Questions for professional programmers who are often contracted out for various positions rather than being part of a company.

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41
votes
6answers
28k views

How should I determine my rates for writing custom software? [closed]

For a custom software that will likely take a year or more to develop, how would I go about determining what to charge as a consultant? I'm having a hard time coming up with a number, and searches ...
45
votes
28answers
29k views

Why are more programmers not freelance these days? [closed]

Leaving the whole pie to only a few of them, amplifying the huge differences between the two status. Pay is a (huge) one, not having to do overtime is another. I leave the question open to hopefully ...
32
votes
7answers
2k views

Who should pay for fixes/bugs?

So I just started freelancing both in desktop/web development and this client who already accepted my work, and payed me keeps coming back at me each time he finds a bug etc. And I have found myself ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

How Do You Determine Your Hourly Rate? [closed]

In pricing a service or product it is general practice to not merely charge for the effort spent and the costs involved + margin but from the value delivered down. As an independent consultant, how do ...
16
votes
9answers
2k views

Quit my job (for a new job). Old job wants me to be available for contracting. Steps to take?

The company I am leaving has asked that I make myself available to answer questions and/or debug programs occasionally should the need arise. I'm not opposed to this. After searching google for some ...
112
votes
18answers
17k views

How should I charge for programming things which take two minutes to fix? [closed]

I am really confused with this. I believe that the more I am getting experience, the more I am becoming an expert at finding mistakes and fixing them quickly. Now my boss got website from a ...
13
votes
7answers
11k views

What to learn to become freelancer? [closed]

I have around 8 years experience in software development. I have worked on application development all these years using C++ /win32. I few years from now I want to become a freelancer . I tried to ...
21
votes
10answers
5k views

Hand over source code to customer

I have made a couple iphone applications for a customer and was asked today to hand over the source code so that they could do the maintenance if this should be required. Until now, no code issues ...
66
votes
14answers
48k views

How is a “Software Developer” different from a “Software Consultant”? What makes a consultant?

I have seen a lot of people claiming themselves to be a "software consultant". These consultants do what a normal software developer does, write code, estimate tasks, fix bugs and attend meetings etc. ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

How much can I charge for this a little job? [closed]

I started doing freelancing. I got my first job to create a set of reports. The business team has provided me with the sample reports and also some sample codes. My job is to query the database and ...
26
votes
12answers
3k views

Where to find clients? [closed]

My main area: web development. Of course, I don't expect anybody give away their 'gold mine' or whatever but I am struggling to see where I should be advertising my services. I have one other ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

Freelancers: How Do You Go About Gathering Requirements?

As a freelance programmer: What is your process for gathering requirements from a client? How much time does the requirement gathering process take you? I know this is not fixed, and there are ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Are missed deadlines common in programming jobs? [closed]

It was my freelancer job at oDesk. I have done several jobs earlier in given time, but is was the first time I missed the deadline. It was a very lengthy job and I tried my best but I still missed the ...
13
votes
9answers
4k views

Do you work contract projects in addition to your full-time job?

As developers do you ever seek out contract work in addition to your full-time job? I am considering pursuing some additional part-time opportunities and I'm curious how common it is among full-time ...
10
votes
4answers
864 views

Hourly or per project billing? [closed]

How do you bill your programming projects? Do you do it per hour? Per job? Please include what kind of project you are doing in the answer. (Mobile, Web, Desktop, etc... You can be more specific if ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the preconditions to get an experienced developer from working as a freelancer to owning a small software company? [closed]

I've been a software developer for 8 years. I've worked on about 20 projects, some smaller, some bigger. I know how to help myself by using google magic, msdn, youttube, tutorials, how-to's etc. I'm ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Freelancer.com—Any opinions? [closed]

Has anyone ever tried Freelancer.com (former GetAFreelancer.com)? Does anyone have any opinions/feedback on the site? I would like to start some projects as a freelancer but I would really like to ...
9
votes
5answers
660 views

Contractor vs Consultant [closed]

For a programmer, two of the most common terms that seem to be overloaded are contractor and consultant? Is there a difference between the two?
10
votes
7answers
2k views

Freelancing - Share the source code? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Hand over source code to customer I have developed a couple of form based windows application in vb.net for a client and they all work well and he paid me through a ...
8
votes
8answers
667 views

Is it reasonable to NOT provide technical documentation and unit tests to client?

As an independent vendor being contracted to write a product for a company, is it reasonable to ship only the source code and user documentation while leaving out design documents, architecture ...
5
votes
2answers
989 views

Crucial programming-for-hire contract points? [closed]

What are some important and easily-overlooked points that should be in a programming-for-hire contract? We recently had a learning experience as a client hiring a programming company: in the contract ...
351
votes
21answers
86k views

My customer wants me to record a video of how I develop his software product

Working as a freelancer, I often see strange requests from my customers, some of which can negatively affect my daily work¹, and others trying to set some sort of control. I usually encounter those ...
26
votes
3answers
999 views

What advice would you give to someone going freelance? [closed]

I'm trying to get out of the Corporate game and go indie. I've always prided myself on being a jack of all trades so I think it suits me. If you're a freelancer or independent, what's the best advice ...
36
votes
9answers
2k views

How do you price your work?

Well, let me explain : This has really been an issue for me, for such a long time. And what is worse - since coding is something I simply ADORE (I would definitely do it, even if there was no payment ...
30
votes
5answers
7k views

Becoming a part-time freelancer [closed]

I have a full time job as a senior software developer. It pays well but the work is unsatisfying for many reasons. I often daydream about going freelance but don't want to throw away a stable paycheck ...
36
votes
14answers
1k views

How to improve relationships between consultants and staff programmers

I have been a consultant for a small software consulting firm for quite some time now. Our normal business model is not staff augmentation, but such that we find clients who need assistance in ...
29
votes
17answers
3k views

A client wants us to screen work machines for pornography. Is it possible?

A long-time client has asked us to help screen their work machines for pornography. They're worried about liability if sensitive materials were found. Their main concerns (for obvious reasons) are ...
25
votes
11answers
2k views

How to bill a client for frequently-interrupted time [closed]

I find that when I'm working on hourly-billable projects (in particular, those that are research/design/architecture-oriented as opposed to straight coding) that I'm easily distracted by any number of ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

finding high end software contracting jobs [closed]

I've been contracting for about 3 years now. I am currently a contractor for a web firm. This is a hourly position. I want to find larger projects. I had read that some people are able to only do one ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Employee vs Contractor mentality and career [closed]

I'm trying to work something out which isn't quite covered in any of the other "contractor vs employee" threads. In a nutshell: Is there a natural (possibly even hard-wired and inborn) tendency for ...
5
votes
1answer
290 views

Typical agreements for freelance development? [closed]

I am just starting out my programming career and I have a chance to bid on a freelance job. I have looked over the specifications for the app and believe I am capable of meeting the requirements ...
12
votes
9answers
526 views

Are there any arguments that can make a contractor reconsider working on fixed price?

I've been working for a contractor who brings in some good projects, but they are all fixed-price and often fixed-time. As a result he always has me making a quote over loose requirements, which ...
31
votes
10answers
3k views

Contractor - Acceptable Payment Terms?

I'm wondering whether or not I've done the right thing as a contractor. Basically I'm in to my 3rd month, and my current client messed up the payment in the first month, and I just found out that they ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Should I continue to perform freelance work for customers who keep on demanding more without paying? [closed]

So a client comes to me and says it needs some work done. Basically 4 tasks, which I agreed to perform for a certain price. The customer creates the job offer (a fixed time and price job) on ODesk, I ...
9
votes
5answers
464 views

Charging by the hour/project [closed]

This is related to a question I asked earlier - How to end a relationship with a client without pissing them off? What are your obligations when charging by the hour vs charging by project? If you ...
7
votes
5answers
343 views

What do you do to make the client understand that requirements not mentioned in contract should be charged separately?

I've done a very small project for a specified amount of payment. The project was some client-side validation code. However, now client asks for code improvement (general code improvement including ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

How do freelancers know how much their work is worth?

I want to start a bit of freelancing in web development using ASP.NET MVC3 and PHP and I already have some people who are interested in hiring me, but I still can't figure out how much to charge for ...
3
votes
3answers
171 views

Freelancing as an individual. Products as a company. Should I integrate the two to grow?

When I started my company in 2005, I began with freelancing projects, but quickly moved to products. My personal site listed my consulting availability and portfolio pieces, which included a selection ...
1
vote
5answers
2k views

Statistics on time estimates for web application

I have been asked to help estimate the time it would take to develop a web application. I will not be involved in the actual programming, but I am participating as an "experienced" programmer. The ...
34
votes
13answers
3k views

“Kill switch” in customer hosted environments, to protect payment?

I have a difficult client. Every bill is argued and debated over, and each email is parsed with a lawyers eye (because he's a lawyer), looking for a way to avoid paying for something. No amount of ...
18
votes
11answers
2k views

Company wants thoughts about their site during interview

I have an initial phone interview coming up with a company for a Senior Web Developer position and in the email they asked to prepare by signing up on their site because they'd like to hear my ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it okay to rollback code if your client refuses to pay you? [closed]

A friend of mine did some contracting work to add localization support to an existing mobile app. He was not contracted to add any other features or fix any already existing bugs. He has finished his ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

How can you distinguish a good consulting firm from a body shop?

It seems to me that most consulting firms do little more than match resumes to positions, typically with insightful criteria such as "X years experience in technologies Y and Z." But there are also ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

What to do with bad source code? [duplicate]

I have been contracted to modify an application for a software company and the source code is quite frankly, a mess. It's not commented much and the author is inconsistent with coding conventions. The ...
7
votes
3answers
744 views

Should the gating question in hiring a web developer be “Have you by yourself, or with one or two partners, ever brought a product to market?”

I've just met a guy, an engineer but a software naif, who's designed, produced, and is now selling a very nice product, a backyard zip line. He devised a new braking system for the thing and has a ...
3
votes
2answers
659 views

How to write freelancing in resume for programmers job

I had 3 years full time work experience in web development. I had to leave the job and come to overseas (my home) for 1.5 years due to personal problem, but I did some free lance work in web ...
1
vote
1answer
160 views

Referring to freelance marketplaces as evidence of the experience for a potential full-time employer

I am currently a freelancer (JavaScript) developer, and now I am striving to work more on freelance marketplaces. Some time I want to move from Russia to Canada and find full-time work there. So: How ...
7
votes
7answers
1k views

Should I charge a client for mistakes that I made? [duplicate]

After developing a website for a client, I've realized that the load time is too extreme, and some changes need to be made. The extreme load times are attributed to the bloated css/js frameworks that ...
6
votes
2answers
900 views

How can I reuse generic code for consulting between companies?

I am employed full time for company X and approached by company Y to do consulting services to write embedded C for them. While I know the basics of conflicts of interests and the big no-no's of ...
5
votes
2answers
628 views

Is it okay to add time for “unexpected delays” to a time estimate?

I've landed my first contract (hooray, self employment!) and the company is asking for time estimates. Programmers are notoriously bad at time estimates, and I know I've been laughably wrong ...