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Programmer pay - does this bidding technique work for you or anyone?

P: n/a
I know it's bordeline off topic, but this is a subject which concerns
many and is not frequently discussed.

How about: bid the project at your usual rate, but bid a much lower
rate beyond the expected project duration. This gives the client a fair
fee for service, but protects both sides from a screw-up, while
"punishing" the contractor (me) for screwing up the bid. You still have
to manage the project's scope and snuff the usual creeping featuritis,
of course.

(My research indicates that $50/hr is still roughly the baseline -
clients can get students or hackers to do their work much more cheaply,
but may not get professional quality. This of course varies by location
and economic conditions, but not widely as I've seen.)

Doing my first PHP project as a contractor, just a small scope re-write
of a very complicated form, I bid $40/hr for the first 25 hours, then
$15/hr afterwards. As I gain experience with the language, I'll move my
prices up. My first client accepts the bidding and thinks it's
reasonable and effective.

Any feedback from experienced independent contractors is most welcome!

--
--
Lynn Wallace http://www.xmission.com/~lawall
"I'm not proud. We really haven't done everything we could to protect
our customers. Our products just aren't engineered for security."
--Microsoft VP in charge of Windows OS Development, Brian Valentine.

Jul 17 '05 #1
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4 Replies


P: n/a
Raptor wrote:
How about: bid the project at your usual rate, but bid a much lower
rate beyond the expected project duration. This gives the client a fair
fee for service, but protects both sides from a screw-up, while
"punishing" the contractor (me) for screwing up the bid. You still have
to manage the project's scope and snuff the usual creeping featuritis,
of course.

Doing my first PHP project as a contractor, just a small scope re-write
of a very complicated form, I bid $40/hr for the first 25 hours, then
$15/hr afterwards. As I gain experience with the language, I'll move my
prices up. My first client accepts the bidding and thinks it's
reasonable and effective.


That is similar to the way that I had done my contracting work. I'd put
in the bid for a project and explicitly covered everything that *would*
be included. I also stated at the end that additions/changes to the
project would result in additional fees charged hourly which was at
about 60% my usual rate.

For instance, if I bid out a website or online application for PHP, I'd
have given the normal $60/hr pricing with the contract. I'd also state
that if in the future changes/additions were requested by the client
that they could take advantage of a reduced rate of $36/hr, assuming
that a full-scale bid was not required.

This would allow me to bid normally for new customers or existing
customers that wanted me to bid out projects. However, those existing
customers that would say something like, "How long do you think it would
take you to do..." would get an answer like "8 to 12 hours," and only be
charged $36/hr.

This was very effective since it kept existing clients comming back
because the prices were always lower than if they had gone out for bids.
Since I didn't have to spend extra time bidding the project (which I
always hated to do), I wasn't worried about the reduced rate.

I was so successful for me as an indie, that one of my largest clients
decided to hire me full time. in fact, they kept the same rate schedule
ideas as well.

--
Justin Koivisto - sp**@koivi.com
PHP POSTERS: Please use comp.lang.php for PHP related questions,
alt.php* groups are not recommended.

Jul 17 '05 #2

P: n/a
Hi Raptor!

On Mon, 27 Oct 2003 11:53:57 -0700, Raptor <me@attbi.com> wrote:
I know it's bordeline off topic, but this is a subject which concerns
many and is not frequently discussed.

How about: bid the project at your usual rate, but bid a much lower
rate beyond the expected project duration. This gives the client a fair
fee for service, but protects both sides from a screw-up, while
"punishing" the contractor (me) for screwing up the bid. You still have
to manage the project's scope and snuff the usual creeping featuritis,
of course.

(My research indicates that $50/hr is still roughly the baseline -
clients can get students or hackers to do their work much more cheaply,
but may not get professional quality. This of course varies by location
and economic conditions, but not widely as I've seen.)

Doing my first PHP project as a contractor, just a small scope re-write
of a very complicated form, I bid $40/hr for the first 25 hours, then
$15/hr afterwards. As I gain experience with the language, I'll move my
prices up. My first client accepts the bidding and thinks it's
reasonable and effective.


I made good experiences with offering fixed price contracts. You have
to nail down the specs a bit more and calculate more "air" into it,
but certailnly no one says "no", if you offer it for a fixed price
"off the shelf"

HTH, Jochen
--
Jochen Daum - CANS Ltd.
PHP DB Edit Toolkit -- PHP scripts for building
database editing interfaces.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/phpdbedittk/
Jul 17 '05 #3

P: n/a
Justin Koivisto <sp**@koivi.com> wrote in message news:<fq***************@news7.onvoy.net>...
Raptor wrote:
How about: bid the project at your usual rate, but bid a much lower
rate beyond the expected project duration. This gives the client a fair
fee for service, but protects both sides from a screw-up, while
"punishing" the contractor (me) for screwing up the bid. You still have
to manage the project's scope and snuff the usual creeping featuritis,
of course.

Doing my first PHP project as a contractor, just a small scope re-write
of a very complicated form, I bid $40/hr for the first 25 hours, then
$15/hr afterwards. As I gain experience with the language, I'll move my
prices up. My first client accepts the bidding and thinks it's
reasonable and effective.


That is similar to the way that I had done my contracting work. I'd put
in the bid for a project and explicitly covered everything that *would*
be included. I also stated at the end that additions/changes to the
project would result in additional fees charged hourly which was at
about 60% my usual rate.

For instance, if I bid out a website or online application for PHP, I'd
have given the normal $60/hr pricing with the contract. I'd also state
that if in the future changes/additions were requested by the client
that they could take advantage of a reduced rate of $36/hr, assuming
that a full-scale bid was not required.

This would allow me to bid normally for new customers or existing
customers that wanted me to bid out projects. However, those existing
customers that would say something like, "How long do you think it would
take you to do..." would get an answer like "8 to 12 hours," and only be
charged $36/hr.

This was very effective since it kept existing clients comming back
because the prices were always lower than if they had gone out for bids.
Since I didn't have to spend extra time bidding the project (which I
always hated to do), I wasn't worried about the reduced rate.

I was so successful for me as an indie, that one of my largest clients
decided to hire me full time. in fact, they kept the same rate schedule
ideas as well.


Damn this has been a hobby of mine since the bottom fell out of the
market for coders which oddly enough was about the same day I got my
Bachelors Degree. If the market has picked back up and people are
actually paying real money again, maybe I should start hiring out my
services. Thanx for the great Ideas on bidding, I'll keep that in
mind, I'ld never really thought of that :)

What would be a good fee to charge for a project, for someone just
starting pro and coming from 2 years of "hobbyist level". Keeping in
mind, some of the hobbyist stuff has included some major open source
projects? In other words, what is a fair "starting wage" considered
right now?
Jul 17 '05 #4

P: n/a
Steve wrote:
What would be a good fee to charge for a project, for someone just
starting pro and coming from 2 years of "hobbyist level". Keeping in
mind, some of the hobbyist stuff has included some major open source
projects? In other words, what is a fair "starting wage" considered
right now?


Whatever the market can bear. :-)

I did research this, as I was concerned that with my 18 years of
programming experience and the budget that grew with it, I had been
priced out of the market. I was relieved by what I found.

One rule of thumb I've heard over the years is to lop 3 zeros off your
annual salary as an employee for your hourly rate. That can work.

Fees you see on rentacoder.com are frequently stunning (low). But I
found a few PHP programmer discussion fora threads that established
$50/hr as the standard professional fee, going up from there. Since I'm
new at this type of programming, I set a slightly lower price.

As a fresh grad, you'll want to charge less than the baseline. You
learn a lot from the real world (which you've experienced to some
extent), and that shows up in your pricing. Since you've been doing it
for free (danged low-ballers!:-) you by definition "don't need the
money" and can afford a lower fee at first.

--
--
Lynn Wallace http://www.xmission.com/~lawall
"I'm not proud. We really haven't done everything we could to protect
our customers. Our products just aren't engineered for security."
--Microsoft VP in charge of Windows OS Development, Brian Valentine.

Jul 17 '05 #5

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