As those who work in the creative industries know only too well, projects that start out simply can quickly become complex and unwieldy if clients begin tweaking the brief and asking for more things to be included. Those in the business call this “scope creep”, and because it happens gradually, it can be difficult to pin down charges for the extra work. As a result, creatives often end up putting in long hours and getting paid for half of them if they’re lucky.
UI/UX designer Jenna Farrell repeatedly experienced this problem when running her own digital agency. This inspired her and co-founder Gill Laging to develop a software product called Scopey, which helps service providers get paid fairly for the amount of time they spend on a job.
“It’s estimated that scope creep costs creative businesses around the world millions in ‘free work’ every year. Scopey is an easy-to-use tool that will put this money back in their pockets,” says New Zealand-born Farrell, who moved here with her Irish husband and two young children last August.
As the co-owner of a digital agency in Australia for over 10 years, I suffered extreme stress, sleepless nights and even hair loss from trying to wear too many hats
“There are proposal products on the market that focus on the scope of work, but once they are sent, that’s it. Scopey is a live system that focuses on the value that’s added once the project has started. This can add 10-40 per cent to each project with well managed change requests and upselling.
“Scopey is a new kind of tool that uses AI and combines the essential elements of sales, proposal and project management software, but keeps it simple enough for people to use every day and smart enough to help them generate more revenue.”
Our tool enables creatives to get value from what is already in front of them with existing clients and very often that’s stuff they are currently doing for free
Farrell is responsible for the product’s design, and the company is on track to launch the beta version of Scopey in August. The revenue model is SaaS, with prices starting at around €29 a month per user for the basic version. Premium and enterprise versions will also be available, while further down the line it will be possible for organisations to use the system to generate job scopes that can then be sent to potential contractors.
“Our tool enables creatives to get value from what is already in front of them with existing clients, and very often that’s stuff they are currently doing for free,” Farrell says. “If someone is repeating a task for a client numerous times for free, then it’s likely it is something that could be turned into a product or service they can charge for.”
Scopey’s start-up costs have been bootstrapped at just under €30,000 between personal investment and support from Enterprise Ireland. Farrell also participated in the NDRC’s pre-accelerator at the Porter Shed in Galway and the business is based at the Co:Workx hub in Edgeworthstown. The company is now looking to raise €350,000 to build out the product and begin the hiring process for developers and sales and customer service staff.
Scopey is a live system that focuses on the value that’s added once the project has started
The initial target market for Scopey will be businesses within the global creative industry, particularly those that don’t have dedicated project managers. However, the company is already seeing interest from other sectors because Farrell says scope creep is everywhere, even in unlikely places such as the trucking industry.
“As the co-owner of a digital agency in Australia for over 10 years, I suffered extreme stress, sleepless nights and even hair loss from trying to wear too many hats – doing the work, managing client expectations and trying to track and bill all of our time. We were often leaving the office at 9pm, having only worked four billable hours that day,” Farrell says.
“We were handling large projects, but our business wasn’t growing because we didn’t have a streamlined process in place for capturing and invoicing change requests and changes to the scope of the work. It’s a common problem, and one that Scopey now solves.”