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ClearSummit offers full stack solutions & UI design for the experiences you want to build.

We make sure our clients are set up to quickly scale to public release with the highest quality design and engineering from start to finish.

AutoMD Taggler INM ZS Associates Lumiary

Leadership

A perfect blend of formal engineering education with years of industry experience.

Shane

Engineering

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Kara

Product & Operations

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Testimonials

We set you up for success

"I had total confidence in the technology built by ClearSummit."

— Founder and President, Village Labs

We're your partners

"ClearSummit has a lot of experience with mobile apps, and their advice on the design and marketing of the app, in addition to its development was crucial to the success of the project."

— Founder of a stealth mode Startup

CTO and product advice for your growing company

"As cofounders of a small and growing company, we can’t sing ClearSummit’s praises enough, but I think what stands out is their creativity and their willingness to be patient teachers to us."

— Cofounders, Align (Dating Startup)

Small by choice. We bring our best.

"I wouldn’t change a thing. Our relationship with ClearSummit has been one of the best relationships we’ve had as a company in the two years we’ve been around, if not the most pleasant."

— Cofounder, Lumiary.com (Retail Data Analytics Company)

... or throw us in with your tech team

"We’re more confident than ever that we can support our growing user base as time moves on because of the foundation that ClearSummit has built for us."

— CTO, UltraPress

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Technologies We Use

iOS
Android OS
Angular JS
SQL & NoSQL Databases
Ruby on Rails
Django/Python
Elastic Search
AWS
Heroku
Heroku

Looking for a marketing website?
Check out our sister company - Atoms & Pixels

Our Blog

How do we work?

After being in business for a few years, we have started to see the same questions from clients or potential clients. Here are few of those common questions, and our answers.

Do you make apps for iOS or Android?

We build native apps for both platforms.

What about hybrid apps? It seems better to only have to build something once for iOS and Android, right?

Until recently, we had some pretty strong opinions about the deficiencies of hybrid development. Historically, hybrid apps did not offer the same high-quality look and feel of native apps. We prefer our work to look and feel as clean and attractive as possible, and were not impressed with the hybrid apps we came across. In addition, the cost savings was not as high as one might expect - optimization for each platform could be time-intensive, and troubleshooting could get weird sometimes. (Trust me, we tried!)
We have now started using Facebook’s new React Native framework, and are optimistic about its potential. We understand the trade-off of cheaper for almost-as-good is worth it for some clients.

What is a web platform? Is that the same thing as a website?

Sort of. We use the term “web platform” to describe websites that do things. For example, this website is purely informational. We have some light functionality for people who want to get in touch with us, but the site doesn’t actually do anything. Web platforms can offer a range of functions, such as e-commerce, product builders, manage information, user accounts - pretty much anything you can imagine.

In what format do you accept RFPs for new work?

We work in a variety of formats. The more information we have before creating a proposal, the better. We also offer a discovery package that will enable us to work with you to create a detailed plan for your project, without the commitment of a development contract at the outset.

What are work contracting options? Fixed price? Hourly?

We work under both models, depending on the nature of the project and/or client preferences.

Do you sign NDAs before work begins?

We are willing to sign NDAs, but prefer to use mutual NDAs since we like to protect our side of things as well.

Who owns the code for the app when the work is finished?

The vast majority of our contracts are work-for-hire, meaning that the client owns the code once final payment is made.

How are you better than offshore firms?

For one thing, you have recourse against us if we drop the ball. Our names and professional reputations are on the line with every project we do. While there may be some great offshore firms out there, our experience has usually been “rescue” jobs where US based clients tried to use cheap offshore labor and ended up with nightmares of having spent a lot of money on an unusable app. We are available during normal US business hours (not common for offshore companies) and in-person meetings as well. Shane, the lead on every project we do, has a B.S. in Computer Engineering from a top U.S. University, and our projects are built with those standards as their foundations.

Do you have a lower limit for project budgets?

It really depends on what is needed. As set forth above, we have discovery packages that can be as little as $1000, and can work on design-only demo scopes that are in the $5,000 range. We don’t think you can build a decent, working mobile application for less than $15,000 per platform - and to create anything beyond very basic functionality will usually run at least $30,000, depending on the features, design, etc.

Do you do co-ops or profit sharing, in which you offer discounted development/sustainment/growth in return for profit from a successful app?

We’ll never say never - but it is not something we are looking for right now. We are open to the discussion, though.

How much experience do you have with social media/Facebook APIs?

We have built numerous apps that integrate with Facebook and other social media APIs.

What are your app marketing services/successes?

We are an engineering and development firm, and don’t offer marketing services. We have some top-notch contacts in that space that we would be happy to pass on to you.

Roughly how much time does it take to get to release/launch for typical low-budget (under 75k) MVPs?

2-4 months, including design and testing. (Depending on complexity, of course)

Didn’t see what you were hoping to find? Have more questions? Please reach out to contact@clearsumm.it and we will be happy to fill you in!

So, you want to build an app.

Clients come to us with varying levels of knowledge about what is involved in creating a mobile app. We are often asked, “How much does it cost to make an app?” The answer is always “It depends.”

How much does it cost to buy a car? The answer is as varied as the millions of cars on the road. When a car customer goes to the VW dealership and sees the $25,000 price tag on a new Passat, is it fair to compare that to the friend who got a used car for $8,000? What about the other Passat with fewer features that costs $21,000? Most car customers know that the $10,000 car doesn’t look as good or function as well as the one that costs twice or three or ten times as much. They know that it will be more likely to break down, or will need parts replaced more quickly. They also know that the money saved on the initial purchase price will be offset by the lifetime costs of maintenance, fuel, and eventual replacement. They know that if they view the car as a part of their personal image, they will have to shell out some extra cash to be seen driving around town in a hot new Mercedes convertible.

Mobile apps work in exactly the same way. The more you want out of your app, the more it will cost. Most people don’t really want or need a Ferrari. A good development and design team will work with its clients to help decide which features and aspects of a mobile app are really necessary to build their minimum viable product (MVP,) prototype for investors, or flagship product intended to make immediate impact in the marketplace. It is important to know what you want before going in to defining how much it is going to cost.

A lot of people have been conditioned to think that it should be easy to build an app. For starters, everyone seems to have one. Plus, since the advent of social media, people are used to being able to share content with a simple click of a button.

Designing an app isn’t as simple as putting together a jazzed-up Power Point presentation. For example, how is the app going to look on different sized screens? How are the animations going to work? What are the best ways to utilize menus, navigation bars, and overlay screens? What happens if user-generated content needs to take up more space than what is in the basic visual design? All of these scenarios need to be mapped out, screens that show how they would look need to be designed and, most of all, they need to look good and function well for the users. Multiple iterations of designs are often required before the right solutions are found. All of these things take time, thought, and collaboration between the designer, developer, and the client.

The hours required to code a mobile app depend on the functions of the app, and also on the planning and structure that are done prior to the start of development. Many times, feature A (such as a chat feature for users) seems to be optional, but once the app’s interface is designed, it becomes obvious that it is necessary. If this kind of thing is realized prior to the start of development (coding) it is much less time consuming (and therefore costly) to add it in. If you start your app with bad design or bad user interface, it is going to cost a lot later to fix it up – so it’s worthwhile to do it right from the start, even if it means limiting the target feature set for version 1.0.

Coding an app can easily take hundreds of hours, even for apps that look relatively simple. For the non-technical client, coders may seem like wizards who pull solutions out of thin air (or Google) to create cool things. Most people can see the difference between good design and bad design, even if they can’t articulate what makes one thing superior to another. This isn’t true for code – so it is important to know that the people working on your app are going to do it the right way, the first time. Failure to engage the right development team by going with what seems to be the cheapest will almost always result in one of two things 1) settling for an inferior product or no finished product at all or 2) spending as much as or more than you thought you were saving to get someone else to fix it.

So, you’ve decided you have a ballpark idea of the cost of design and development. What else is left? Testing. Bugs are a normal part of every piece of software ever made. No developer on the planet can create a complex app that is 100% bug-free. A testing process is required to weed out these issues before public release. The sooner these issues are caught, the easier they are to fix. The developers will run the app during the development process, so the big functional issues are usually caught right away. What takes time is finding things like slow load times, hidden crashes, or user interactions that don’t make intuitive sense. Testing and debugging are necessary for every app. Hiring the right developers and testers will keep this cost to a minimum, but it will never be zero.

Once you have decided you want to explore the specifics of building your own app, come to the conversation prepared. The more clarity and organization you bring to the table, the more precise the answers will be. If you have a specific budget in mind, say so from the start. This is where the car analogy stops. Apps take time, and time is money. A talented, competent development company isn’t going to engage in a price negotiation game with you, but will be able to guide you to the right solutions for your needs, goals, and monetary constraints. It doesn't benefit anyone to be wrong about the ultimate cost, so maintaining an ongoing dialogue throughout the process is also crucial.