I learned about contracting during my internship. My friend Nima, was working 3 jobs on top of his regular job as a programmer. He was a tutor, an import/exporter, and a web developer. In fact, he was the one to give me my first contracting job doing a website for www.teslglobal.com. Since then I’ve done a lot of websites, but I always wonder if I’m charging enough.
Programming feels easy, when compared to door to door sales, or telemarketing, or cleaning toilets, all of which I’ve done. However a friend did bring up a good point, that it is only easy because the many years of knowledge I’ve accumulated. He also encouraged me to charge what I was “really worth” and not to undercut myself just to get a contract. Though I agree with him that I can program better then an absolute beginner. I find it hard to agree with the charging what I’m “really worth” statement, since I think very highly of myself, see comic.
So how does one arrive at the price for a contract? I usually check websites like elance.com for similar jobs. More importantly I ask people around me, other programmers what they feel the task is worth. I also factor in that I’m very likely to complete the task I am assigned to specification, and that I am good at understanding of what clients wants. The final cost ends up being around 50% more then the higher end of what is posted on the website. Sure there are lots of websites that help you calculate your hourly rate. But these don’t take into account:
-how badly you need the job
-what people pay currently for the exact job
-how annoying the client is
What are your thoughts on contracting?
My strategy would the to charge a brazillion dollars. You won’t get a lot of contracts, but you only need one.