What was the scope of their involvement?
Tepia Co did design work for us. I’ve been doing job enterprise and programming for many years so I’m pretty adept and knowledgeable in at least some of the backend processes of Java Enterprise but I am not experienced in website frontend. I knew what I wanted: a Joomla or WordPress site that wouldn’t require a technical expert to run. When we found Tepia, one of our goals was to create something that wouldn’t require a technical expert to run. We wanted it so that somebody who had a little bit of technical knowledge could come in and maintain the site so we wouldn't have to pay the big bucks. Instead, we could find somebody who was inside the organization to do it on a volunteer basis. When we went to them, we showed them the old site and its problems and we told them to take it away. The website was ultimately developed on WordPress.
How did you come to work with Tepia Co?
Since we’re California-based, we only deal in California wines. That’s our platform. Therefore, I wanted somebody who was located in California, preferably Southern California. I did an online search and came up with 10-12 possible firms, but I ran into some problems with many of the website development companies because they were more into search engine optimization and analytics. Even though there were loads of companies down here in the Orange County area, I found that they were very few people percentage-wise that were going to do just a website. We also required some customization which filtered out a lot of other companies; there were a lot of pop-up WordPress developers but very few of them knew how to make modifications that we might have needed. We whittled it down to five groups that met all of our requirements.
When we got into the details—I wrote up a 20-page specification of what I wanted and what it had to do—two out of the five dropped out immediately, saying it was too big for them. With the other three, it basically came down to cost, can you work with them, and are they knowledgeable people. Not only was Tepia local, but our feeling with them was that they were the only group able to regurgitate what I wanted. I felt that they understood exactly what I was looking for, and it wasn’t just them nodding their heads saying “Yes, we can do this.” They were able to restate the goals in their own terms, which made me feel a lot better about them knowing what we wanted.
How much have you invested with Tepia Co?
The contract was issued for $10,000, and that’s what it came in at. We also spent $200-$300 more on WordPress plug-ins because there was a need to buy them as we were going through the project. It was my own conscious choice that we would buy those plug-ins because I wanted them licensed in our organization’s name and not under Tepia’s name. We also spent a little bit more over the past year because we wanted a different way of getting the data out of custom reports in our accounting system. We’re also using a plug-in from WooCommerce for memberships and needed two to three different reports pulled out of there for mailing addresses for the renewal of memberships. We went back over the last year asking for updates and changes where some were either given to us gratis or were paid for. This would all be an extra $3,000 on top of the initial $10,000 that we knew we were going to incur as we used the system and realized the additional things we needed. It wasn’t a cost overrun. It was just additional money that we spent to get to where we wanted it.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them in October 2015, and it finished in April 2016. We were so happy with what they did to our website that we actually did three other smaller sites with them in the last year.