10 Replies - 1566 Views - Last Post: 28 February 2014 - 07:55 PM

#1 RexGrammer  Icon User is offline

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Putting a price on your programming services

Posted 28 February 2014 - 11:18 AM

I'm having trouble pricing my programming services. I just have no reference values I can orient by.

The exact problem I'm having is to put a price on a simple app for .NET: a WinForms app with Insert, Delete, Index, Update Forms for editing data in an oracle db (CRUD). It should be made relatively fast (in a few days). So any input on the price point would be awesome.

On the side-note, if you could link some resource that details on how to price your applications, that would be great :)

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#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Putting a price on your programming services

Posted 28 February 2014 - 11:24 AM

There's a few ways to start.. first - if you were doing your regular job, what' the pay per hour? There's your base. Whats' the minimum wage in your area? Start there as a base. Examine local job boards and see what folks are paying per hour. Tweak as needed.
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#3 RexGrammer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Putting a price on your programming services

Posted 28 February 2014 - 11:29 AM

The dilemma I'm in is:

If I make something 3 times faster than some other person (assuming the quality's the same), won't that mean, he'll make 3 times more money for being slower?
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#4 Apokio  Icon User is offline

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Re: Putting a price on your programming services

Posted 28 February 2014 - 12:00 PM

It is going to be a trial and error thing. You won't charge enough and you might charge too much. It all comes with experience. modi gave you a starting point. If you think you can charge more then charge more. Once, you do the same type projects over again you know hpw much time it will take and will be able to charge accordingly.

It is going to be a trial and error thing. You won't charge enough and you might charge too much. It all comes with experience. modi gave you a starting point. If you think you can charge more then charge more. Once, you do the same type projects over again you know hpw much time it will take and will be able to charge accordingly.
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#5 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Putting a price on your programming services

Posted 28 February 2014 - 12:16 PM

View PostRexGrammer, on 28 February 2014 - 10:29 AM, said:

The dilemma I'm in is:

If I make something 3 times faster than some other person (assuming the quality's the same), won't that mean, he'll make 3 times more money for being slower?


This actually goes toward an equation we use in estimating projects known as the PERT project estimation equation. It can help you estimate how much time a project may take you.

(O + 4M + P) / 6

O = optimistic time (fastest case scenario it would take you)
M = most realistic time (aka the time it would probably take you on average)
P = pessimistic time (slowest case scenario it would take you)

So for instance if you look at a project and say that the fastest it would take me is probably 5 minutes, realistically more like 10 and worst case 25 you plug in the numbers

(5 + (4 * 10) + 25) / 6 = 12 minutes is what you quote the task taking you.


Now of course this is not a hard fast rule but it helps mitigate the dangers of under quoting by thinking it will take you 5 minutes and it really taking you 25 minutes. If you end up taking 5 minutes, great, you make more cash! If you take 25, ok you are going to eat it a bit, but probably not as much as if you quoted 5 knowing that realistically it would take you 10.

But as already said, experience will help. The more you know you will hit that realistic (M time) then you will be able to cut down the "P" time and get closer to hitting your ideal time estimation.

:)
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#6 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Putting a price on your programming services

Posted 28 February 2014 - 12:17 PM

View PostRexGrammer, on 28 February 2014 - 12:29 PM, said:

The dilemma I'm in is:

If I make something 3 times faster than some other person (assuming the quality's the same), won't that mean, he'll make 3 times more money for being slower?

Who is this mythical person, and why do you give a rat's puckered sphincter his speed? I said that was a base.. if you think you are a pretty polly and are worth more then sprinkle on a larger amount.

Though, in my experience, if someone is asking about how to figure how much to charge, but is doing work three times faster than an average developer, that rarely brings along equal quality.
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#7 RexGrammer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Putting a price on your programming services

Posted 28 February 2014 - 12:23 PM

Thanks for all the input. The PERT formula really helped.

Oh and, modi, it's not that I'm that faster, it was just a hypothetical question.
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#8 andrewsw  Icon User is offline

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Re: Putting a price on your programming services

Posted 28 February 2014 - 12:32 PM

If someone builds something 3 times faster then it'll probably take 3 times longer to fix when it goes wrong ;) probably a lot more.

This post has been edited by andrewsw: 28 February 2014 - 12:33 PM

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#9 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Putting a price on your programming services

Posted 28 February 2014 - 04:35 PM

Ya charge by the job, not by the hour. No smart employer is going to give you a reason to be slow, plus they have a budget for the project. You have to come in under deadline and under dollar. "A point of sale system will cost the customer X. Period." If it takes you 100 hours or 1,000 hrs that's your problem not the customer's.

Now... With that in mind you know you have to protect yourself from not working for .50 cents an hour. So its on you to make sure the contract and statement of work is worded in a way they can't get you for vague descriptions. Its also on you to be realistic about your skills. If you offer to do a job for $2,000 and it takes you 3 months of full time, then you might as well work and Wendy's asking if people want to biggie size their order for an extra dollar.

If you can estimate well, not screw around, not get distracted, you should be able to meet or beat your estimates and therefore earn near what you feel you're worth.

No real magic other than being able to be objective and realistic about what you can do, how fast you can do it, and how well you can do it.
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#10 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Putting a price on your programming services

Posted 28 February 2014 - 04:41 PM

This topic is relevant to freelancing, not software development. I will move it there.
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#11 Skydiver  Icon User is online

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Re: Putting a price on your programming services

Posted 28 February 2014 - 07:55 PM

Part of this discussion reminds me of this poster I've seen in my coworker's cubicle:
Posted Image
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