Contract work for clients, done under your developer account

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Post: #1
Hi everyone,

I imagine some of the regulars here have done plenty of contract iOS work for clients that don't have developer accounts? I am getting close to wrapping up a job and I am about to let my client know their options for releasing into the App Store.

So my question is how much you can make an app look like it's coming from the client rather than me as an individual developer in the App Store? Obviously I can make the support website their site but can I show any name other than mine as the developer? Anything else I can do to make it look like their app?

I'll also let them know about signing up for the iOS developer program if they want complete ownership of the store page but I imagine they might want to avoid the ongoing cost, however small it is.

Thanks!
Monte
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Post: #2
We won't publish a clients app under our name. I think it's too much administration and busy work involved. Splitting payments is a pain, doing changes for them is a pain, and telling them sales info is a pain. Plus I suspect the client will want to adjust the price, change the wording, etc. I think you can set them up with accounts that have access, but I still have a feeling that extra work will end up coming your way. We like to have a handoff point when further work is out of our hands.

Yeah, the cost is so tiny compared to the cost of development, you should really push them to get their own account.

You can't change who's listed as the developer, although you can set things like the copyright string, (although I'm sure no one will care). Ultimately they'll need their own account if they want their name on it. (or you can make an account for them and charge for that too).

Howling Moon Software - CrayonBall for Mac and iPhone, Contract Game Dev Work
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Post: #3
Thanks for the advice Andy. The app is free because the legalities of selling would be a headache for them, but there's no guarantee that won't change in the future so you're right about that.
And yes, I hadn't thought about splitting up download stats for them from my own free apps. That would be a big pain.

I'll explain to them the benefits of signing up for their own developer account. Is the $99 account suitable for a company rather than just an individual? Is there anything other than the $99 iOS program any more? I couldn't find anything else on the sign up page.
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Post: #4
The $99 program is for individuals or companies. If you register as a company there's a bit more background checking/paperwork but it looks identical once you're registered. There's a more expensive "Enterprise" program but that's meant for large companies that want to distribute software amongst their employees and not on the App Store.

Details: http://developer.apple.com/programs/which-program/
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Post: #5
Thanks for the clarification Frank. Looks like I've got a long explanation email on how to sign up ahead of me!
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Another thought occurred to me.

I wonder if you'd be exposing yourself to any legal liabilities by being the one selling the software in their name? Could you become responsible for fraudulent actions taken by a client as they promote software under your name? I don't know!

If it's a pain to get the company to sign up as a company, have one of the employees sign up as an individual. It seems pretty common. (especially back in the day, when Apple took 4x as long to process company submissions)

Howling Moon Software - CrayonBall for Mac and iPhone, Contract Game Dev Work
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Post: #7
I would definitely have them distribute through their own account, if only for liability's sake, but also for the reasons Andy already mentioned.

(Jun 15, 2011 10:46 PM)Frank C. Wrote:  There's a more expensive "Enterprise" program but that's meant for large companies that want to distribute software amongst their employees and not on the App Store.

Extra FYI: Note that to sign up for the enterprise program you have to have a DUNS number, which essentially means you're a bonafide large company. If your company is large enough for sign up for enterprise, Apple will be contacting the controlling executive of the company by phone to make sure they understand what they're signing up for and that they will not be allowed to distribute through the App Store. Having messed with this a few weeks ago for a company I've been contracting with, I don't really see much, if any, advantage to the enterprise program except perhaps for very very large companies. You can distribute wirelessly yourself with the regular accounts using the latest iOS from what I've seen. Plus, the iPhone Configuration Utility appears to be available to everyone now too. Oh yeah, and the lawyers mentioned that there's some goofy stipulation about Apple reserving the right to use any of your app ideas if they want to.
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Post: #8
The only way I'd distribute a client's app myself is through a separate incorporated company (basically a publisher). And then only with some fairly strict lawyery paperwork in place. Might make sense if you have lots of clients, but probably not so much sense if you're just one guy making apps.
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Post: #9
The main thing I'm worried about is the whole sign up process putting a bad taste in their mouth because of the complexity - the people at the company that I deal with are marketing types and it's likely to scare them a bit. Wink
But it has to be done, as you guys point out - it's too risky unless I actually set myself up as a publisher.

That actually sounds like an interesting concept now though. This is my first job done as contract for a client that's not already releasing under their own developer program. But if someone does a lot of contracts like this they could charge an ongoing fee to pump out stats to the clients on a regular basis.

At this stage the legal stuff makes it not worth the effort though.
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(Jun 16, 2011 04:08 PM)monteboyd Wrote:  This is my first job done as contract for a client that's not already releasing under their own developer program.

Hey, congratulations on that! I dipped my toes into the client-just-wants-an-iOS-app contracting route about six months ago myself. It has been working out really well for me so far. It doesn't involve games, but I have been doing OpenGL graphics and CAD visualization so the skills are nearly identical, just different mission.

(Jun 16, 2011 04:08 PM)monteboyd Wrote:  The main thing I'm worried about is the whole sign up process putting a bad taste in their mouth because of the complexity - the people at the company that I deal with are marketing types and it's likely to scare them a bit. Wink

I can relate to that! What I did was take the time to write up a sort of walk-thru document with lots of screenshots and stuff of how they can go about setting up the account and building and distributing the app. I figure it's reusable, so it was worth the effort. I also offer them phone tech support for a year for builds and walking them through any steps which cause problems during distribution. Either that or I was going to have to put forth the effort to set up my own "publishing" system with legalities and all, which was likely to be much more complicated. They wanted to retain the IP too, so that made things extra tough if I published for them. The system of having them do it through their own account has worked out great so far. They also seem to better grasp the technical difficulties of producing the product, which helps them appreciate the value of what they paid for.
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(Jun 16, 2011 04:08 PM)monteboyd Wrote:  The main thing I'm worried about is the whole sign up process putting a bad taste in their mouth because of the complexity - the people at the company that I deal with are marketing types and it's likely to scare them a bit. Wink

There's nothing stopping them from hiring you to set all that up in their name Wink Or at the very least they can add you as a user after the fact so you can handle the technical details of releases/updates.
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Post: #12
That's what I do, but I don't charge extra for any "administration". I coach them on how to do builds themselves so that if I am unavailable they can handle it on their own.
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(Jun 16, 2011 08:28 PM)AnotherJake Wrote:  Hey, congratulations on that! I dipped my toes into the client-just-wants-an-iOS-app contracting route about six months ago myself. It has been working out really well for me so far. It doesn't involve games, but I have been doing OpenGL graphics and CAD visualization so the skills are nearly identical, just different mission.

Thanks! Smile
The job actually came through a friend recommending me, but I still had to pitch against two other companies that do iOS work so I was pretty happy to land it.
It is game work, but not the most exciting genre as it's a trivia game. But the fun part about it has been creating the two-player over wifi.

(Jun 16, 2011 08:28 PM)AnotherJake Wrote:  I can relate to that! What I did was take the time to write up a sort of walk-thru document with lots of screenshots and stuff of how they can go about setting up the account and building and distributing the app. I figure it's reusable, so it was worth the effort. I also offer them phone tech support for a year for builds and walking them through any steps which cause problems during distribution. Either that or I was going to have to put forth the effort to set up my own "publishing" system with legalities and all, which was likely to be much more complicated. They wanted to retain the IP too, so that made things extra tough if I published for them. The system of having them do it through their own account has worked out great so far. They also seem to better grasp the technical difficulties of producing the product, which helps them appreciate the value of what they paid for.

That walk-thru sounds awesome! I need to do something similar but don't have much time for it at the moment. With a four month old in the house and a full time day job as well I'm hard pressed enough just getting the app itself done. Smile
But I'm enjoying working on it still.

@Frank - yeah I'll probably go down that route with getting them to give me a log in. I'll just throw that in to this project for no extra cost as I know they've already reached their budget limit for the app itself but it's definitely something to consider putting in as an optional extra for future jobs.

I've now emailed them about it and they are happy to have their own account.

I'll let you guys know once it is actually released and I can say what it is!
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Post: #14
if you create a dev account and manage it for the client, you could end up charging for "maintenance" services too!

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I experiment with game analytics. Read about it here
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