Custom Mobile Application Design & Development

Utility specializes in crafting custom mobile applications and web software with innovative partners, from startup ventures to Fortune 500 brands. We're made up of digital product strategists, user experience designers and engineers.

 
$25,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2013
Show all +
New York, NY
headquaters
  • Utility
    (HQ) 260 Madison Ave
    New York, NY 10016
    United States
    (212) 328-1167
other locations
  • Utility
    600 Congress Ave
    Austin, TX 78701
    United States
    (646) 885-6515
  • Utility
    One Market, Spear Tower
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    United States
    (646) 885-6515
  • Utility
    10100 Santa Monica Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90067
    United States
    (646) 885-6515
  • Utility
    1170 Peachtree St NE
    Atlanta, GA 30309
    United States
    (646) 885-6515
  • Utility
    20 F Street NW
    Washington, DC 20001
    United States
    (646) 885-6515
  • Utility
    801 Brickell Ave
    Miami, FL 33131
    United States
    (646) 885-6515
  • Utility
    101 Arch Street
    Boston, MA 02110
    United States
    (646) 885-6515
  • Utility
    1601 Market Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19103
    United States
    (646) 885-6515

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Brands: Airbnb, Samsung, Verizon, DirecTV, Target, Mount Sinai

Startups: Dearduck, Winq, UrLife, SirenMD, dearduck, JobTreks, Cirrus Fitness

Mobile Games: Stride Gum (Mondelez), AVP Pro Beach Volleyball, Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne

Reviews

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Product Development for Consumer Entertainment Startup

“[They're] been instrumental in translating what we were asking for into an actual product.”

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Utility developed a unified web/mobile solution meant to upload & share multimedia. The platform enables seamless project collaboration for distributed user groups. Ongoing enhancements are now the main focus.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Los Angeles, California
Co-Founder & CEO
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Utility’s strength lay in communicating with people unfamiliar with the tech world. The platform allow for significant increases in data processing capabilities and provide an exemplary user experience.

BACKGROUND

Please introduce your business and what you do there.

UrLife Media is a startup. I have a background in entertainment marketing and own a company which creates movie trailers, TV commercials, and entertainment campaigns. My co-founder was a Hollywood producer for 20 years. We identified a market and moved our skillsets from the storytelling and packaging-of-content spaces to user-generated content. UrLife Media takes user-generated content, gives is a custom narrative, and packages it in the style of a movie trailer, with custom stories, professional voiceovers, graphics, and visual effects. We do this by using actual, human editors, and not an algorithm. I'm a co-founder and CEO of the company. I manage day-to-day operations, from strategic all the way down to tactical marketing and sales.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Utility?

When we started out, we were pushing a B2C model and knew that we needed a technology platform which could help facilitate growth in that segment. The website we needed was unique in that it would move large amounts of video data across the web. It needed to be as user-friendly, intuitive and efficient as possible. We talked to a few companies early on and found that we weren't getting what we needed. Utility came from a few good references. They started a conversation with us about our website, but also digging down to an app-based system. We figured that most users capture content on their phones, so we needed to give them a simple process for handling that video.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

We had a few back-and-forth conversations around what we needed the website and app-based platforms to do. We needed to build a true MVP, and start the architecture of what we could start building off of that.

We're based in LA, while Utility is New-York-based. We spent a lot of time bridging that communication gap through conference calls: we needed to figure out the workflow, what was and wasn't possible. We had some product testing and developed the process in a relatively standard flow. Utility wanted to understand what our end result needed to be, and they helped shape it along the way.

Utility built everything on both our site and our apps. We will be launching an update shortly, which will be a big departure from the MVP. Having the ability to crowdsource ideas from users was a big thing. When a whole group goes on vacation, there is never one person capturing all the content. We knew that we needed to start one project and invite other collaborators into it, so that everyone could pull source footage from different users. That has been a big change for us, along with the batch upload of pictures and video from camera rolls, picking start and end-points, and putting everything in between.

Our site is responsive, but our iOS app is best suited for phones. We provide a web app for Android and GoPro users. It's a mirrored system, meaning that people can start a project on the app, and it will be carried over on the web platform. We are also working on a native Android app.

With the first two companies we talked to, we had no framework for our project.Utility imagined everything from scratch. They did a ton of heavy lifting in order to get us to where we are.

I have been in constant communication with at least four people from Utility's team, including their principal. We use resources on an as-needed basis.

How did you come to work with Utility?

We were introduced to a few companies early on and had some intros with them. They weren't the right fit for us, so we set out on a new search, interviewed three other companies, including Utility. We immediately felt that they were the best fit for us, both from a philosophical standpoint but also in terms of what they could bring to the table. My partner and I, not coming from the tech space at all, needed to rely heavily on Utility's team in order to communicate and action our vision.

What is the status of this engagement?

I don't remember when we started the collaboration.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

Our ability handle user data has increased exponentially; we can upload and process significantly more video than before. Every new update we make brings a smoother, faster, and more efficient platform.

How did Utility perform from a project management standpoint?

I am not used to working in the tech world; I don't know how long things should take and how the process world. Utility has been instrumental in translating what we were asking for into an actual product, but also providing some education to us as far as how things are built and what the timelines are. From a responsiveness point of view, Utility was always there for us, making progress and keeping us updated about it.

We've had a big launch with a partner, and needed to make sure that the latest update would be up and ready. It was for the NFL's on-location experience within the travel arm for the London Games. We had to make sure that we'd be ready prior to the event, so Utility worked round the clock for weeks - maybe even a month - getting our platform ready in time. Never along the way was I concerned that we wouldn't be making the target. Utility gave me feedback and progress reports, letting me know if we needed to push harder on something or if we needed to make different choices based on our timeline. Utility always made us a part of the process.

Utility uses Trello for tracking progress and sharing feedback and ideas. I can use it to drop in priorities or tasks which can be put in the backlog. From a communication standpoint, it's great.

What distinguishes Utility from other providers?

The other developers we spoke to tried to tell us how our product needed to fit in the space. Utility really listened to what we were going for and tried to make the space fit with our product, if that makes any sense.

We created a platform that transfers video from place to place and has an internal marketplace where freelance editors can come in and select projects to work on. They can download and upload material, as well as use a communication platform between them, the producers and the customers.

We wanted to use our entertainment industry perspective on how workflows should be, from a creative and communication standpoint. Utility was very open about learning that and making sure that they created something that coincided with what we were looking for based on our past experiences.

Is there anything Utility could have improved or done differently?

The criticism is not a fault of Utility's. In any business, we will only be able to move at a certain speed. We can't make computers render work faster, and there are other limitations. It's simply a fact of being used to working in a certain way; timelines don't translate from industry to industry. Utility needed to educate us on this front. How they've approached everything has been good for us.

Early on, I didn't find the design of the platform to be as good as it could be. During our process, Utility brought on some new people, and the design elevated from our starting point.

Do you have any recommendations for others considering working with Utility?

If the client has worked with agencies like Utility before, the process is not going to be something new. It's a function of the business. In the edit bay, I can ask someone to finish a task in one hour that should have taken three hours and they can do it, because a human can work faster, compared to putting the work into a box and asking it to render.

If design is a critical aspect, I would explore where Utility is at the moment. Clients may want to bring on a designer who can liaise with Utility if their skills are not up to the standard. Everything else, in terms of workflow, efficiency, and functionality, is top notch.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Everyone can improve on deadlines, deliveries and so on.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    As with anything, there was a bit of back and forth around deliverables in order to fine-tune them. Utility didn't deliver perfect results every time, but no one can.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Long-Term Dev for Entertainment Agency

"We've thrown them a lot of curveballs, and they've always managed to figure out a solution."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Nov. 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Utility handles information architecture, data security, and custom software integration for a variety of projects. Key features include user authentication, currency exchange, and geolocation.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
New York, New York
Director, Civic Entertainment Group
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Utility has delivered exceptional results for every task, no matter how complicated the work or how short the deadline. Their agile team and ability to handle curve balls put them far ahead of their competitors.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the director of Civic, a branding and marketing agency. We do a wide variety of things, such as proprietary events, product launches, marketing campaigns, and so on.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Utility?

Utility provides continuous development for our own clients. The scope of work was minor at first but expanded rapidly as we built trust together.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Information architecture was a huge piece of Utility’s work for us because there were a lot of major constraints around data security with the client we were working with. We also wanted to create a seamless experience between the client’s website and this external platform. Utility did a great job of mapping out the information architecture and data security, figuring out how to approach building the registration platform in a seamless way. We were also looking at other ways to do registration ticketing, so Utility spent a lot of time vetting all of the third-party integrations and APIs we were exploring to see what would work best.

There wasn't a true off-the-shelf solution for what we wanted, so Utility built a lot of custom features for us. They vetted what was in the marketplace and outlined some of the constraints. One of the critical things we needed was a process that could use the client’s primary website and API for people to log in and register. In their first year, Utility built a mechanism that could verify someone’s eligibility to attend the event and allow them to register, but there were so many privacy and data issues that we had major restrictions around how that information could be stored. Utility had to create custom logic based on what types of yes and no questions to ask to get to the right answer since we couldn't technically access the client information database. That was huge.

The mechanism we were using for ticketing wasn't able to do currency exchange, so Utility built a workaround for us to address euros versus dollars on our registration website. That was a huge last-minute ask that came up just prior to launch. Utility was able to solve the problem, and it ended up working out seamlessly.

Utility also helped with another custom integration, a one-on-one speed networking solution that managed the same privacy and data constraints. We also added NFC [near field communication] bracelets that did onsite geolocation. They linked to registration and lit up based on what session people were going to.

Utility ended up being the primary conduit for any additional tech integration throughout the program. Even if the additions weren’t related to the core platforms that Utility had built, they definitely became the shepherds of all the other technology components, whether it was for check-ins, the bracelets, or the networking platform. We had someone on our team who was able to give context or explain what the bracelets needed to do, but Utility definitely was able to make sure everything was functioning on the backend. I’m familiar with a lot of these things, but I don't have a technical background, so they were able to help communicate in layman’s terms for both us and our clients.

How did you come to work with Utility?

I was already familiar with Utility’s work through a previous colleague. We needed to find the right partner and an agency that could be agile. I knew that Utility had a marketing background and agency experience, which is pretty rare for most tech companies. At the time, we were also considering two other companies, both referrals. Utility’s flexibility and troubleshooting skills appealed to us. We told them about some of the issues we’d had with another shop the year before. Utility did a great audit of that process in figuring out how to address some of those technical challenges, which was definitely something that stood out to us.

How much have you invested with Utility?

I think we’ve invested around $850,000 with Utility over the past couple of years. Our budget started out much lower, but we kept adding to it.

What is the status of this engagement?

I think we started working with Utility in late 2014 or early 2015. We’re still working together, and with all the things we have coming up, we’ll probably look to extend to a minimum two-year contract at the end of 2018. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or impact of the engagement?

Utility has never interfered with us being able to push something live. We did a major product launch for a client last fall that included a live-stream with nearly three million viewers. Utility was able to prepare for and adjust to the necessary bandwidth to handle that project with ease. All of the media marketing pointed to the site that Utility built instead of the client’s main site. I think it was pretty huge having everything work seamlessly and smoothly throughout the product launch live-stream that first day and over the next three days.

How did Utility perform from a project management standpoint?

Their team has grown, but they had probably four to five people who were client-facing with my team. From looking at timesheets, we could see there were a lot of engineers and designers who worked behind the scenes on the project to make sure we were able to hit deadlines. When we had fast turnaround times, Utility could even call their resources overseas who supplemented their team. We introduced our client to Utility’s members who eventually became part of our team. The client loved them. We’ve hired them and extended their contract three times now. It’s been great.

Utility is good about tracking their time. Our client requested a million changes, and Utility was good about keeping track of what was out of scope versus what was in scope. It was a clear and concise process.

What did you find most impressive about Utility?

The biggest difference between Utility and other shops we’ve worked with is their agility and dedication. We’ve thrown them a lot of curveballs, and they've always managed to figure out a solution. With other shops, we’d have technical challenges or broken links, and we haven't had any of those issues in the last three years with Utility. They’re quick to identify the source of any bugs or issues. Problems are bound to come up, but Utility digs into the root cause of the issue and comes up with a solution that works in perpetuity instead of applying a quick fix. That ability is what I appreciate the most about them. We don't keep having the same problems again and again. That’s important.

Another big thing that stands out about Utility is their agility. Most of the time, QA is for technical bugs. With Utility, we don't find any technical bugs, but the client will have a laundry list of items they want to change because they changed their mind, or they want a new icon, or they want a different color, or the words are different. Utility has been super flexible in addressing those kinds of requests. A lot of other digital teams are more rigid about those kinds of concerns: they don't want to compromise or mess with the code so close to when the project is supposed to go live. Utility is comfortable with accommodating those changes or telling the client how to batch updates so that they still get what they want without compromising the website. That’s been critical.

Are there any areas Utility could improve?

Our project may sound super straightforward on paper, but it’s actually not. One of the biggest things Utility improved, especially going from their first year to their second year, was having a dedicated account manager to track changes, dates and deadlines, file transfers, etc. I think that has continued to improve our experience working with Utility. It wasn’t a huge problem, but it was clear that what we thought the project was and what the project needed were two different things. Adding a dedicated account manager was the biggest thing Utility has done to impact the process positively. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I’d give Utility a 10 if I could.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would refer them to anyone. I think the greatest thing about them is that they’re not a cookie-cutter solution. They’ve been able to address and find a solution for any need that has arisen.

iOS App Development for Gift Optimization Platform

"They're a partner for us, not just a development company."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
June 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Utility designed a hyper-personalized iOS app that integrates diverse user preferences and repayment technologies. The team provides ongoing additions and updates to support the product. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Houston, Texas
Founder, App Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Through the MVP they launched, Utility effectively injected a nuanced vision into an otherwise untapped market. The project team can tackle any frontend/backend challenges, avoid overdesigning and consistently promote an intuitive, dynamic UX.

BACKGROUND

Please introduce your company and what you do there.

This is a startup. We have an app that takes the guesswork out of gifting by working with consumer preferences in terms of scent, flavor, patterns, and so on. When someone wants to make a gift, they can enter some variables and receive matching products. I am the founder of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Utility?

We had done a lot of testing and research in the market. It's a huge untapped market. We understood that lack of information was the root-cause of the problem we were trying to solve, but we didn't know what we wanted to build exactly or how. We needed a partner that could help us build our product. 

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

Utility did not build our brand, but they did help us take an MVP approach and figure out the basics of what we needed to know so that we could solve our problem without overbuilding. Utility took us from concept to wireframes and the development of our MVP.

We have only built an iOS version at this moment since that is our target population. There are different backend layers to our app for gathering preferences and learning about a user's relationship with each of their connections, extending from friends and family to co-workers. We focus on hyper-personalization and integrate with different technologies for passing on repayments for retailers. Each user acts both as a gifter and giftee. The first thing someone does is check their preferences.

How did you come to work with Utility?

We found Utility through the University of Columbia network. One of our members is an alumnus there and put us in touch with them.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

The cost of Utility's work has been between $170,000 and $250,000. We haven't gone over budget in any of our projects. If anything, we came under the projected amounts.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Utility in June 2016. Our MVP was released in September for beta-testing. We had a soft public launch two weeks ago. Utility is continuing to support our app, as well as building additional features. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

Reaction time is an important factor for me. If there are any glitches with the app or its backend, it's important that no one except for our team becomes aware of them. My success with Utility has been measured by their ability to reach and fix any issues. They've performed well in this regard.

How did Utility perform from a project management standpoint?

We interviewed a number of development companies, looking for team members who would feel like they were a part of our own group. We're a new company, so there's a lot to understand around our angle of the market. We needed a developer who was passionate about the project, and Utility has definitely fulfilled this. We've worked regularly with the same team members since we started, and the management has been extremely smooth. It's been an amazing experience, and I have no complaints.

What distinguishes Utility from other providers?

Utility has done a good job of adjusting our direction and taking any mistakes we made into account. They're a partner for us, not just a development company.

Is there anything Utility could have improved or done differently?

Our brand is user and consumer-facing. We've had to use another agency for developing it, and it's not something that we expected to do with Utility. For the areas we hired them for, I haven't seen any need for improvement.

Do you have any recommendations for others considering working with Utility?

Knowing which problem they're trying to solve is important. We have a product manager who understands what's in my mind. She's been an extremely helpful asset in the team. Working on storyboards and user-flows for any development project, whether it's for a utility or anything else, will ensure that the developer understands exactly what the users are doing. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Anytime our internal team identified a glitch or issue, even if it was during the night or over weekends, Utility was there to respond.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    There are many different ways of developing an MVP, and we needed strategic partners. Without the diversity of Utility's team, we wouldn't have built the right product.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The code quality was amazing—probably the best we've seen. It's impossible for any development company to get branding aspects, but this wasn't Utility's job.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Platform Development for Boutique Investment Banking Firm

"Our digital platform has gotten kudos as one of the top two or three on Wall Street."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Utility upgraded an old site and then built a custom financial solution meant to aid online securities investments. Enhancement is now the main focus, which demands careful attention to complicated tax laws. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
New York, New York
CEO, Financial Tech Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Utility delivered a visually-stimulating, responsive platform at far below the standard industry price, which is rare to find. Their friendly customer service and attentive project management made the working relationship both informative and enjoyable. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CEO of a boutique investment firm. We have 15 offices around the world; we own four broker-dealers around the world; we focus on raising capital for the best fund managers in the world; and we raise that capital from the largest, most sophisticated institutional investors in the world. We’re a boutique bank, but we compete with the likes of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, so we punch massively above our weight.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Utility?

We hired Utility to rebuild our website and create a digital platform where people could invest in securities. We were out of our element with the work, so we knew we had to partner with an external agency. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

When we launched our firm, we designed and built our website ourselves in order to save capital. After we became profitable, we decided to upgrade that website in a meaningful way so that we looked like a global firm that had its tentacles into some of the better and more sophisticated investors. The first thing they did was redevelop our website. We had our own view of what we wanted it to look like, and we worked with Utility so that they could capture the appropriate vision for it. I would say that they nailed it.

 

Then we decided to take the website and make it interactive and develop a digital platform where high net-worth individuals could invest in securities through the internet via their investment advisers. That project required a huge amount of time and attention because it involved lots of different legal jurisdictions, tax implications, and regulatory considerations, all of which had to be constructed, in my view, with the appropriate sizing buttons, connectivity, aesthetics, functionality and so forth. Of the two things we had Utility do for us, the digital platform task required far more time, energy, and attention.

 

How did you come to work with Utility?

We interviewed a couple of shops when we decided to update our website, but then I got a strong reference from one of our partners whose wife had used Utility. I looked at their work and thought it was pristine and elegant.

 

For me, the interpersonal connection is always important, and I think we struck a good interpersonal note between our shop and theirs. When the project has hiccups down the road, you want to have a candid guy along with somebody who understands what you're looking for. I liked the guys, and I think they understood what we were trying to do. I gave them a budget, and I asked them what their plan was for moving forward with the project. My only big ask was that the Utility guys be massively responsive when I reached out to them or when I had questions. I could tell them, “I don't need this for a week,” or “I need this tomorrow,” and I would always tell them with candor when I had a gun to my head and when I didn't, and they were responsive.

 

I didn't have a strong impression of the other companies we were considering. They probably were capable, but I don't know for sure because I’m not a tech guy and we didn’t hire them.

 

How much have you invested with Utility?

I don't really know how much we’ve invested with Utility. I’d have to think about it.

 

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Utility to rebuild our website in 2014, and then we started to work on our digital platform in 2015. Our work together is ongoing and never will be concluded, though it will get slower. If we want to stay current with the technology and the market, we will continue to use Utility. I would say that we are always going to be at 90% to 95% complete; I don't think we’re ever going to be better than that because we’re always going to be modifying things.

 

In the next year or so, when we have another round of capital come in, we’ll revamp the website again. I personally like the way it looks now, but I’m an old guy and my young guys think we can give the website a more contemporary look, which is fine.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

Our digital platform has gotten kudos as one of the top two or three on Wall Street. Before we formally launched the website, we hired a shop that is well regarded in the technology space for doing due diligence on all things technological. Before we launched the website, we wanted to have confirmation that when we hit the “go” button that the website had the depth and the breadth to handle the traffic and not break down, because we knew we had built a Ferrari on the outside, but we weren’t sure if it had a Ferrari engine.

 

We hired a third party called Corsis, which is used by the top private equity firms in the world. Before the firms do their major acquisitions, they engage Corsis to do a comprehensive technology audit. We held our breath because we didn't really know how it was going to come back. But we ended up coming back with a score of an 87, which for the money we put into this thing, we knocked it out of the park. Some of the guys we compete against have been bankrolled by some of the biggest and best guys in the world. They have unlimited cash to build out their technology piece, and in the end, I'd take our technology and pit it against their technology any day of the week for something that was dramatically different in terms of the cash infusion.

 

How did Utility perform from a project management standpoint?

Utility is the greatest, and they continue to be great. I’m not kidding. I’m fond of them. If I thought they sucked, I wouldn't be doing this review. My office is set up a little bit like “Mad Men": I’m looking at about seven bottles of booze right now. When the Utility guys are in New York or when they’re downtown, they stop by to pay a visit, and we have a drink and chat. They’re good guys. We actually got one of the guys a wedding gift when he got married.

 

I’m not sure how large their team was. I didn't want to work with a lot of different people, so I asked Utility to assign one person who would be our guy and who we could call. The guys they assigned has been terrific. He just got married, and he went home to Uzbekistan, at the beginning of December for two months. Even though he was out of the office, he never missed a beat. We would give him our specs of what we wanted to modify during the day, which was his night, and then we’d go home. When we’d come in the next morning, everything we sent to him the day before was done. It worked out swimmingly.

 

Are there any areas Utility could improve?

Yes. The only thing I can think of is I would have liked to have been able to visit their offices so that I could show them on their screens how and where I wanted to make changes, rather than explaining the alterations over the phone or sending them snapshots of how I wanted things to look. It would have been easier that way. When you're trying to design something aesthetically, you might do four or five iterations before it looks the way you want it to look. You might say, “Move that a little bit to the right. There’s too much space in here. Make that lower. Make the font here bigger. I don't like that color blue.” I’m real OCD, and I think if I could have gone to their offices, it would have been easier. I had requested to visit them, but their view was they would rather have everything in a digital format so they could have a record to follow. They just preferred to work apart. Sometimes people don't want you to go to their shops, because they’re not happy about the way their offices look or they don't want you to see that they don't wear suits to work. I could care less, but I was happy to comply.

 

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Utility?

I have a couple of tips for working with Utility, but they’re just the basics of working with any company. Always get a series of business recommendations, and after you get them, ask for access to the things that they’ve designed, so that you can view them yourself. Get a sense as to what the relationship is between what it costs to develop what they’re showing you and the actual product so that you can understand if you're in the ballpark for what you're looking for. Get an idea of what is most current in the market, because some guys overbuild and you end up with functionality you don't need. It’s like having snow tires in Florida: it’s irrelevant. I think having a good working relationship is critical. I think if you have a creative flair or if you know what you're looking for and can articulate it, make sure that the guys you are articulating it to grasp what it is you are asking them to capture.

5.0
Overall Score I'm a good guy, but from an OCD buyer to an OCD supplier, our partnership with Utility was a match made in heaven.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    If we had been a bigger fish, we would have been at the top of the heap. For where we were, I don't think we could have gotten more attention.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I would say we built our products for 30% of the industry norm.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The mobile responsiveness of the website is amazing. No matter what device you're on — smartphone, iPad, laptop, PC — the website modulates up and down for both functionality and aesthetics.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would definitely recommend Utility. In fact, that’s what I thought I was doing now.