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Discussion on: How do you price yourself?

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turnerj profile image
James Turner

The project I am working on was discussed as a fixed sum.
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In this case, I am having my second meeting with the project lead on Wednesday in regards to some up-front essentials such as a definitive written statement of work for the software tasks, project schedule and milestones and cost and budget estimates. I would be providing how much I'd like to be paid.

I only have to go with what you've stated so far so I don't know what limitations there might be to negotiation, the size of the project etc etc but I do have some thoughts that might help.

Get everything in writing!

Specifically in this case, both the amount you will be paid, the deliverables required and any other specific details of the services you will be providing. This is primarily to protect you in case anything goes south later on - not saying that will happen, it is always helpful to have these things detailed for reference later. You will want to make sure if the requirements change and there is more work, you will be adequately compensated.

When you try to determine how much you would want to be paid, I personally would look at the situation in how much time you are giving and how much you feel you value each hour of that time. This way also helps if the project expands in scope later, you can just work out the time and multiply from there.

You probably haven't had much experience with time estimating programming work yet and if so, here are a few tips for that:

  • Break things down into small pieces, it is easier to estimate for an individual piece of functionality than a whole project
  • It can help "visualizing" the actual work you would need to do (eg. need to create 3 classes, 2 new database tables and a controller that links them together) so you know more specifically how you might approach it
  • With #2, it is also important to remember that not only can the requirements change but your understanding of the requirements might change when you get started. You may want to pad your time by some margin if you feel there is an "easy" and "hard" way to implement something.
  • If you're still unsure about an aspect of the requirements which prevents you from working out how long something takes, make sure you ask!

Now if you have the time component for the tasks down, working out an hourly rate to multiply that by to get that fixed sum is still a "where do I start" type question. I don't know what wages are like where you live (in both tech and otherwise) but if the project is for a local business/organisation, it might be worth looking at local wages for any job that you might otherwise be able to get.

Say for example the average wage if you did something that wasn't software was $15/hour, I would definitely be starting at that price as a base. Maybe push it up a few dollars as software development is a relatively specialised field. Maybe up a few more dollars to give you negotiation power so if they are hesitant, you can lower it a little without impacting a number you are comfortable with.

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Thomas Hanson Author • Edited

Specifically in this case, both the amount you will be paid, the deliverables required and any other specific details of the services you will be providing. This is primarily to protect you in case anything goes south later on - not saying that will happen, it is always helpful to have these things detailed for reference later. You will want to make sure if the requirements change and there is more work, you will be adequately compensated.

That’s an awesome idea. That’s what we planned, but for sure you made excellent points.

You probably haven't had much experience with time estimating programming work yet and if so, here are a few tips for that

You are correct, but that’s some excellent advice. I’ll definitely plan that ahead of time before I begin work.

Say for example the average wage if you did something that wasn't software was $15/hour, I would definitely be starting at that price as a base. Maybe push it up a few dollars as software development is a relatively specialised field. Maybe up a few more dollars to give you negotiation power so if they are hesitant, you can lower it a little without impacting a number you are comfortable with.

Excellent advice! I appreciate it greatly! And yes, you’re absolutely right. Time estimation and breaking it down will definitely help. Thank you for your contribution ❤️

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