1 2 Previous Next 19 Replies Latest reply on Aug 18, 2015 2:44 PM by WinTechServ

    What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?

    richardsrussell

      I'm retired. I develop FileMaker Pro databases pro bono as a hobby, serving almost exclusively small non-profit organizations, chronically strapped for cash, that couldn't conceivably afford my services if I were charging market rates. But a couple of them wanted to know, for some kind of accounting purpose, what my donated time was worth. Since I never bothered to keep track, I could barely give them a guess as to how many hours I'd put in, let alone what they were worth.

       

      But that got me to wondering:

       

      What do FileMaker Pro developers charge for their time?

       

      Is it per hour or a fixed amount of money for a well-specified, limited task?

       

      Do you just use a flat take-it-or-leave-it price, or do you dicker and negotiate?

       

      Do you have written contracts or just handshake agreements?

       

      Any other considerations I should know about?

        • 1. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
          mikeinhawaii

          Richard, the best advise on this subject you will ever recieve is to look at this Amazon link, purchase the 18 dollar book shown and read it.   A very easy read and it makes an astounding difference in the lives of the readers.  http://www.amazon.com/How-Much-Should-I-Charge/dp/0984587624

          • 2. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
            Bill_Harper

            And you might find this FM-Forum topic of interest, as well: Entry Level Salary

             

            HTH...

            • 3. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
              ibrahim_bittar

              Hi Richard

               

              There is a simple principle: the bigger the frog, the bigger the stone . This is a mexican saying and means that sometimes the project price depends on the size and need of the customer.

               

              To calculate your hourly rate you could divide the monthly amount of money you need to make your living and divide it into the billable hours you have in a month. The trick is to be honest and calculate how many hours of work you can really bill a month.

               

              NEVER give a fixed price for a project.

               

              There are lots of contract templates on the net. I'd suggest you to download one of them and show it to your attorney. Tha will save you time and money. Most of the time, the sales contract comes with a Non Disclosure Agreement too.

               

              Hope you find this useful.

               

              Regards

               

              Ibrahim

              • 4. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
                jormond

                One other important factor.  Experience.

                 

                The problem with charging by the hour is this:  A newer, slower developer will make more money on a project than an experience, faster developer.  Seems a little backward doesn't it. 

                 

                So there needs to be consideration for the experience you bring to the table.  There is also a lot to be said about quality of development. The higher the quality, the more people are willing to pay because they are getting the value they expect.

                ibrahim_bittar wrote:

                 

                To calculate your hourly rate you could divide the monthly amount of money you need to make your living and divide it into the billable hours you have in a month. The trick is to be honest and calculate how many hours of work you can really bill a month.

                 

                NEVER give a fixed price for a project.

                 

                As for the "never give a fixed price for a project"...well, that hyperbole.  Fixed pricing can be a good thing for the developer and the client... But with that said, you need to really know what you are doing.  It's not for every developer that is for sure.  However, it can also provide security for the customer, knowing their cost won't go up, and they will get a finished product without being over-budget ( based on the scope of the project ).

                • 5. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
                  Mike_Mitchell

                  Fixed pricing can be a good thing for the developer and the client...

                   

                  Provided you're REALLY good at two things:

                   

                  1) Knowing what the full scope of the project is ahead of time.

                   

                  2) Controlling scope creep!   

                   

                  Mike

                  • 6. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
                    jormond

                    Absolutely Mike.  It's not for everyone. But can be a good thing when you know your development time and can keep the customer within scope.  Save "new" ideas for phase 2...and manage expectation, and deliver a good product.

                     

                    I added that last part, because I have had the unfortunate experience of working with a programmer ( and I use that word on purpose ), that I have to list EVERY little thing I want them to do.  They will do nothing out side of that list. Which is frustrating when I provide the general idea of what we need for a web page, and he only does a UI/UX that is sub-par.  We needed a developer to handle some of the thing we couldn't think of, to make the experience for web user the best it would be.  What we got was a programmer running a list.

                    Mike_Mitchell wrote:

                     

                    Fixed pricing can be a good thing for the developer and the client...

                     

                    Provided you're REALLY good at two things:

                     

                    1) Knowing what the full scope of the project is ahead of time.

                     

                    2) Controlling scope creep!   

                     

                    Mike

                    • 7. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
                      Mike_Mitchell

                      Yeah, I've seen those types. Can't draw them a picture; have to give them everything down to the last decimal place. Very … empirical sorts.

                       

                      The flip side is the customer who wants the moon and the stars, and wants to pay for … Detroit.    

                       

                      Even worse when they really don't have a good notion of what it takes to make Detroit happen, much less the moon or stars. (Got one of those now. "It doesn't take anything for it to do X!" "Uh … how would you know?") Groan.

                       

                      If everyone on both sides of the transaction can manage expectations, fixed price can work. I just tend to like going the other way; too many customers who like to add "just one more thing". That's why my org bills hourly. But you're absolutely correct in noting that, if you have a developer who tends to play fast and loose with the hours, it can go into cost overruns really fast … and that's bad for everyone.

                       

                      Cheers.

                       

                      Mike

                      • 8. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
                        flybynight

                        If it's anything like graphic design, many things get very hard to quote a price or even time. Sometimes the only thing you can do is let them know your hourly rate, then give an educated guess as to how much time it will take. Design can be more subjective, but but I'm sure there is always some back-and-forth revision time, and that is impossible to judge. I've always quoted my rate and they say that for a project like this, I would expect it to take X-Y hours, and then would expect 2-3 revisions at Z hours each before we are finished. Therefore, the price for the job should be somewhere between (Rate * (X + (2 * Z))) and (Rate * (Y + (3 * Z))).

                        If I see that a project might run past what I quoted, I have the choice of:

                        Case (

                             Fault = PoorPlanningOnMyPart ; Eat the difference and move forward ;

                             Fault = BadInfo or ScopeCreep ; Inform the client of new quote and why  )

                         

                        Hopefully this happens before the time invested gets too clos to Y. 

                         

                        That said… I think we've covered the basics in theory in how to quote projects, BUT no one has actually answered the original question of how much they charge. I'm new to freelance development myself (years of being the in-house FileMaker when-you-have-time-guy) , so I'd love to hear what the market is. Even just ballpark ranges.

                         

                        Thanks,

                        -Shawn

                        • 9. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
                          jormond

                          Or you can do it like Jonathan Stark mentioned during one of the un-sessions at DevCon.  "Just charge them a ton of money..."  I think he mentioned he told one guy he would do just about anything he wanted, for $200k.  And the customer said, "really?".  LOL

                          • 10. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
                            Mike_Mitchell

                            I tell customers, "You write the check, we'll do the work." 

                            • 11. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
                              jormond

                              So that I don't feel like the thread was totally high-jacked because of me...Richard: There is a very large range.

                               

                              I have seen jobs posted for FileMaker developers, in house, that paid $20/hr.  Which is in my opinion, very very low.  And is rare.

                              I have seen a number of in-house positions posted for $50/hr.

                              I have seen many for $75/hr.

                              I have seen developers charging $200/hr.

                               

                              Area, industry, experience, all have a big impact on the rate.  If I was forced to guess, and you signed a waiver, I would tell you that on average I see things floating around $100-125/hr for independent consultants. And around $50-75/hr for in-house developers.

                              • 12. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
                                richardsrussell

                                I'm always interested to learn about these things, and I'll bet this discussion is helpful to a lot of other developers as well, but as I said in my original post, I'm retired, and I do this stuff pro bono. I don't actually get any money for it, I don't sign contracts, and the only negotiating I do is over desired features, not price. I've been doing FMP development for 20 years, so I bring not only my own background but a large stable of pre-designed objects and techniques to any new project, but mainly what I do is tweak the living daylights out of databases I've already designed and installed — probably the sort of fine-tuning that most cash-paying customers would think of as overkill, but which I feel a certain meticulous compunction about. I don't have an office per se; I work out of my home and for about half of my customers just swap files overnight via Dropbox; the rest I service at their sites.

                                 

                                So my interest in what people charge was kind of academic, because I just wanted to be able to help the organization's accountants figure out what my time would have been worth if I'd actually been charging for it. I appreciate the actual dollar figures that people have been quoting and acknowledge that there's a wide range.

                                 

                                I have not indicated "Correct Answer" or "Helpful Answer" to any of the responses (even tho they've all been helpful), because I don't want to shut down the discussion.

                                 

                                More comments would be still more helpful. Please do carry on.

                                • 13. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
                                  nickchapin

                                  I once had a client who wanted me to work on-site for a day. Not just meet, but develop so their in-house guy could watch and ask questions. Since I really didn't want to do it (get dressed???), I told them my on-site/bother-the-developer rate was $300/hour. They said ok. I should have asked for more.

                                  • 14. Re: What's the Going Rate for a FileMaker Pro Developer?
                                    jormond

                                    We met with a company once...on-site training was $2100/person, for 3 days.

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