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Consultants' costs falling in 3000 world

A pair of consultants in the 3000 marketplace are offering their services for as low as $30 an hour, one of the most inexpensive rates we've ever seen quoted. This ripple in pricing -- there's many other experts who charge two to three times as much per billed hour -- says several things about the 3000's Transition Era.

When consultants like Olav Kappert ($35 hourly) or Michael Serafin ($30) tell 3000 newsgroup readers about their lower rates, these experts kick sand in the face of HP and some of its partners. The accepted wisdom from 2002 onward was that such expertise would get eaten up by the market's demand; you'd struggle to get on someone's client list, especially in the world of migration. Or in another scenario, few consultants would maintain 3000 practices, since there wouldn't be enough demand.

The pricing from these 3000 vets (34 years for Kappert, 27 for Serafin) seems to show that the first scenario didn't play out as predicted. These are individuals, of course, and a migration or app maintenance company might have less bandwidth. But it looks clear that supply is outpacing demand, at least from these fellows' viewpoints. Any sensible business needs to lower rates when they have time available to sell, as a part of marketing themselves.

On the other hand, there's that sense of declining need that could ripple from these offers. Do companies need less help on a platform that's stable and whose OS is frozen? One counter-argument is that such independent providers fill a gap created when on-staff 3000 experts get let go, or retire.

Kappert, who's been on the 3000 community mailing lists and even the OpenMPE consultant roster, chalks up his discounting to hard times all around.

I know business is tough and money is tight," Kappert posted. "So, I am willing to work for a company at a rate of $ 35 per hour (unless you want to offer more). The work must be able to be performed in a remote environment (dial-up, VPN or Internet accessible). Since this offer can expire at any time and without notice; you need to get in touch with me as soon as possible."

Serafin adds another element to his discount -- development for the far-newer iPhone/iPad OS, plus Android apps, as well as MPE/iX work from his company.

"Also in keeping with the times, I am offering custom iPhone/iPad/Android app development," Serafin said this week. If you are interested in developing an app for your business, give me a call [at (603) 485-3700]."

With that offer Serafin joins a number of 3000 developers and consultants who are entering or working in the iOS business. Michael Casteel, who developed the Maestro job management system, has written iOS game apps for many years. Neal Kazmi of Minisoft was on track to develop an iPad version of the company's Javelin connectivity software (we'll have to check up on that project, announced last spring.) John Vandegrift is a 3000 veteran who reports "I'm a registered iPhone developer who hasn't made the time to develop anything yet, which would make me a beginning iOS 4 developer."

Their work for the iOS apps probably doesn't fall into the $30-35 range. But perhaps that makes the 3000 look like even more of a value -- so long as you don't need mobile phone or tablet access to its operations or apps.