FileMaker Inc. is offering small businesses a couple of new ways to get started with building custom applications with the release of a new “starter app” and an expert consultation service, the Apple Inc. subsidiary announced on Tuesday.

Filemaker, which offers software that allows companies to build their own apps compatible with iOS, Mac OS X, Windows, and the web, announced its free Service Business Toolkit today, and an Idea to iPad bundle that includes its software along with some expert guidance.

The “Idea to iPad” bundle was created in response to FileMaker customers often saying they had an idea for an app they’d like to see run on their iPad, but also feeling they didn’t have enough time to build it.

“We have people saying their team has iPads, but I don’t know how to necessarily make the most of it,” says Dara Treseder, global head of demand generation at FileMaker. “We wanted to make that more accessible to SMBs around the world.”

So the bundle includes FileMaker Pro Advanced for a one-year licence, an annual licence for FileMaker Server to deploy custom apps, the support of a customer success manager, and 10 hours of consultation with a FileMaker Business Alliance professional developer.

“We provide a way for your team to overcome challenges and optimize their workflow, with an app tailored to their specific needs,” she says.

Available at the Apple Store and directly from FileMaker, the bundle costs $2,459 in Canada, or $1,475 for non-profit and education sector organisations.

FileMaker’s free Service Business Toolkit includes an ebook, How to Transform Your Service Business, walking companies through the process of creating a custom app with FileMaker that is specific to addressing the needs of a service-based business such as a law firm or a auto repair shop.

There’s also a Starter App that helps business address some common pain points – creating invoices, scheduling, managing inventory, etc. with some basic templates.

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