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Discussion on: Code price-tag

pchinery profile image
Philip

We're all constantly googling basic stuff. All of us. Time is the only thing that matters when it comes to setting a rate.

That's a very debatable point of view. From a developer's perspective, this might sound reasonable, but the client will not be happy if you tell him "I don't know much, but you will pay me a hefty hourly fee to look it up on Google". Yes, everyone has to look up things, but I believe that you should treat productive hours (coding, doing real research etc) different than catching up with things you should know when you are the technology expert for the client.

The second reasonable perspective is the customer value you bring. If you can save the customer 100k per year, it's easier to charge something in the neighborhood of the first year's savings than if you calculate based on yours estimated hours and the client's savings of the next 20 years will be spent on the project. If that's a reasonable price though, the client might have to re-evaluate if it is worth for him to run the project. It's not the duty of a developer to do it with a loss just so the client can afford it.

But it gets even more complex: if you are new and want to expand your freelanceship, you might start cheaper to Hain a track record. Or to get a foot in a door with a client with great potential. Of course, the goal is in both cases that future projects will compensate for that, which is not always the case.

As last point, there might be developers with same hourly rate that work faster than you. If you just base your prices on the hours, you might not get the project if others can offer a better price, because they are more familiar with the technology.

I'm not sure if this really helps as an answer, but finding a reasonable price is really hard. If you have a good and trustful relationship with the client, you might agree on an agile model, think about an MVP and a maximum price where you would stop to re-evaluate. Until that point, it was be billed by the hour. And afterwards add feature increments with their own value.

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asparallel profile image
AsParallel

Never cut your rate to get your foot in the door. That sets a precedent you won't recover from easily.

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pchinery profile image
Philip

That completely depends on the situation. I totally agree that cutting the hourly rate will be much harder to debate later on. As I wrote, it does not have to turn out as expected if you try to get a foot in the door, but if you lower your estimate on the time (= don't bill every hour) in the first place, you can learn the technology on the way, become an expert in the area and charge every hour with the same rate for follow-up projects.

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kostassar profile image
Kostas Sar Author

I agree with that, if you need to put in extra hours to catch up with a technology that you said to the client you already know seems unfair to include in the final cost.

Also I understand that my hourly rate can't be the same as someone's who has many years of experience in the field. But I can "get my foot on the door" now and raise the rate gradually as I get more experienced, right?

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yaser profile image
Yaser Al-Najjar

Not just that Kostas, you charge depending on:

  1. Your experience (entry level, junior, mid, senior).

  2. Your current job status (working now, looking for a job, urgent job)... you won't stay with no job to work on, and it might be okay to lower the price to have something in hand instead of free hand (same goes to a client who wants urgent work done while you work on something else, you will raise the bar).

  3. Your location (if you are in India, your customer already came cuz he knows they pay less there)... how much they pay for the dev of your experience in your country?

  4. Your client location, he won't accept an unreasonable price in his point of view... he might have a price already and he thinks that's the standard since it's like that in his country (different in remote case).

  5. Who is the client? a normal guy wanting his blog ready? or a bank wanting a blog for marketing their latest tech? (silly example, but you see how to deal with different people).

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pchinery profile image
Philip

But I can "get my foot on the door" now and raise the rate gradually as I get more experienced, right?

As @asparallel wrote, this can bite you later. If you start working with a client and raise the hourly rate later on, they will probably want an explanation. But you can use the estimated time to maybe compensate for lack of knowledge at first and later align this with the real time you need as you get experienced in that area or established in the market in general.

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thomasvl profile image
Thomas van Latum

You should always charge the client for research costs. I've been coding for 15 years but that does not matter I need more or less googling then you do. You probably know tricks I don't and Visa versa. The client pays your hourly rate for doing work. And if that work is writing code or looking stuff up it does not matter.

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pchinery profile image
Philip

I still would say that it depends on a few factors. If I would research how to write a loop in JS for half an hour, I would probaly not bill that. If I research edge cases of support vector machines to evaluate if they are suitable for the client in this case, then yes, research should be billed.

Saying that every hour we spend should be billed it's our egoistic developer perspective ("I worked for an hour and the hour must be payed by someone"). The client perspective most likely is that they hired an expert who knows things they don't and is an expert in his field. So they will most of the time not be happy to pay us to learn things we should know in their perspective. So, as often, it's about finding a balance and being honest about what you offer for the hourly rate.

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kostassar profile image
Kostas Sar Author

Damn and I thought I could get by without time tracking software haha.

So yes, that balance is what I am looking for. Charge for the "important" research and maybe not charge for the hours remembering the selected language's syntax.

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thomasvl profile image
Thomas van Latum

If you are a developer that has to research how to write a loop in JS for half an hour your hourly rate should reflect that.
In my country you can get developers from 10 euro an hour to about 250 an hour. The hourly rate reflects the skill and expertise of the developer.