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Web Shops: 120 an hour?

Am i living in 1998 or are small web shops here in Southern California still charging 120 an hour for HTML and PHP scripting?

Just got quoted at 4000 bucks for a simple change to a hosted bulk-mail application, a feature which really should have been included in the first place.

Sassy
Friday, August 13, 2004

A better question is, what's the ROI on this investment. If your ROI for the burning of USD$4000 of green paper will get you much more than you expect, you probably won't have much to complain about. So talk to them about that. If they can't show pass precedents to justify any results, maybe you should find another one.

Li-fan Chen
Friday, August 13, 2004

"A better question is, what's the ROI on this investment."

Are you a profesional consultant? I'm not a big fan of ROI because it is a very subjective. The only time I've seen a proper RIO accounting was after the fact.

I can easily calculate the cost of inhouse development vs. outside contractors. But it becomes dificult judging it's return when other factors like marketing, competition, advancements and the general market outlook can affect the success of a product. Or simply would the product suck less if I had used the other team.

Calculating this effectively only comes after a enough data has come in to add up all the columns and looking at the bottom line. The I can realy see the RIO on any investment.

Sassy,

If the deal sounds bad then it probably is.  $120 an hour is not unheard of when dealing with a consulting company. But trust your instincts.

There are other contrators out there. Did they develop the application? If not look up the old developers and see if they would be willing to work on the side.

if they did develop it and you say the feature should have been included look at your cretract and see if you can negotiate a better deal.

Or just negotiate. Make an offer for $60, alot of people mark up the bid so that it can be negotiated down(a friend of mine was floored when the client accepted the inital bid). How about getting the development time shortened.

Above all, shop arround.

anon-88
Friday, August 13, 2004

120 an hour for JUST some HTML and PHP scripting?  Or are they also building your database, designing the look of your app/site, creating graphics for you, etc?

120 an hour is not out of line to have a competent consultancy do a good app or site for you.

But still, shop around.  Just remember that the cheapest solution is not necessarily the best one for you to accept.

www.ChristopherHawkins.com
Friday, August 13, 2004

We charge $135 an hour, and the clients are very willing to pay it based on our portfolio and capabilities.

Jerry
Friday, August 13, 2004

>Just got quoted at 4000 bucks for a simple change to a hosted bulk-mail application, a feature which really should have been included in the first place

If you think the change is simple why don't you do it yourself or hire a independent consultant to do it under your direction.

Looks like it is 33 hrs worth of work and asking $120/hr for such a short period is not unheard of.  By gosh there are plumbers who end up charging more than that.

It takes time to study the application, understand what you want to be done, spec it out properly, implement it, test it and not to mention provide support and warranty on it. I would think that if you are getting all that for $4000 it is a good price.

Code Monkey
Friday, August 13, 2004

It also depends on where the consultant is located.  We do a lot of work for California companies at ~ $75/hour, but we're based in Canada.

Jay
Friday, August 13, 2004

"It takes time to study the application, understand what you want to be done, spec it out properly, implement it, test it and not to mention provide support and warranty on it."

Agreed, it does take time and effort.

"I would think that if you are getting all that for $4000 it is a good price."

What makes you say that? It may take effort, but unless you've investigated the issue as stated earlier, how can you say the effort is worth any amount of money? What if it is realy only an 8hr fix and the company just wants to make more money?

anon-88
Friday, August 13, 2004

That's low.  I've seen rates in the $350/hr range for web design and development ... does IBM still charge $1k per hour for their consultants?  I would bet so, you don't get to be that big by NOT charging people!

devinmoore.com
Friday, August 13, 2004

I would be wary of buying consulting time.

Over the last five years, the software companies have bit by bit built out a lot of the business functions in software. I would have a look at some software sites (http://www.snapfiles.com/) before blowing 4 gorillas.

Them days of custom software builds are for the better part over. Where it is still needed, it has in a big part been outsourced. Some stuff you still need specialists for, but your needs sound like the sort of stuff that has been serviced in the bucketloads - especially in the open source field.

Have a look - our business uses heaps of really good open source software to carry out business tasks.

Patrick FitzGerald
Friday, August 13, 2004

>What if it is realy only an 8hr fix and the company just wants to make more money?

First of all it is hard to determine for anybody that it really is an 8hr fix or not.  Experience says that it always takes more time than one thinks it will take.  Even if it did take only 8 hr to fix what is wrong if the company wants to make more money?

Maybe they provide a better warranty and support? Maybe they have god experienced (and expensive) people to work on the problem?  If like you and the OP think that they are gouging the customer they will go out of business soon especially in such a competitive environment.

Look if you have some plumbing problem you can always get someone who stands outside Home depot and get it done cheaply or get some properly licensed and experienced guy to do it -- at a much higher cost. How important is it to you that the work be done right and how much peace of mind you want is what decides the price. To just say that $120/hr is expensive based on the figure does not make sense.

Code Monkey
Friday, August 13, 2004

"Even if it did take only 8 hr to fix what is wrong if the company wants to make more money? "

A company has every right to charge any amount. Does that mean a consumer has to accept it? In my first post I suggested the OP negotiate a better rate.

"To just say that $120/hr is expensive based on the figure does not make sense."  I never said $120 was to expensive (I said "$120 an hour is not unheard of when dealing with a consulting company").

I was challenging your assertion that "getting all that for $4000 it is a good price." My example if it being smaller was only to show that it might not be a good deal.

anon-88
Friday, August 13, 2004

"Them days of custom software builds are for the better part over."

Not if you're building for verticals.  There are plenty of SMBs who prefer to have management tools custom-built rather than purchase a lackluster off-the-shelf system.

www.ChristopherHawkins.com
Friday, August 13, 2004

This is typical for a high quality web consulting company.

Lee
Friday, August 13, 2004

I personally know the people at the shop, I used to work there.  This is a pass-thru expense that is basically some scripting to a hosted app's spec.  It should take a competent developer all of 8-16 billable hours. - 1-2  days work.

The issues here:
* a 1k project management fee despite the project being completely spec'd in 6 bullet points

* We don't have access to the hosted app, or else believe me, I would do this myself

* recurrent fees each time this task needs to be done, which is essentially every time we want "custom interfaces" (e.g HTML forms!) to the bulk mailer,

There is no way I am paying for this, just was interested in the resultant discussion.

Sassy
Friday, August 13, 2004

I'll do it for $75/hr. ;-)

Brad
Friday, August 13, 2004

In Sarasota, Florida, we charge $65/hour. It depends where you're located.

Yoey
Friday, August 13, 2004

Wow,
These fees are astounding. As a poor college student in the midwest of USA I have to work at a retail store making my $9.50/hour while you guys charge at least $65/hour for stuff that I do on my spare time.
How do you find clients willing to pay these amounts? Are your clients thru networking or some sort of other marketing. I would love to start my own web development company but have no idea where to start.

James Thomas
Friday, August 13, 2004

"Just got quoted at 4000 bucks for a simple change to a hosted bulk-mail application"

Maybe they just hate spammers like yourself and want to screw you any way they can.

The entire world
Friday, August 13, 2004

> I would love to start my own web development company but
>  have no idea where to start.

That's why they are changing $120/hr. There's a difference between being able to knock up some scripts in your free time versus running a business which does it.

Matthew Lock
Friday, August 13, 2004

"Maybe they just hate spammers like yourself and want to screw you any way they can."

Was there rat poison in your wheaties this morning?  It's opt-in, people sign up for newsletters and stuff. No spam here!

Sassy
Friday, August 13, 2004

Yea, newsletters and "stuff"...

The entire world
Saturday, August 14, 2004

inhale that crack deeep into your lungs....

Sassy
Saturday, August 14, 2004

Rates are dependent strictly upon value.  Here's an example.  I proposed a new type of Blog designed for intranet use - for a large company in town.

The rate for the upfront design work will be well over 120 an hour.  But there's a lot more to it than slinging markup and hitting a bunch of MySQL tables.

To pitch the idea, I used a mockup similar to the one depicted here:

http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2004/08/desklog-part-4-heres-mockup-of-desklog.html

IMO, it's simply about mapping client needs to a creative solution.

dir at badblue com
Saturday, August 14, 2004

www.rentacoder.com

Ditch your overpriced webshop.
Find a guy with rates that are 90% lower.

Bella
Sunday, August 15, 2004

$120 is probably a reasonable market rate if you're going through a consultancy.  This means you can kick 'em around later if holes are discovered, or whatever--the extra bucks go towards dealing with an established business and the benefits appertaining thereunto.

Also, a high-ish hourly rate helps the consultancy screen out potential customers who have (a) no budget, or (b) little sense of the risk of changing software.  Those potential customers are not generally convertible to satisfied customers.

Protocol adventurer
Sunday, August 15, 2004

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