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  1. #1
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Licensing software to a consulting company

    All right, geniuses.

    I need some input here.

    Here's the deal.

    My situation
    I am employed by a consulting company - I have a montly salary, and they sell my time for me. If they sell very well, I get a small bonus, but other than that, it's just a regular job. The consulting company makes money billing hours.

    My resource
    I also own my own company (together with some other associates), that happens to own a very nice software product. We use this product internally, but it could easily be adapted for third-party use, and we know that there is a demand for the software.

    Problem
    Neither me or my associates have time to develop, sell in, and most importantly, maintain the software for third-party customers - you know, with us having full time jobs and everything. Basically, it's just sitting there.

    Potential
    The consulting company I work for could very well be interested in buying licences to the software and selling it FOR us.

    My question
    How should a licence like this be designed? What should my company change the consulting company? Has anyone done this before? I'm not talking specific figures (I have an inkling that this software could be sold for a lot of money - it took two very clever and well-educated developers several months full-time to develop it) but rather how the deal should be designed.

    Does anyone have any ideas? I'm stumped.
    Mattias Johansson
    Short, Swedish, Web Developer

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  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru
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    Perhaps rent it to them for a fixed fee each month. Then say that you will include a certain number of hours each month dedicated to support and set an hourly rate for any support that is needed over this.

    If they are then planning to sell it on for you then somebody has to either give up some time to support and maintain it or train others to do so. Could the company not perhaps hire somebody so that you could teach them how to provide support for it?

  3. #3
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    If you want to give them some kind of extra permissions or a deal because of your association, of course that's up to you, but I think you would design the license just as you would for any other affiliate or third-party vendor.

    I do think you need to make it clear in the license that maintenance on your product is separate from you job as a consultant. The best way to do that is to be very specific in your license terms of use.

    If you're going to let the consulting company to market and sell the product for you, of course you will also need to figure a wholesale price that works for both your software company and the consulting company to make a profit.

    Maybe the first step is to sit down and hash out what works for both you and your prospective third-party vendor. Like all things, communication between parties is probably the key to a successful association for both of you.

    Good luck.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown


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