time consuming and puts me on the hook for delivery, and charging for estimates filters out people who are not serious. Estimate fees generally run between $30 and $60.
For fastest service, please indicate your budget and schedule along with your requirements when sending your RFP or RFQ.
I take payment by Paypal. My paypal address is help at thatsoftwareguy dot com.
- Q: How do I buy an extension or otherwise pay you?
A: Most of my extensions are sold in my store. Custom work may be paid using PayPal to help at thatsoftwareguy dot com. You do not require a PayPal account; you may use your credit card. Prices for extensions are noted on the extension's page.
- Q: I hate Paypal! How do I pay you?
A: If you don't like Paypal, you can send me money in the following ways:
- Q: How do you deliver software? Is there a download link?
A: It's a normal Zen Cart checkout. Unless otherwise specified, installation is not included. Installation may be arranged, but there is a charge for this service (generally $60).
- Q: What does That Software Guy do?
A: That Software Guy improves the profitability of online operations for small and medium sized businesses by writing custom software.
- Q: What does That Software Guy *not* do?
A: Generally anything other than "write custom software." If you need a specific list look at the last question in this FAQ.
Q: What are your rates?
A: My hourly rate is $100 per hour USD for jobs over 10 hours; I provide flat rate quotes on projects requiring less than 10 hours. Projects with significant unknowns or those requiring more than 10 hours are billed hourly with a 10 hour advance at commencement, and refunds made for unused hours. Telephone consultations are charged per call at $60 for up to 1/2 hour. I will install most of my modules for $60. Prices for installation of multiple modules on request. Prices for individual extensions are noted at the top of the extension's help page; quotes for custom software are provided upon request.
Full payment is required in advance; e-checks must clear.
Projects which are have significant unknowns or require a number of client decisions before an estimate can be provided will be charged a $60 estimating fee prior to the delivery of a statement of work and a bid.
- Q: Can I hire you to install your own software?
A: Yes. I will install most of my mods for $60; the mod's help page generally has an installation price. "Installation" constitutes installing a mod on a single site, testing to ensure it works, and possibly handling a few follow up questions. Please understand that it does not include unlimited support months or years later; you will need to pay for follow on support and help if you require it. (99% of my customers understand this; the reason I need to make statements like this is to handle the few bad eggs who don't.)
- Q: Will you upgrade my Zen Cart? How much does it cost?
A: Doing an upgrade isn't a task I can give you a fixed cost on; it will depend on how many changes were made (and whether the work was done correctly in the first place using the overrides system, starting with current versions of the files, etc.).
Generally I tell people to budget 10-20 hours (@ $100/hr) to upgrade a cart. The minimum charge is $1000, and most upgrades take around 10 hours.
To get started, paypal $1000 for 10 hours to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with your zen admin, ftp and phpMyAdmin credentials. You should expect the job to take 2-3 weeks. My preference is to deploy a test copy of your cart in another subdirectory for you to verify once I'm done; once you approve, I stage the update (transfer all files in advance) and take your store down for just a short period of time to update the database. However, if you were hacked, I delete ALL the files from your server before re-installing (so I'm sure no hacks were left behind). I also change your db and admin passwords and your admin URL.
- Q: How do I pay you?
A: PayPal to help at thatsoftwareguy dot com. You do not require a PayPal account; you may use your credit card.
- Q: Do you accept donations?
A: Of course! Click here to donate.
- Q: I got burned by a guy from <some third world country> -
why should I trust you?
A: My full contact information is posted for your assurance. That Software Guy, Inc. is a United States corporation, registered in the State of Florida.
- Q: Can you provide references?
A: You can see some testimonials about my work on ShopperApproved and the Zen Cart forum. If you have a LinkedIn account, you can look at That Software Guy, Inc.'s LinkedIn page, or go directly to That Software Guy, Inc.'s LinkedIn Recommendations.
- Q: Why should I pay you when I can do it myself?
A: So that you can get back to building your business instead of building your shopping cart.
I do this kind of work every day and I know all the failure paths. If you spend six hours figuring out something I charge $30 for, you have just made a choice to value your time at $5/hr. Isn't your time worth more than that?
- Q: I took a computer programming class in college - how hard could this be?
A: Look, most small businesses fail within the first five years. One of the key reasons for failure is poor time management: wasting time on unimportant tasks while critical tasks pile up. Outsourcing non-core business tasks means you're spending your limited time and energy on the most important issues facing your business.
- Q: Why should I pay you $100 per hour when I can hire a guy from <some third world country> for $20 per hour?
A: The guys from <some third world country> who are charging $20/hr are not that good. If they were good, they would charge what I do. As with most things in life, with freelance software developers, you get what you pay for.
- My Quantity Discounts and Better Together modules have been downloaded over 20,000 times each. If you look at the total download statistics for That Software Guy's contributions, you'll see my contributions have been downloaded over 150,000 times as of January, 2017.
- I have been doing commercial software development for over 25 years.
- I have a proven track record of delivering highly functional software.
- That Software Guy, Inc. has been in business since 2003. Government fees, insurance, accounting and tax preparation costs and other forms of fixed overhead are in excess of $1,000 per year. I wouldn't keep the business open if it weren't consistently making money, and the only way to make money consistently is by delivering a service which people value.
- I am a PayPal verified, native speaker of English who's a US resident and in the phone book.
- Communication is a critical success factor. Is someone who doesn't speak English really going to be able to make sense of your business needs and create proposals that work for you?
- Q: I got a quote that was 20% less than yours. Can you match it?
A: Competitors who sell on price are also the same ones who skimp on service and the quality of relationship. If you want on-time delivery, perfect implementation, friendly dealings, and special service, please call me. If you are shopping solely on price, please call my competitors.
- Q: Can I get a discount? Buy one get one free?
To be fair to all customers, I have a no-discounting policy. The money you are paying for extensions and custom development also supports the free software I provide.
- Q: Do you subcontract work out?
A: 100% of the software development services I sell are done by me here in the United States. I have partners I work with who do things like graphic design and skinning, but I never subcontract out work without your express approval. Furthermore, I never put your personal information (or that of your clients) at risk by transmitting it to a third-world country.
- Q: What's the difference between a contribution and an extension?
A: Contributions are free software. Most of them are available from the Zen Cart download area; a few of them are on my site.
Extensions are things you have to pay for; they are either customizations of my contributions (or occasionally the contributions of others), or customizations of the Zen Cart core. I send them to you after receiving payment. Income from selling the extensions allows me to release free contributions.
- Q: How do I buy an extension?
A: Most of my extensions are sold in my store.
- Q: Can I see your software live?
A: Many of my mods are installed on the demo sites I maintain. Take a look at Demo Shop 1, Demo Shop 2, and Demo Shop 3. I also have a shop to show of some admin mods; the address is Demo Shop 4. Use userid "test" password "test" to login.
If you're looking at the help page for a mod, search for the string "See it Live" - it will be at the top of the page. This will give instructions on what to do, for those mods which are available for live demonstration.
- Q: Can I send you my RFQ/RFP/RFI?
A: Please do. Take a look at my contact page for the inputs I need to get started.
- Q: How will I know if some code you've written has been updated?
A: Just pick one of the many ways to follow That Software Guy's work.
- Q: How do I know which discounting/upselling/cross-selling method to use?
A: Read my Zen Cart discounting overview page for some suggestions.
- Q: Do you do training?
A: I'm happy to do telephone consultations if required; please see my rates for fee information. Prior to retaining me for this sort of assignment, you should really buy a copy of the Zen Cart Manual - your question may be answered there.
- Q: I need someone to support my site - will you do it?
A: I do support a small number of clients on an as-needed hourly basis. Let me know what your needs are.
- Q: Are you on <some social networking site>?
A: I use LinkedIn, Facebook (with a special Facebook Page for That Software Guy), and Twitter. My presence on most other social sites is pretty trivial.
- Q: Can you recommend a hosting company for my site?
A: Here's a post from my blog with some Zen Cart hosting recommendations.
- Q: Where can I buy the Zen Cart manual?
A: You can buy the manual from the Zen Cart site as an eBook or in hardcopy form.
Q: What services do you not offer?
- I don't fix bugs in other peoples' mods
- I don't install other peoples' mods (unless you are a support client)
- I don't do template design