The 4 Must-Haves for any Freelance Design Contract

As a freelancer, we understand that you wear a lot of hats. From the actual job, the follow-thru on payment, handling taxes; it’s easy to get caught up in feeling overwhelmed. It’s for this exact reason that having a clearly defined contract is so important. As a designer, this may feel like you’re working with the wrong side of your brain.

Simple steps to a better design contract – Quiktract App For Creatives

Luckily, we are here to help demystify some of these things and make sure you know the absolute “must-haves” any agreement you draft up should include.

1. Outline The Process 

When working with a client it can be easy to gloss over the “How” and only focus on the “What.” Meaning, often times you will come to an agreement on what the finished product should be and not necessarily the steps you need to take to get there.

In any agreement make sure you outline the key benchmarks and feedback methods you’d like to set up in order to stay on track.

2. Get Clear On Payment

In any business deal knowing your worth is key. The same should ring true when drafting your contract. The murkier the payment specifics the easier it is to not get paid, simple as that. By creating exact payment dates, whether that be something arbitrary or at the completion of the job, you can remain on top of getting your money.

Another beneficial thing to do is ask for an upfront deposit. Prepayment is helpful when working with a new client. It allows both parties to stay focused and helps instill trust early on.

3. Know Your Rights

In another blog post I talked about being wary of the “Work For Hire” agreement. Now, contracts like this in the design space are a little more common than in music; but that doesn’t mean that that always has to be the case. A “Work For Hire” agreement gives your client 100% right to do whatever they wish with your finished product.

If you feel like the price you’re agreeing to isn’t fair, then there is nothing wrong with charging more. Clearly understanding your usage rights is critical to any contract you sign.

Here’s a video of one of our community member’s telling the story of how a design she got paid $40 for ended up on Kendall Jenner.

4. Revisions. Revisions. Revisions

The job isn’t done until it’s done. That may sound repetitive, but that is just a fact of doing business. It is important not only to meet your deadline but to also maintain a healthy working relationship with your client. Many times I’ve been on the wrong end of an agreement where I found myself making the 8th tweak to a logo with my only design notes being, “Can you make this pop more?”

Design Revisions – Quiktract App For Creatives

It’s important to avoid that at all cost. The best thing to do is to clearly outline the number of acceptable revisions on any job. This client may not know how much work goes into something, and that’s perfectly okay – it’s why they called you.

By outlining that your willing to do 3 revisions max, it allows your client to be more careful and precise with the changes that they might ask to make.

Have any other contract “must-haves” as a designer? Feel free to let us know and be sure to download Quiktract, the easiest way to draft up your next design agreement!

Cole Midkiff

Founder

5 Tips For More Effective Networking For Freelancers; How To Get More Freelance Clients

Networking is an interesting exercise. As freelancer trying to shake the right hands or leverage an existing relationship, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of putting yourself out there. However, one conversation or connection can put you on path to achieving all of your business dreams.

Some of us thrive off of meeting new people, and some are a little less thrilled by the idea. Whichever boat you are in, there are tactics and strategies you can utilize to help you not just exchange business cards but forge long-term, strategic and meaningful relationships.

Tips on preparing for your next freelance networking event– Quiktract App

As a freelancer, networking is your meal ticket. You need to be starting conversations with new clients, as well as nurturing connections for continuous work.

Below are 5 tips for more effective networking for freelancers.

1. Get in the Right Mindset.

We all want to connect.

No matter your hustle, we’re all just people at the end of the day. It’s really as simple as that. People want to connect, they may not always know how or where, but when they find someone and forge a bound – it means something.

Remembering this before you go to a mixer or out to a bar is the first step to creating a memorable moment.

Tips on preparing for your next freelance networking event– Quiktract App

Set yourself apart by saying, “I am going to meet some very cool and interesting people” and not “I am going to find my next 10 clients”.

Want to find networking events in your area, but not sure where to start? Check out Search Engine Journal’s 13 Awesome Professional Networking Alternatives to LinkedIn for some useful platforms to help you find relevant networking events near you and get more freelance clients.

2. Have Your _____ Together.

As a freelancer, you run your whole operation.

This means your presentation falls 100% squarely on your shoulders. Be sure your website, portfolio, and even your Instagram are up-to-date and showcase your work in the best possible light.

Making the connection is one thing, but the gig usually isn’t yours until the client has done a little bit of homework on you.

3. Add Value.

It can be a dog-eat-dog world for a freelancer.

It is very easy to get consumed in only thinking about yourself and the bottom line. It’s important (and healthy) to take time to see how you can help others on their journey. It doesn’t have to be working for free or anything like that, it could be something as simple as offering insight or playing matchmaker with a potential client and someone you may know with a particular skill set.

Take some time to take the blinders off and help others succeed! Doing so without asking for anything in return isn’t only a kind thing to do, it can help strengthen your relationships down the line.

4. Get Social.

How to connect with more freelance clients – Quiktract App

It’s 2019, people hardly leave their house as it is! Platforms like Instagram are a fantastic place to showcase your skills and network with other like-minded individuals.

Take some time to discover who are the interesting and most helpful voices in your field and connect. It is also the most direct route from A-to-B when it comes to sharing relevant information and articles that may help others.

For some more tips on how to network your freelance business on Instagram, check out How To Network On Instagram Direct Message by Gary Vaynerchuk.

5. Ask For Help.

Truth be told, this is a huge one for me. Some of my most important connections came from me simply asking for help from someone I respect.

Now, by asking for help that doesn’t mean “Excuse me, can you stop everything and mentor me please?!” No, it means something else entirely.

A sure fire way to set yourself apart from most of your contemporaries is actually by not thinking you have it all figured out.

“Hey, what do you look for in a designer?”

“What are some books on finance you could recommend?”

Simply put, find individuals you would like to work with and ask them for help. You will be surprised how willing most people are to shell out advice on a topic instead of listen to your elevator pitch.

Tips to crushing your next networking event – Quiktract App

Doing this breathes a sigh of humility and allows someone to have a more honest dialogue.

What are some other helpful networking tips you’ve received? Reach out and let us know!

To learn more about networking for your freelance business, read our relationship expert, Blake Stanton’s advice on building business relationships.

Cole Midkiff

Founder

Building Business Relationships – Blake Stanton The Relationship Guy

Maybe you are a college student selling old sneakers to make a few bucks? Maybe you are an aspiring entrepreneur who is tired of doing everything by the shake of  the hand? Or maybe you need a dog walker and want to make sure all of your dog’s specific needs are met and understood?

Do any of these sound like you? I, at one point or another in my life, have personally been in all three of these situations.

Hi! My name is Blake Stanton I am a 27 years old African American male, born and raised in Southern California where I grew up playing basketball and football.

Growing up in the city you gravitate towards three things: music, sports or the streets. Luckily for me, my infatuation with sports came at an early age. I looked up to many athletes and aspired to be like them one day. Sports not only played a large role in my life, but also the community.

Building Professional Relationships In High School - Quiktract

Over the years I worked effortlessly to become a decent athlete which led to my acceptance to Crespi High School. The thought of attending an all-boys school at the age of 14 was horrifying, but no amount of persuasion would change my mother’s mind about enrolling me.

Although I had my initial reservations, today I can proudly say, “Thank you. Mom, I cannot thank you enough for pushing me to be a Carmelite.” Being a small school (500 students) AND an all-boys school, I built genuine, lasting relationships with some amazing people. Most of the relationships I have today correlate directly back to Crespi, including the one I have with Cole Midkiff (founder of Quiktract).

Building Professional Relationships In College - Quiktract

From Crespi I had the privilege of attending the University of Oregon where I played four years of Collegiate Football, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Crime, Law and Society as the first in my immediate family to graduate from college.

Although my experience at Oregon encompassed some of the best years of my life, my freshmen year at Oregon was extremely tough. It was my first time being away from home, the weather wasn’t always great, and the town was small.

I was depressed, lonely and questioning everything in my life. Was a degree important? Did I even want to play football? I knew fundamentally that the answers were yes, but was losing sight of this.

I realized that enough was enough and decided to make an effort to put myself out there and meet others. I put on my “life of the party cap” and found myself building even more long lasting relationships, just as I had at Crespi.

The Art Of Building Professional Business Relationships Early In Life - Quiktract

I learned to love the positive experiences I was having at the University, and to better myself with the negative ones. Though I did not get the playing time I thought I deserved, I didn’t let that define me. Daily, I continued to smile and give it all I had. I knew at this point that being at the University of Oregon was so much bigger than being a football star (the more than an athlete mindset). It was about the relationships I was building and people I was meeting along the way!

When the dream of being in the NFL subsided, my passion for sports did not. Through a relationship I built at the University of Oregon I received a post-graduation internship in a Sports Agency. Being a young, black athlete I found it easy to relate and build trust with other athletes. Of course, being on the representation side is much different than being on the athlete side, but I found it extremely fun and rewarding!

Working closely with athletes, brands and marketing tactics over the last five years, I have seen a lot of success and even some failure, leaving me with countless lessons learned. I personally pride myself on being a leader, following the rules, while still be fair. I’ve quickly noticed from being in the industry that a lot of people have different motives and operate solely for their gains, which is not my approach!

The Importance Of Building Professional Relationships - Quiktract

Cole and I played football together when we attended Crespi – Go Celts! We were always more than classmates, we were teammates. We created a brotherhood that I knew was going to last a lifetime.

Almost eight years to the date after our High School graduation, Cole and I reconnected over our favorite pastime, Hookah. Cole spilled what he had been working on, and I was immediately drawn towards it!

Quiktract was exactly what I was looking for when I was selling those sneakers in college. It was exactly what I was looking for during my entrepreneurial stouts that were all based off of trust that the other would do the right thing. And it was exactly what I was looking for when I needed a dog walker for our new mascot Ryder the Bulldog!

Not only have I first hand experienced the need of Quiktract, but I have also seen those closest to me looking for this very solution, my mother included who constantly worked side jobs to make ends meet for myself and my siblings and prayed that the she was going to get paid for doing the jobs!

As I started to tell people about my excitement and love for this new app, Quiktract, it was quickly identified by others as another “tech thing”. Soon I was being asked if I was a “tech guy now”.

While, yes, it is an app and, yes, technology goes into it, it is so much bigger than just being another “tech thing”. Quiktract is a platform to help solve everyday problems, to help hold others accountable and to build stronger relationships instead of breaking them when a hand-shake doesn’t work!

The Importance Of Relationship Management For Business Success - Quiktract

And I am not a “tech guy”, I am a firm believer in living by the books and building relationships to gain success!

We hope to change the way we conduct business one message at a time, as we are real people, just like you, looking for solutions to gain control over what we can!

Cheers,

Blake Stanton

“The Relationship Guy”

Why Freelancers Fail; What Freelancing Is Really Like

I started Quiktract the day I saw a friend of mine get screwed out of $800. This was by no means the first time any fellow freelancer I’ve known has gotten ripped off, but for some reason this time it stung.

It felt permanent, it felt heavy, and must of all – it felt avoidable. As I sat there in his Toyota Matrix I knew this was a problem that could truly be fixed. The only question was, how?

My name is Cole and I’ve worn my fair share of hats over the years. Whether it was designing clothes or writing songs, I’ve always found my place nestled somewhere inside of the creative process. I’ve created things that I am tremendously proud of and equally also created things that make me thankful that there’s such thing as a “delete” button.

Why Freelancers Fail - What Freelancing Is Really Like – Quiktract Blog

Like a lot of creatives in the freelancer industry, I’ve learned pretty much everything I know through a healthy amount of “trial-and-error” and YouTube tutorials. Well everything, except how to run a business.

The mindset of most freelancers (myself included) was always very interesting to me.

How was it that all of us decided to go at it alone, trudging through the maze of the business world, and yet hardly treated ourselves like the businesses we were?

We would find ourselves staring down the barrel of a 6th logo revision questioning why a weekend job has dragged on for a month; only to then wait weeks longer for payment that would then take 2 more weeks to clear.

Why Freelancers Fail – Agreements and Legal Documents - Quiktract

The truth is, we have nobody to blame but ourselves. One of my favorite sayings ever goes like this, “what you tolerate, you encourage” and that just about sums up the woes of freelance life for me.

The even crazier part was how we would orchestrate these deals in the first place. Never mind tolerating the utterly ambiguous deadlines, the hazy payment dates, and the terms that would magically change. How could we ever expect this to work out?

What’s worse was sometimes deals like this would go off without a hitch, essentially just reinforcing this system. Stringing together two weeks’ worth of text messages to clarify things we could’ve made clear with a simple agreement if we both stopped being “cool” about it.

How Freelancers Make Agreements - Quiktract

It was that idea of being “cool about it” that interested me the most during the conceptualization of Quiktract. As silly as it may seem, in the freelance creative world, most contracts have a stigma attached to them. They feel harsh, final, and reek of corporate America (I know right)!

It’s why Quiktract is all about removing that heavy-handed feeling. It’s never been solely about streamlining a process, but rather encouraging clarity.

This is what we strive for at Quiktract.

How To Layout Terms For Freelance Work - Quiktract

I want to live in a world where we all feel comfortable laying out the specifics of a job and know that we’re on the same page. I want to live in a world where if plans change we don’t send ourselves down a text conversation rabbit hole fishing for answers.

I’m excited for a future that looks like that, and I think we just might be on our way!

Cole Midkiff
Quiktract Founder

Quiktract Releases First Contract & Payment App Targeting Cash, Check and Verbal Agreements

The Quiktract app allows service providers and buyers to avoid long-form contracts and inconvenient payment methods

Springboro, OH, March 13, 2019 Quiktract Inc. today announces the release of the company’s mobile application on both the AppStore and Google Play. The Quiktract app provides individual service providers and buyers alike with the ability to get legally binding contracts in writing via their phone, as well as facilitate payments at the end of the job without having to navigate long-form contracts or deal with only cash or check as payment methods.

With an estimated 191 million Americans either buying from or providing services to another individual annually, the person-to-person “gig” economy has never been stronger. From traditional freelance and design work, to landscaping and lawn care, fitness instruction, babysitting, coaching, pet sitting and more, Americans are increasingly dealing directly with each other for their individual service needs.

Despite the strength of the person-to-person service sector, most buyers and providers don’t get the terms of their service arrangement in writing. Quiktract offers buyers and providers “quick contracts” on a mobile platform that gets agreements in writing, amends them in real time as terms change, and facilitates payment at the end of the job. Protection and accountability are delivered to all parties via a process that takes less than 60 seconds and delivers a documented agreement on every job.

“Three quarters of Americans are part of the gig economy whether they consciously realize it or not. Consistently, more and more individuals are working with another individual to meet their service needs,” says Lee Midkiff, Quiktract CEO.

“Despite these trends, individuals aren’t getting the details in writing – even if just on the back of the proverbial napkin. Quiktract makes it easy to get it in writing with simple-to-use, convenient technology.”

The Quiktract app currently includes 14 templates that form the basis of a Quiktract agreement. Quiktract templates available immediately span the entire service sector and include areas like lawn care, digital design and software, pet care, babysitting, handiwork, coaching, tutoring and more. Each Quiktract may be amended in real-time and amendments must be agreed to by both parties in the event scope or job details change during the contracted work.

Furthermore, embedded messaging between the parties not only streamlines communication but results in the automatic creation of service exhibits appended to every Quiktract.  Payments are likewise logged within each Quiktract and users are provided with the ability to pay or get paid electronically via the company’s QT Pay platform.

About Quiktract

Quiktract Inc. is the first person-to-person contract platform with integrated payments designed specifically for individual service providers, buyers and the general “gig” economy. Via either the Quiktract iOS or Android application individuals are able to create and execute legally binding contracts in less than 60 seconds. Quiktract’s integrated payment functions further allow individuals to quickly send and receive payments electronically directly via the application. Headquartered in Springboro, OH, the company also maintains marketing and development teams in Los Angeles, CA, Minsk, Belarus and Bhavnagar, India.

Quiktract Media Contact:

Lee Midkiff

lmidkiff@quiktract.com

 

CONTACT

Name: Sjoerd Martens

Phone: 1-646-480-0356

Email: sjoerd@publicize.co

 

Quiktract Honored to Exhibit at Startup Grind Global Conference

The Quiktract team is extremely honored to have been selected to exhibit at next week’s Startup Grind Global Conference.  Possibly more so than any other conference, Startup Grind’s Global Conference highlights all sides of the start-up universe in a way that is hard to articulate to those not having traveled the start-up path before. Quite frankly, the name says it all. Startup life is a grind and no matter their success, entrepreneurs understand it is in fact a grind; albeit an exciting one.

With over 8,000 attendees, 212 start-ups from 34 countries exhibiting, and speakers representing those that have reached the pinnacle of start-up success, the conference offers something for everyone. This all comes together within the common theme of building a stronger start-up community. Most founders and start-up teams have all experienced the same challenges at one point or another. A conference that brings together individuals from all stages of the start-up community presents a phenomenal opportunity to learn, make connections, and possibly see what the next best things coming to the market are.

Having been selected to exhibit from thousands of applications is a great testament to our team and the vision they have crafted for Quiktract and Quiktract users. The conference will provide the team with a phenomenal opportunity to network, make some friends and hopefully educate a lot of individuals on the Quiktract App. With 8 out of 10 Americans buying or providing personal service annually, having the opportunity to demo our product, its value and build some excitement to such a large group of potential users is a great way to kick-off Quiktract coming to market.

If you happen to be going to the conference, or are in the Bay Area and consider attending, I’d encourage you to do so. I’d also encourage you to stop by our booth while you are there. The Quiktract team will be represented by members of our management and technical teams throughout the conference and relish having the opportunity to talk about Quiktract and the platform we’ve created.

For more information on Start-up Grind’s Global Conference, feel free to visit https://www.startupgrind.com.

Lee Midkiff, CEO

Wedding Day: not quite a disaster, but…

I was telling a friend of mine about Quiktract and she said she could have used it for her wedding — in a big way!  She had a magical day, but definitely not all that was planned (or paid for). The weather, she said, was beautiful and the venue was gorgeous.  But the flowers were nowhere to be seen! They finally arrived about 30 minutes before the ceremony was scheduled to start. Apparently, the florist lost track of when and where they were supposed to go.  Nothing like a little stress to get everything underway.

The ceremony was perfect.  The reception was set to be a garden party.  And that was somewhere else Quiktract could have helped.  First, the venue that had previously okayed all the games on the lawn verbally said that they had to be moved to an out of the way location on the property.  She had no recourse but to have the wedding coordinator set up what she could. Few of the guests made it over to the more out of the way area. With a Quiktract, she’d have had it in writing…and had the games set up where she wanted them (and to which the venue had originally agreed).

Next, the bartenders did not have the instructions she had talked over with their manager on the “champagne buffet” — they ended up providing their own best guesses to guests which caused a lot of bad mixes with resulting fizz overflows.  It ended up being a bit of a colorful mess. A Quiktract would have captured everything and ensured that it got passed along to the bartenders.

The food was great (who wouldn’t want a “bacon bar”?), but almost didn’t make it!  There was a shakeup at the caterers with the person she had worked with leaving and taking all his files with him.  Luckily, she and the caterer were able to piece together the menu, but literally only a day or two before the wedding.  That was cutting it very close and added another stressor.

Also, the cake was two tiers smaller than expected and looked nothing like — you guessed it — the verbal discussions she had with the bakery.

After the reception, the wedding coordinator was working through the cleanup the venue required when my friend noticed that she seemed to be getting overheated (it was a very warm day).  She and her husband and family ended up helping the wedding coordinator (since the wedding coordinator’s assistant had failed to show). The wedding coordinator was thankful, but there were no changes to the terms of the agreement my friend had signed before the wedding.  I thought the coordinator should have offered a reduced fee. My friend thought she might have, but since nobody had a copy of the paper agreement it all kind of got lost in the shuffle.

The last thing on her wedding day was the limo, or really the lack of a limo!  My friend and her new husband were waiting for the limo (which had been scheduled for after everyone had left), and waiting, and waiting.  When they finally reached the limo owner, he claimed to have no record of the engagement (there was an e-mail trail, so my friend was not imagining things).  My friend ended up calling her parents (who had returned to their hotel), who gave her (in her wedding dress no less) and her husband a ride to their house where they retrieved his car.  She said that her husband said he felt like he was back in high school being chaperoned to the prom by his date’s parents.

The fun wasn’t done with the wedding day.  When she got the photos from the photographer, many of the shots they had discussed were not among the pictures.  When she asked the photographer it was clear that they had different perspectives on what was discussed. What my friend thought of as “requirements” were just “suggestions” as far as the creative (but less than thorough) photographer thought.  Clearly, it would have helped to spell out what shots had to be included.

I wish Quiktract had been available for my friend (and so did she!).  All her problems could have been eliminated or greatly reduced if she had had a simple, quick way to get all the agreements in writing in an easy to change form.  (And all the payments could have been handled without her husband having to go through the ceremony with checks and a big wad of cash in his tux!)

By | 2018-12-17T02:08:00+00:00 December 17th, 2018|Management Thoughts|0 Comments

What could make a great landscaping job better?

I’m in the process of selling my house and the landscaping needed a quick refresh before putting it on the market — curb appeal is no joke! I contacted a small, local landscaping company run by a young couple just starting the business. They did a great job and even had a handwritten document to show the scope and cost of the job.

So, what could have made the experience better for me and for them?

First, while I was impressed with the handwritten, itemized breakdown of costs (on their letterhead no less), it was handwritten and a little less “professional” looking than some of the bigger lawn care companies. (Although more professional than the off the cuff single over numbers I’d gotten from other small outfits.) They also sat in my driveway to put the estimate together and then came back to the door to deliver it. What if they could have sent me an electronic agreement with the itemized list of costs, start date, etc.? Yeah, that would have been better.

Second, we added a couple of things to the list of things for them to do. We did it verbally and in passing — “Want me to take these small trees down while I’m here?” “Sure.” “How about $50?” “Sounds good!” — but what if my expectation was to take the couple of small trees down for $50 total and his was $50 per tree? Again, a quick electronic exchange with terms that captures both parties agreement would be much, much less likely to result in a misunderstanding. That would have been better, too.

Third, the starting date was flexible and got moved because of weather, scheduling and mulch availability (more on that in a second), but I did have showings scheduled and an open house. It would have been better for both of us to have captured the various communications on the date moves into the overall agreement. Everything worked out timing wise, but I could easily have seen that causing an issue. The flexibility they needed and the timing I required could have been addressed in the agreement beforehand (when there is less emotion). If their original agreement had included some simple verbiage around timing — “landscaping is an outdoor activity and scheduling is therefore subject to change” — and been pointed that out to me, that would lessen the chance for disagreement. Better.

Fourth, they agreed to purchase the mulch for me at a set price. It’s late in the season, so their normal source was out of mulch. Their secondary source cost more. While they were able to negotiate a better price, they would have been better protected if the agreement addressed sourcing. I would have been ok with a clause like that during estimating. I would not have been so happy to hear that I needed to pay more for mulch after the fact — it would have felt like a ripoff. Again, better to have thought it out up front and gotten it in writing (templates are great for ensuring that these kinds of items get addressed).

Finally, payment became kind of a hassle in that I had to write a couple of checks. The first one covered one set of work and the second for the completion. The second one in particular caused them to have to come back to my house to get it since I had been away (remember the scheduling changes?). If they had been able to accept an electronic payment from me, that would have saved them a trip to my house and then a trip to the bank. Knowing their busy schedules (and assuming the cash flow needs of any small business), I’m betting they would have loved to simply get the money in their account automatically. So…better, too.

So there are five ways that by all measures was a successful conclusion to an agreement could have been better: a more professional look, a living document with modifications and agreements captured, inevitable schedule changes addressed early, possible term changes addressed beforehand through templates and electronic payments.

Brian Montgomery, Marketing

By | 2018-12-06T20:42:12+00:00 December 6th, 2018|Management Thoughts|0 Comments

From L.A. to Ohio to the”Silicon Valley” – of Eastern Europe

Quiktract is quickly approaching its formal release and work towards bringing simple agreements and payments to solopreneurs and buyers nationwide is proceeding in 24X7 fashion.  While 24×7 can often be viewed as an embellishment, at Quiktract it is the nature of our work and in fact is how our days proceed.

From Los Angeles to Belarus.

Like a lot of start-ups today Quiktract currently maintains teams in multiple locations. With management and technical staff headquartered in Southern Ohio, the company also maintains marketing staff in Los Angeles. Adding to the geographic diversity of the company, an additional team of individuals working on mobile development is based in Minsk, Belarus. These three locations span 11 time zones and create a true 24 hour work cycle for the company and its management.

A visit with the team in Minsk.

While few Americans know much about Belarus, it has become a technology leader in Eastern Europe with many products having emerged from the country that are now used globally by billions of users.  With an advancing IT Park where over 30,000 individuals specialize in software development, and a culture whereby half of grade school children long to be programmers, Belarus is quickly solidifying itself as a great location to innovate and develop software.

Recently I had the opportunity to spend over a week in Minsk with the team working on portions of the Quiktract mobile app. Admittedly, I can’t say that Belarus was much of a known entity to me prior to joining the Quiktract team. That said, I was excited to not only spend some office time with our developers but also learn about this former Soviet republic that few Americans know much about, and even fewer visit. The Minsk team has been phenomenal to deal with to-date and while daily video conferences do bring some personal elements to collaborative work, getting face-to-face with everyone was something I couldn’t wait to do so it was off to Minsk I went.

Arriving in Minsk, the first thing one notices about the city is that the majority of its architecture makes you feel as though you are looking back in time to the decades before the collapse of the Soviet Union. With over 80% of the town destroyed during WWII the vast majority of the city was in fact re-built in the post-wars years in what could be called typical Stalinist style. Large, square, concrete block buildings and wide multi-lane boulevards are the dominant style throughout town and this is noticeable the moment you make your way in from the airport. Modern buildings are obviously popping up throughout the city but a big portion of the city maintains that 1960’s Stalinist feel. To a history buff like myself this in itself made Minsk incredibly intriguing.

Probably most noticeable to an American visiting Minsk for the first time is also the limited use of English throughout the city. With limited Russian speaking skills and virtually no ability to read the language it makes the visit both challenging and more interesting at the same time. That said, with the iTranslate App in hand, a good GPS on the phone, and an adventurous spirit, Minsk is surprisingly a phenomenal place to  explore when not working. The subway system is straight-forward, inexpensive and ridiculously clean so through a combination of public transportation and comfortable tennis shoes I was able to take in a large part of the city in between meetings and visits with the team.

In regards to working while in Minsk, fortunately for both Quiktract and me, the local development team does speak English and their methodologies and approaches are very much in line with what I am used to. Agile, daily-stand-ups, retrospectives and rapid development are a common language that seems to cross cultural boundaries. In-office Foosball, fitness equipment and lots of Star Wars gear is also something that most American tech people can relate to and elements that make an office visit in Minsk feel not too far from Springboro, Ohio.   Needless to say, my visit with the team seemed like “home” and was 180 degrees from some of the differences one feels as an American exploring Minsk.

Being onsite for both the completion of a current sprint, app demo and forecasting for the next development sprint was a great experience to not only see the team in action but also spend time with individuals I had only previously gotten to know by way of Zoom, Slack and other communication methods we use across locations. Add in a traditional Belarus dinner (inclusive of the most impressive shot tray I’ve ever seen) and I can say it was a phenomenal experience both on a product development and personal level. We’ve brought good people to the team in a relatively short period of time and without a doubt those working on a little app known as Quiktract in Belarus are at the forefront of our crew. Geographical and cultural boundaries aside, we are all on the same page of bringing a great app and great solution to the marketplace.

After 7 days in Minsk I was actually sad to leave. Meeting the team in person and getting to understand their day outside the context of a Zoom meeting was a phenomenal experience. Getting to experience a city that’s evolving from its pre-Soviet collapse roots into the Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe was as equally exciting. I’m already looking forward to the next scheduled visit which will come in the month ahead.

Minsk in Pictures.

 

Lee Midkiff, CEO

 

By | 2018-11-27T12:52:33+00:00 November 27th, 2018|Lee Midkiff, Management Thoughts, Quiktract Inc.|0 Comments

A Newcomer’s Point of View

I just joined the Quiktract effort a few weeks ago. When I heard the premise for Quiktract, I just assumed there were a bunch of apps already handling personal agreements and that we must have some angle or “secret sauce” that would be an advantage. Turns out, there really isn’t another app or platform out there dealing with creating simple yet binding agreements between buyers and service providers. Turns out a lot of the time these “agreements” are made verbally or at best over email or text. And there certainly isn’t an agreement app with payment capability built in. I was pretty amazed.

The fact that there really aren’t any direct competitors isn’t to say that the Quiktract development team hasn’t created an incredible app — they have. But more importantly, they’ve made reaching a binding agreement approachable for small businesses and single owners as well as everyday buyers like you and me (and pretty much all of those small business owners and single proprietors are also buyers in other relationships). They’ve made it simple and easy, yet flexible enough to handle everything from lawn care and landscaping to personal fitness to freelance work to graphic design to babysitting.

They also know that agreements are living things, so the app tracks communications about changes and supports modifications of the agreement including signoff by both parties. I know I’ve personally been in multiple situations where I thought I clearly understood what we just agreed to change about an agreement only to find out that the other party also clearly understood…and ultimately, we were each clearly wrong since we thought two different things.

It’s also nice to be able to make and receive payments through the app. It beats going to the bank for cash or dealing with writing/cashing checks. That also brings a certain peace of mind to the buyer and a lot of convenience for the provider.

If the Quiktract team did have competing apps out there, they would have still had a “secret sauce” of sorts in the form of the attorney network they’ve created for those times when one of the parties breaches the agreement. While both parties would hope to never have to use this “feature,” it certain helps each sleep at night knowing that if worse came to worst there are local attorneys ready and available to help resolve the situation.

It’s been great to be part of the team and it feels even better to know that we’re bringing to market a tool as useful as Quiktract to small businesses, single proprietors and the buying public.

Brian Montgomery, Marketing

By | 2018-11-20T02:26:46+00:00 November 9th, 2018|Management Thoughts, Quiktract Inc.|0 Comments