When first speaking with a client, would you charge an initial
constation fee for lets say conference calls? How would you invoice
stuff like this? on a monthly basis? Or every two weeks?

Matt Babineau
p: 603.943.4237
w: http://www.criticalcode.com
PO BOX 601
Manchester, NH 03105

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter J. Schoenster [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]] 
Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2002 12:36 PM
Subject: Re: [PHP] Paying Job...

On 25 Jul 2002 at 11:46, Gerard Samuel wrote:

> Basically, someone is looking to get a database driven site built, and

> Ive never written code for money before. Im looking for advice, as to 
> how the experienced coders in here charge for their work. Do you 
> charge by the page, script or by the hour (that would be nice).

Not talking about what to charge .... but how to charge. Good question.

I've travelled quite a bit and in a lot of countries a price is "how
much do you want to pay". Seriously, when you ask the price the answer
is usually that, 
sometimes excactly that or other times what the seller considers you
might pay based on his quick evalution of you.

Now, are software companies much different than that? I don't think so.
Try to get a price on some software "products".  Not as easy as it

What are you really selling? You are not selling "packaged" software.
You are selling a service. Most, not all, services get priced by time. I
worked at an 
ad agency and I had to account for 7.75 hours per day. I would attach my
time to jobs and the account execs would bill the clients periodically
sometimes they reduced the time I spent). Often there was the thought to
bill for value provided rather than time which is tricky if not also
walking an 
ethical borderline, imho.

I love the people who bill by the project. They will spend all of 10
minutes to "know" a project and bid. I guess most of them hope to whine
later to get 
more money.  I would bet that this method has the most success. But then
you would make more money selling drugs than providing software
so success is probably not measured by money or acceptance.

Personally, if it's a small thing like fixing something broken in
software I understand or just doing something that's pretty generic I
will provide an estimate 
of time, as in from 4 - 8 hours. The client must trust me and be willing
to pay the high figure if need be. I will usually not bill more than the
high figure if 
I've underestimated.

If it's a project (more than 15 hours) then I prefer to try and get a
blueprint going so I can determine what it is I'm going to build before
I agree to build it at 
a price. This worked for me three times, for FedEx and for an
Architectural Firm and a "monster" type job company. Usually this method
fails because 
your client will balk at paying for what is "so obvious" :) and when
other developers will also agree that it's "so obvious". 

So, imho, it is a question of "who you are" to determine how to charge.
Best bet, imho, is to try to understand the project as much as possible
and give 
them a decent range. Be prepared to spend a lot more time on it than you
budget. Try to get the job especially since it sounds like it's your
first. If they 
want a fixed price for something which isn't even fixed yet, heck, give
it, plenty of others will. Experience helps, understanding the nature of
the client 
helps ... I'd suggest do whatever you have to do to get the job, you
want the experience more than the money (possibly).


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