Costlocker is a a cloud-based project costs management software. It is a “tool that analyses and controls your business performance and analyses people-efficiency in real-time.” Costlocker was founded by Tomas Wojcik, Kamil Skramusky, Karel Hemza, Lukas Pitter, Jakub Karlec, Ales Rechtorik and Vlastimil Setka. Here’s a small blog post on how it all started – https://medium.com/costlocker-stories/scratch-your-own-itch-5abad39b8e7.
A couple of things nudged the founders to start Costlocker – 1. They “didn’t know the answers to the elementary business questions like – Which client generates the most profit? Should we sell more hours of designers or UX analysts? How much did internal meetings cost us? What’s our business efficiency?” Everything they did was “based on gut feelings, not numbers.” 2. They used Excel for everything-as a list of active projects, as a billing outlook, for employee salaries, for projects evaluation etc. “It was a pain to do everything manually and most of the data were out of date” when they received them. For example, they “sent an Excel sheet to account and project managers and asked them to fill in active projects, expected date of billing and expected amount.” and it took about a week to get responses. Finally, they had a week old data.
“Those days we used Toggl for time tracking on projects but we didn’t want to analyse hours.” Kamil recalls. He adds, “We wanted to analyse personnel costs, external costs, project profit, lost revenue on projects and other financial metrics of our business. We tried Getharvest, Freshbooks and other time tracking and invoicing tools, but with same results. We knew about applications like Ad-in-One, Deltek Macomy, Mavenlink, etc but we din’t want to use over-complicated things with lots of unnecessary features. We wanted a cloud based application with a sleek and nice user interface. So we asked people around us, “What do you use to monitor your business performance in real-time?” Most of them told us that they use Excel to know at least basic business information.”
“That’s why we developed Costlocker.” says Kamil. Costlocker was developed as an application for the digital agency, but it was later decided to launch it as a commercial product. It’s been about a year and over 1000 agencies from 59 countries have used Costlocker so far. “When we asked our customers: “What’s the job you hired Costlocker for?”” says Kamil, “they got back to us with these answers –
– We control our business performance simply in one place. No Excel sheets are needed.
– I know exactly what’s the remaining budget on projects and I can report this to clients immediately.
– Automatically generated business reports saved me a huge amount of time.
– Now we have the numbers we’ve never had so far and this helps me in everyday work.
– We motivate the project team by giving them 10% of the estimated profit. If they don’t exceed the estimates.
– We create more accurate cost estimates because we know results of previous projects.
– We changed client rates because we know our profitability.
– I know who’s really busy and who’s just filling in timesheets.”
The “toughest thing” for the founders was to find the right developers. “We had have several attempts with freelance developers.” says Kamil. “It was an impasse. It doesn’t work when you outsource the development. All people in the team should be on the same page. They need to know why they build the product. In our case those developers perfectly understood Costlocker because they always looked for the tool like that for their previous development studio.” Kamil recalls that the team worked 16 hours a day.
One big advantage that the Costlocker team has is that it has over 10 years of experience in agency business. “We know how it is to run an agency.” Kamil says, adding ” We know gains and pains of business owners. It gives us the credibility and people like the fact that we understand the agency language.” Also, Costlocker uses its own product for its everyday work. In short, it is its own customer! Here is a blog post about it – https://medium.com/costlocker-stories/become-your-own-customer-5bd07f3cc73e.
Costlocker’s biggest competitor is Excel. About 50% of the new sign-ups happen because “people want to get rid of Excel sheets and they want their data to be accessible anywhere they go.” Other customers include people who use time tracking and invoicing tools (Getharvest, Freeagent, etc.) for everyday work. A typical customer is a business owner with more than 10 employees.
“We want Costlocker to have an intelligence layer.” says Kamil. “We’ll analyze connections between data, uncover business trends or simulate various business predictions. We’ll provide valuable insights in order to improve the stability of the company like – When we increase productivity by 10 %, what increase in turnover and profit can we expect? What are the costs of a new person in the company and how long will it take him to generate some profit?” He adds, “We’ll also focus on benchmarking with anonymous data. It helps people to understand better how good they are in comparison with other agencies in their country. Be knowing these data, we can come up with quick tips in the right context.”
Costlocker works on a freemium model. Upto 4 people and 100 projects can use Costlocker for free. Otherwise, the charge is 9 USD per user a month. In the future, there will be an extra charge for the intelligence layer and business reports.
Costlocker offers our readers a special 60-day free trial. By clicking on the link below, you get into the registration page and the extra period will apply automatically when you sign up.