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Customer Story: Xhatch

Making client ideas a reality.

Making client ideas a reality - Xhatch

More than a collective, but not quite an agency, Xhatch is a full service iOS development shop specializing in helping others build and ship products. Many of these people have an idea, but don't have the skills to build it out. David Hoang and Adam McDonald formed Xhatch to help people they believe in realize their ideas with collaborative work. Recent projects include Shelby's Quest (an iPad game for kids with autism to practice their fine motor skills), Top of the Rock (augmented reality app pinpointing NYC landmarks), and Carogram (an iPad app with enhanced navigation for Instagram).

Starting their business with Harvest, from day one.

Combining Adam’s Computer Science degree with David’s Fine Arts degree in Painting and Drawing, the two joined forces 3 years ago as Xhatch. They determined that not only was there strength in numbers, but that they could solve problems more holistically with the talents of both a developer and a designer. Along the way of building the company, they narrowed Xhatch's focus to iOS only because it makes development and managing the team easier.

Having both used Harvest for personal freelance jobs, Adam and David were familiar with how Harvest worked. “A lot of people really recommended Harvest. We really liked the things that it provided, and we weren't looking for just an invoicing app, or just something to do bookkeeping. We were looking for a tool that would help us make decisions, based on reports that show us the time we have spent improving the company, and where our effort is being allocated. Harvest does just that, so that we can focus on doing our work.” Adds Adam, “ We implemented Harvest when we had zero clients, to be honest with you. We just knew right away that this was something that we needed.”

We were looking for a tool that would help us make decisions, based on reports that show us the time we have spent improving the company, and where our effort is being allocated.

Getting paid faster online.

David explains, “Getting started was pretty intuitive and simple. As soon as I logged in, I knew exactly what to do. It was easy to see we needed to set up our clients, our projects, the rates, and then start tracking time.” Adds Adam, “We were able to streamline what tasks would be used for projects, and who was on each project. It was just right there, and so accessible.”

Things got even easier, David says, when they enabled the Harvest PayPal integration. “Once we integrated with PayPal, things got so much easier. We got paid, and we didn't even have to deal with it! All we had to do was transfer money over. The notifications and the client follow ups were all taken care of by Harvest.” Adam interjects, “Clients were more likely to pay quickly, just based on the ease of payment, and the communication.” David clarifies further, “The fact that you can just follow up with clients [with the automated reminders] is more of an incentive for them to pay us, as opposed to just emailing a PDF invoice. Payment gets fulfilled much quicker with this system we have set up with Harvest.”

Clients were more likely to pay quickly, just based on the ease of payment, and the communication.

Reporting that informs business decisions.

As the lead developer, Adam handles a lot of project management. When new clients approach Xhatch and want an estimate for how much a project will cost, he handles spec'ing out a reasonable scope and time/cost estimate. “Being able to look back at previous projects and to see how long other similar tasks took is extremely helpful. It helps us provide an accurate estimate to new clients for new projects.”

Being able to look back at previous projects and to see how long other similar tasks took is extremely helpful. It helps us provide an accurate estimate to new clients for new projects.

David uses the reporting to stay in the loop on where the team’s time is going. “I like being able to track reports of people’s time. I like that I can look at what Adam, Jake, and Jason are doing, to see what they've been working on, and to determine if that's been the best use of their time. I joke that I micromanage, but I do it passively, so I'm not asking people what they're doing, I can just see it in the reports. Adam and I can make decisions based on things we already know without having to ask the rest of the team, because we already know what the others are up to. I think Adam uses the reports a lot for the immediate and I use it a lot for the future. For example, after we looked at how much effort it took to produce web apps versus iOS apps, these time reports were one of the reasons we made the business decision to switch to just iOS. Its actually helped us make a lot of company decisions based on how our time's being used.”

Building client trust with transparency.

About 95% of Xhatch’s projects are billed hourly. When they generate an invoice from Harvest based on hours worked, they can make the bills very transparent and clear, by including a breakdown of all the hours. Says Adam, “Different clients want different invoice styles, and we like how Harvest lets you pick and choose how you want the information displayed.”

David builds upon this idea, “We track our time as we work, and I feel it actually instills a lot of client trust in us. They see an invoice of "X" amount of dollars and “Y” hours, it's very accurate, in terms of what they're being billed for as opposed to if we were tracking our time manually. It verifies their trust in us too, the fact that we're using a time tracking tool, that's objective. I don't think anyone has ever questioned our invoices, to be honest with you, but, we’re glad to provide the transparency that all the data's there for them to see.”

Harvest keeps Xhatch on top of their time (and their invoices), so that Adam, David, and the rest of their team can spend their time building out the next generation of iOS apps.