Fog Creek Software
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pricing power

Regarding the recent comments here concerning being an independent contractor and what to charge, I had the following somewhat relevant experience this weekend.

I paid $89/hr for a rooter service to come out and snake a sewer line for me.  There was a special tool involved:  A decrepit thing that rotated the actual 'snake'.  It had two controls used to operate it:  off/on and rotate.  I've done some plumbing work before, but I didn't know how to tackle this job (go in through a vent pipe, remove one of the toilets, dig up a line, ...), and I didn't have a big enough snake anyway (no pun intended) so I decided it was worth it to pay someone. 

So... are your services worth $100/hr?  What are you doing to eliminate your customer's pain?  Are you the guy running the rooter machine or are you the guy running the business? 

I don't think the guy was making $89/hr * 40hrs/wk * 48wks/yr = $170,880/yr.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Absolutely. I've paid:

* $150 for a guy to clean my chimney with a special vacuum. Took him five minutes to set up, one minute to run, and five minutes to clean up.

* $175 for a guy to pump out my septic tank. I had to dig the thing open - he charged $50 extra if I wanted him to dig the hole. It took him about 30 minutes.

* $250 for a plumber to fix a crack in the sink and a leak behind the toilet. He had to come back the second day with the parts but the job took about 30 minutes.

So a friend of my aunt's asks me to come and solve his computer problem - he's lost all his data after he got mad and kicked his computer across the room. I don't want to do it but auntie says he can't find anyone who can do it. His hard drive is messed up bad but I manage to recover the precious lost novel he's been working on for the last five years. He complains that I can't restore the whole hard drive and refuses to pay the $500 I ask for a full days work that included pulling the damn platter and resetting it in another drive mechanism.

Dennis Atkins
Monday, January 19, 2004

I'm on my way to the hardware store :-)

Monday, January 19, 2004

Maybe we should start a placement organization that places high tech works with low paying jobs into high paying jobs that require little technical work [plumbing, gardening, roofing]. And we could charge a fee even. :)

Dustin Alexander
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

It would be awful hard to outsource our plumbing to India.

Dustin Alexander
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I thought we already outsourced plumbing/roofing/gardening to Mexico?

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

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