Can I charge my client for ODK?

Hi All.
Please can I have some guidance. I am currently am using the ODK platform for my client to perform kitchen inspection - cleanliness, cleaning schedule adherence, rodent repellent maintenance etc...
My client is using the ODK collect app to answer question on the above topics, the data shoots to ODK aggregate which I then export to my sql DB, and I perform analysis and generate reports from there(my own python code).

I am currently drawing up a SLA contract, and I need some help.
I am fully aware that ODK is open source....I do not wish to charge the client for the ODK portion (Collect and aggregate). However I need to charge my client for the process after I pull the data from the aggregate server.
How can I word out the contract, to not get into trouble with the ODK team. Should I bring up the fact that I am using open source software and am only charging you the client for the process/data that happens after I pull the data from aggregate ? - or should I just keep quiet and charge the client for using the whole system without mentioning that he is not paying for the ODK collect app and the aggregate server(my client is unaware of even what is the aggregate server) ?
Please help, as mentioned I do not want to claim ownership of the ODK platform....But how do I explain this to my client...and should I even bring it up ?
I need to get some monetary gain, as I do generate pdf reports from the data collected and I do perform analytics from which is all my own written python code.

Hi @Clinton_P

As you rightly pointed out you are not charging a license fee for Free Open Source Software. You are billing your client for the services that you are providing building on top of a Free and Open Source Solution. There is no problem letting the client know that you are using Free and Open Source Software. I personally always tell my clients that I am using Free and Open Source software and make it very clear that I am charging for services been provided (server setup, mobile device configuration, XForms coding, data analysis ...)


Hi @Clinton_P, this is a great set of questions. Thanks for asking them!

I agree with what @Ronald_Munjoma has said. ODK software itself is available for no cost but using ODK is rarely free. The software has to run on servers which cost money. And it will require someone's time (and thus money) to build forms, collect the data, and do the analysis. The latter is what you are providing as a service and it's fair to charge for your time and the additional value you are providing.

Please note that ODK Aggregate is no longer being updated. We recommend you use ODK Central instead. Central's submissions are available as an OData feed that you can connect Excel, Power BI, Google Data Studio, R, or your Python scripts to. If you need to interact with more than the submission data, Central also has a REST API that is a joy to work with in Python. See this example I recently posted.

You can host Central yourself (just like you could with Aggregate), but the easiest way to use Central is on ODK Cloud, where we do all technical work of running it so you can focus on your data. ODK Cloud also includes incredibly fast support from the core team.

I mention ODK Cloud because in the same way that you should be compensated for the value you provide, we think the team that does most of the work on ODK should also be compensated for the work we do. ODK Cloud is what pays for the core team's time.

We understand that not everyone has budget to pay for cloud hosting or premium support, so we make the software available at no cost and run this forum in the hopes that those who don't have budget can contribute in other ways. In your case, perhaps you can help answer support questions, improve translations in Central, provide feedback on the latest Collect beta, and of course, encourage your clients to use ODK Cloud.

In my experience, not every client cares that something is open-source, but most care about the value they are getting and want to ensure they aren't locked into a platform. With ODK, they are using a platform that is proven at global scale, trusted across sectors, and community-oriented open-source. They can use ODK as is, participate in its improvement, or try compatible alternatives. Those are huge benefits that you should certainly tell your client about!

1 Like

Thank you Ronald...Appreciate your response.
Thank you as well Yaw for the insight...I will definitely give ODK Central a try.

Its good that you brought up ODK Cloud aswell....after I have thought this through....I can actually charge my client for the ODK the sense that I can charge him and collect the fee for ODK cloud and pay it over to you if I have to go the ODK cloud route.