View Full Version : How much do you charge?


01-01-2008, 10:43 PM
What is considered to be a reasonable charge for developing and implementing a database for a customer? Do you charge by the hour or do you charge for functionality? Any feedback appreciated.

01-01-2008, 11:59 PM
I can't speak for others, but what I do comes out to about 120 per hour. I may be doing it by table, form, report, etc., but it comes out in the end to about 120 per hour. I did find I needed to qverestimate the time it would take to do a job. It seems that when I think it will take 12 hours, it goes more like 24 - 36. I also make a profit when I supply hardware, but try to set that up so a manufacturer somewhere is accountable for repairs if needed.

I also sell commercially with a solid program and it does much better, but you have to factor in that there is developement time, advertising and all the other good stuff that makes it a company that runs just like you were selling a hard product. Even so, the after the sale(and free support) it costs the end user about 120 per hour. This may come by way of training, extra forms, extra reports or some other form of support. So far, with sales counted in and taking into account the total cost of developement and software, machines, and advertising, I may have maded 1.38 per hour(Hmmm... Wanna buy a company??). A few more sales and this drastically rises.

By the way, this question has been asked before. I answered that one differently because things were different for me then.


Tim Kiebert
01-02-2008, 12:00 AM
This older post (http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/alphaforum/showthread.php?t=32734&highlight=per+hour) may be of help.

01-02-2008, 01:40 PM
Dave's $120/hour is a respectable number. However, my favorite developer is Frances P. from Florida. She charges $150/hour, which is an even more respectable number (she makes no secret about this). Maybe Frances charges more now, but that was what she told us at the last conference (last May). I cite her, because she has the highest number that I know of, and thus she is the winner. The worst thing is to undercharge. Low balling only hurts other developers and may cause one to cut corners. I saw one developer who charges $35/hour, which to me, is a joke. It suggests that the person is merely doing it for a hobby and has another secondary (i.e. primary) income stream - or they are retired.

01-02-2008, 02:52 PM
For what it's worth, I agree with Peter... $120 is OK, $150 is better. Our rates are based on the type and amount of work. For example, if you wanted us to provide 20 hours of service and the project had little or nothing else to offer... we would likely bid it at $250 per hour, with the hours to be provided based on our schedule. That is, we would get to the project when/as we could.

On the other hand, if you have hundreds of hours of work for us... and we believed the project provided us, in one way or another, more than "just" a work an hour get paid an hour opportunity... we may bid the project as low as $90 an hour.

In general, I assume my developers will only be "billable," 1,000 hours per year. That said... based on their salaries and our overhead... we (the company) "needs" to bill them between $90-$100 per hour JUST TO BREAK EVEN. So, $120 per hour would be the minimum if the company is to make any money at all... while $150 provides the company a reasonably good profit.

Bottom line... our hourly rate depends on the "type and amount of work," and what else, if anything, is in it for us. But, no matter what... we do not work for less than a "living wage," for the company, which is approximately $90 per hour.

Steve Wood
01-02-2008, 04:01 PM
I charge similar to Michael below. To simplify I start out with a "base price" for the common elements of a web or desktop application. That's because I have pretty evolved 'templates' that took hundreds of hours to develop, but take me little time to implement on a brand new project. That 'base price' does not increase the overall project, but helps to break it into one 'known' entity (with a list of standard features, etc.) and one which is the client's custom elements. I ask for 20-25% of the estimate up front, and then just bill hourly after that. On rare occassions I quote a fixed price, but I would like to evolve to that level.

When I first started out I undercharged for everything. I stopped that when one prospect turned down my proposal because it was significantly under what they expected, indicating I must not know what I was doing. I did know what I was doing, and so took a clue.

01-02-2008, 06:14 PM
I think Peter hit it. If Frances Peake can get it, I can too(no knock on her intended). Actually, I have never knowingly ran cross of her and i am in Florida too. I think we are about 300 miles away though.

I had been thinking it was time to go up a bit. I use the hourly when estimating a job and rarely do a job on an hourly basis. I figure the hours it should take for me to do the work, multiply by 120 and then double it. I don't get much resistance at my now pricing, so going up a little should be fine. 150 would be much nicer.

The best business I have is when someone calls for a form to be printed for a car program. Most of the major software companies want to charge 250 or more to fill in a form. I can get 100 - 150 to do it and complete in 15 to 30 minutes and that is sent to them in that time period. I already have most of the forms made and it only takes a few minutes to move the fields around to fit.

Remember, There are always callbacks for more work and if you did it, it becomes much easier for you to do the changes and can be very profitable.

Contracts are a must! Detail is a must! Complete agreement is a must!! The other thread that was referred to covers most of this. Sometimes a contract lawyer is a must to be sure the wording is correct for legal purposes. It costs money and should be figured for in your contract. Be SURE to use your own attorney!


01-02-2008, 07:56 PM
Thanks to all of you who replied to my question. A very informative discussion.

Does anyone know of or have a list of things to consider (checklist) when quoting for a database build and implementation.

Steve Wood
01-02-2008, 08:10 PM
Here are the most basic questions I ask: http://alphatogo.com/request_quote.htm

I don't ask about budget on my ititial form, but ask during the first conversation.

Here is Alpha's list of questions: http://www.alphasoftware.com/services/proservice.asp

01-03-2008, 06:30 PM
Give a little hint to help here.

First: I am considered a master salesman, if there is such a thing.

the steps to any sale consist of:

Greeting: this can be a hand shake, a basic hello, or to an involved process. No matter how you got to the client, a greeting is VERY important.

Qualification: meetes 3 categories: Can Afford(what is the budget), what is wanted, what is the need. In this order - wants - can afford - needs. this to me is the most important part of the sale, because if you don't meet these there is no further. Remember, if the want and need are there, the budget may get larger. Be sure of this before you promise something that puts you in a hole.

Presentation: something must be shown the client: a mockup, past programs made: something with beauty, funtionality and similar to the desired product(want and need).

Demonstration: show the program similar to what is wanted and needed and make some of it functional. Let them feel how it works in their own hands and , if possible, on their own computer.

Close: This is a moot point unless the other steps are taken. Ask for the sale and do not be bashful about it. Name your price that has been derived by your own hard work(past and future) and tainted with the qualification step. Negotiate. Sign a contract and get as much of the money up front with a written understanding it will not be refunded.

after this: do your job and supply what you contracted for, deliver on time, make sure the client knows how and can use it. If you contracted for training of the help, then supply as much as needed.

05-27-2008, 01:03 PM
Does anyone have a generic support agreement (what is and is not covered) that they might share?

Bill Belanger

05-27-2008, 10:43 PM

That should be incorporated in your contract at time of sale. The car program(my number 1), I cover almost every thing for the first year. If the customer call about any problem pertaining to upslog, I work on it. If they opt for support after the year, I cover the same things as within the one year. My contracts also have a provision for one time printed forms generation so they get whatever forms they have made in the first stages of our relationship. After, they have to pay.

A friend of mine does have an agreement made up for support. I will try to get you a copy. He has 2 and one includes any printed state and bank forms needed.