My services

My services

I offer the following services to the phpBB community. Prices are under each type of service. See the pricing summary for high level details, or follow the links below to learn more about specific kinds of services.

Please fill out a short form to let me know how I can serve you. Please note that your information is transmitted securely. If you prefer you can send me email.

General information

I have two rates: a hobbyist/small non-profit rate ($30/hour) and a professional rate ($60/hour). This accommodates both segments of the market I serve.

I also offer fixed price for a particular task (see pricing summary) based on the same criteria. My fixed pricing is still based on my labor rate. These tasks are performed often enough where I can generalize on the average time the task will take. I can charge you a fixed price based on known requirements or a hourly rate based on actual effort … your choice. If the scope of the work changes I can reprice the work and seek your consent before proceeding.

What rate will I charge you?

One simple rule: If you require an invoice to pay me, this triggers the professional rate.

  • Professional rate. Applies to corporations, LLCs, small businesses, educational institutions and larger non-profits. You are already paying for technical services at generally $75/hour or more. I expect to be paid at my professional rate, which is still significantly below what most professionals charge per hour. The trigger for commercial work is generally when you require that I complete a Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and/or requiring invoicing for payment.
  • Hobbyist/small non-profit rate. You run a forum or website as a hobby or for a group of hobbyists and while you may make some income from it, it’s very minor. You pay for it out of your pocket or from occasional contributions from members, friends or Patreon donors. You may be technically a small non-profit, but no one is drawing a salary and probably not even a stipend. Pretty much everyone is a volunteer.

Is the quality of the service at your hobbyist/small non-profit rate as good as at the professional rate?

Absolutely. Everyone gets the same quality of service regardless of the rate I charge them.

Aside from the price I charge you, the only difference is that if I have a queue of work at the moment, those seeking my services at the professional rate get priority over those at the non-profit rate. Hope that’s clear. Generally, I don’t have a significant backlog, but sometimes it happens. Of course if you agree to pay me at the professional rate I can move you up in my job queue.

Conditions

While I will make backups of your database and forum files prior to starting work I cannot be responsible for ensuring that your forum and website will work as it did previously in the event of errors or problems. Consequently, you should make a complete website and database backup prior to my starting work. Your web host control panel often provides a simple means for creating a backup.

My Qualifications

  • Author of the phpBB Digest Modification and Extension (for phpBB 2: 2004, for phpBB 3: 2009)
  • Author of the phpBB Smartfeed Modification and Extension (for phpBB 2: 2006, for phpBB 3: 2009, for phpBB 3.1: 2016)
  • System administrator for The Potomac Tavern (the domain is closed, but the forum is now archived on this site) a phpBB forum (2002-2009)
  • Instructor in web page design, structured query language, computer fundamentals and other courses at Northern Virginia Community College
  • 30 years professional experience developing, maintaining and managing information systems. See my extensive résumé.
  • Having started this business in May 2006, as of 21 October 2017, I have served 326 distinct customers and handled 843 requests for service over more than ten years with an average of 2.5 jobs per customer.

Why should you choose me?

  • I have considerable experience and I am reliable and very professional.
  • I have extensive knowledge of the phpBB code base, the PHP programming language, relational databases in general and MySQL in particular.
  • Being semi-retired, I am usually available if quick turnaround is needed.
  • With my expert knowledge I work very quickly which generally means I can do your work at a modest price and rapidly.
  • I back up your files and your database before I modify them so I can go back to a previous version, if I need to.
  • I use professional tools that allow me to work on your site in a productive manner.

Competitors

There are other people offering similar services to mine. You may find a competitor to have cheaper, better or faster service. This is fine with me as I frequently have more work than I can handle. I am usually the logical choice if quality is your greatest concern.

Warranties

All my work comes with 30 days of support, which begins after I have finished your work. Please note though that:

  • This covers relevant work only. For example, if I install a digest modification and you have a problem that is unrelated to digests, I won’t fix that, but I will fix problems related to digests working on your particular forum at no extra charge within the 30 day window.
  • While I can install modifications and extensions written by others, I am not its  author. I will make reasonable attempts to investigate and solve problems, but I cannot guarantee that installing a particular mod will work in your particular environment. There is usually a topic on phpbb.com where you can seek support.
  • I do fully support modifications and extensions that I have written or customized work created specifically for your site. However the same 30 day limitation applies unless you have purchased maintenance services.

What I need from you

To accomplish work on your site I must have certain privileges. Admittedly it can be difficult to give so much control to someone who is essentially a stranger. You might want to read my blog, as once a month I summarize work done for clients (client names are not revealed). Also, please remember that I have no motive to abuse your site. Future business would quickly dry up if I did this! The privileges I need depend on the work you want done.

I have two useful forms that will securely transfer your sensitive data to me:

  • A service inquiry form can be used to tell me about what you want done and to get an estimate. The form is preferred because it asks questions I generally need answers to in order to provide an accurate estimate. You can also send me email.
  • A secure forum and server details form is used to transfer more sensitive data like passwords, control panel URLs and FTP information. Send me this form only after we have first agreed on the work that will be done and an estimate of the overall cost.

Updated June 15, 2018

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