we are a group of contractors and we have been working as senior developers for more than 15 years.
We have worked in retailer, insurances and media agencies and we got a very strong back ground in all the MS technologies.
Usually in UK the companies that need developers for implementing their product/software ask IT recruiters to provide them
developers with a specific skills-set that fits with their needs.
We were thinking to build up a software limited company, make some contacts, and try to sell our services (software development).
Basically we would like to go to the clients to implement their software(working there as contractor provided by our company) introducing us as a software house that can take their projects and implement it
The problem is of course that usually the clients(companies)trust the recruiters and at the really begin no one will know our company as alternative for implementing their software.
The question is how can we start to introduce ourselves as software development company to the clients ?
What are the main steps for starting this business?
we would like to highlight also that the recruiter usually provides very bad quality software developers as the they do not care about the developer and all they care is their commission.
I've been doing independent software development in the US for private companies for 8 years now, some of that time with a company and some of that time alone.
You've identified the problem correctly. Unless you have some strong warm leads to companies needing serious help from consultants, the answer is you need to grow slow. You won't be able to jump in with a group of people used to regular paychecks and make money day one. You can either take a loan or start small/part-time.
What I would recommend is get for everyone to work their connections until you can find a handful of contracts that will not only pay but will give you some exposure. Then use part of your team to finish those contracts, making sure to provide great customer experience while reminding your customer that you are a start-up that needs exposure.
From there you can hopefully build to bigger contracts from more customers. That is what will allow your entire team to leave the "day job" and go full time with the new venture. I'm assuming from your 15 years experience that you know everything you need to about version management software, task/time tracking, and bug tracking. Without those three you'll crash and burn on the first big client you get.
Great advice from Justin and Jon.
You have an opportunity here to define how you want to treat customers, and how you want to be perceived. Consider partnering up with business development person who is willing to initiate these relationships for you, and who can agree to do so following your principles and respect for customers. Clearly, finding someone who already has relationships or can build them quickly is the challenging part.
Sales, marketing and business development are as specialized in their own right as software development. So if finding a business development person doesn't seem like a viable option, it might be a good idea to start learning how to sell...
I talked to a guy who used to work as a recruiter. He said, all they did was, find companies via the phone book/web. Ring the HR person. Ask if they were looking for developers. If yes, they would try and match a developers to the company. ... He said that was it, nothing else.