Costs and Benefits
For quite a while now I have had a single rate of $50 per hour. I start the clock when I begin to work on your project, or leave home to go to your place. I stop the clock when I stop or return. Pretty simple.
I think that's been a good deal most of the time and an exceptional deal when I was working on a development project. I haven't changed my rate in a while, and rather than do that unilaterally, I'm going to introduce a development rate of $60 per hour, which is still a lot cheaper than you will find from professionals in Canada. Non-development stays at $50.
These rates are less than the going rates because I expect to have to compromise if I'm going to pick and choose my working schedule. There will be weeks that I'm not available for as long as you want or on the days that you want. C'est la vie.
The benefit to you is that you are getting someone who has been developing common sense for 40+ years in many IT disciplines, all for the cost of someone with far less experience. Further, if at the end of a day you don't feel the result was worth the cost, let me know immediately and I will not bill you for that day.
In general this includes any kind of work that involves systems analysis, coding, programming or database changes. Another way of saying this would be to say work that involves planning or writing new parts of a system or modifying old parts of anything that is or was created using a programming or database language (I'd include CSS but not HTML) would be development. However, changing the content of an existing web page, creating a new web page based on an existing template, running programs, updating data using an existing protocol (even if it uses different parameters), running database queries or other existing programs or code would not be counted as development. That isn't by any means exhaustive, but you get the idea, I hope. If in doubt, ask!
Ask any IT person: we all hate doing estimates. Now, your average consultant who is doing this stuff for a living decides what his time is worth and then adds on a percentage to cover the things that have to get done to get the business and the various costs of doing business. Because I'm semi-retired, I'm just using a number that is high enough to make it worth my while and low enough that I don't feel that I'm contributing to the bankruptcy of some of the small businesses that I'm dealing with. Essentially it's a rate that I can live with, with no overhead built in.
If you need an estimate, the nature of IT work is such that it's often quicker for me to do the thing than work out how long it will take, with any degree of accuracy. I was ending up working for peanuts and also eating my mistakes. So, learning as I go along, here's the new deal: if you want an estimate, what you'll get is my best guess as a result of a very short analysis; it will probably be in the form of a range, and if necessary only for the next phase. It is still possible that it will cost more than the top of the range, but as soon as it becomes a likelihood that there will be a significant overrun (say more than 10%) I will contact you before continuing. However, if I run into a problem which is my fault, the clock stops until I'm back on track.
If you request a firm quote, then I will need to do much more analysis, and possibly some testing and research. The amount I quote will be the amount you pay (as long as the specifications stay the same). The amount will be calculated so that, in theory, over the long run I break even; so some of the time it would have been cheaper for you to go with an estimate, or nothing at all. I will probably ask that you pay me to produce a quote -that would be up to you, of course.
Anything that doesn't clearly say it's a firm quote is an estimate!
If you have any questions about these rates, or need an estimate, please contact me by phone or e-mail.