So... I've been making projects for some companies, but this is the first time they ask me to declare my costs (up till now the cost was fixed before the agreement was signed).

I have to make client application for blackberry _AND_ server application for windows 2k3 _AND_ some form of a keygenerator. The client application is to receive text entered by the user, send it to the server. The server then is to perform some spell-checking and send misspelled words along with their correct versions to the client. Only authorised users (the ones who pay for the service) will be allowed to use the application, thus the keygenerator. Communication between client and server is to be encrypted (preferably using SSL/TLS). The company provides some kind of a vocabularies to be used.

My question is simple: how much would you take for this project? :)
Posted on 2006-10-26 14:01:47 by ti_mo_n
Considering the amount of different components you need to interact, and that there's "security stuff" (keygen and SSL/TLS) involved, I'd say at least $1k, of course depending on where you live in the world. A big company would charge more. Depending on the specifics (just how much you need to develop yourself, and how many ready-made components you can use), I think you'd be able to get away with $3k for such a project in .dk working as a freelancer...

Posted on 2006-10-26 14:06:59 by f0dder
Hi f0dder :)

The company is in the US. I have to make, like, 80% alone (from scratch). The remaining 20% is provided by the company.

So, you say something about $1K-$3K?
Posted on 2006-10-26 14:09:33 by ti_mo_n
I don't know what the situation is like in the us (outsourcing and all), I don't know the specifics, and I don't know the company - so it's hard to tell :). But I don't think I'd take on a project like that for less than $1k.

You should make some rough estimate of how long the project will take you (split into subtasks, write estimates for each subtask - ToDoList rocks), and compare time taken and income it to previous projects...
Posted on 2006-10-26 14:13:20 by f0dder
A month ago I did a port+optimization of my company's older 68k spellchecker to ARM (but keeping the endianness of the inputted and outputted data, and total backwards-compatibility),  earned a bit less than $1k (which is more than necessary in my country. PS: equals 4-5 months' salaries of mine). The spellchecker was based on a licensed spellchecking software that costs $3000.

Good that it's not your company that starts providing this service, we're planning on taking a bite at blackberries with spellchecking ;)
Posted on 2006-10-26 16:03:23 by Ultrano
I don't mean to butt in but I think pricing out a project without a project plan is insane. Put all of the modules that need to be completed in a list, estimate the amount of time it will take each segement (write down all the functions you will need, etc..) come up with a price per hour the industry is charging or how much you need to make... depending on the complexity of the language and how many people code in it. 

Back in the late 90's it used to range from $90 - $235/hr (That's what I was paid).  Now I think they pay coders $0.50 a day in India...

Take the number of hours and divide by 8 and you'll have how many days it will take for your project. The guy paying you doesn't pay you enough to sacrifice your "life" for a project.. Not after they took the market out of the US and pay smart guys/gals like you pennies on the dollar.

If you want to kill yourself writting 80% of ANY system for $1000, I think you need to think about how much you're worth.

If it takes you 50 days to complete the project... that's $20 a day. You would be homeless here in the US with a salary like that. 

BTW (directed to everyone who thinks $1000 is a lot of money) if you have a computer and electricty... how can you afford the computer you're programming on?  Did you steal it?  $1000 would by you a lousy PC in the states... how much do you pay for software?  $1000 for adobe products?  or do you just bootleg them?
Posted on 2006-10-28 09:27:01 by Duh_Newbie

$1000 would by you a lousy PC in the states...

$1000 - a lousy PC... uhumm...
What's your definition of a decent PC? 8GB mem, multiple 4GHz CPUs, cutting edge expansion cards, and a 28' LCD display?
Posted on 2006-10-28 13:07:49 by arafel
perhaps lousy was apoor choice of words... how about midrange

This was on best buy's site...

Velocity Micro - Gamer's Edge DualX 3800+ Desktop - Black T1125
AMD Athlon? 64 processor 3800+; DL DVD?RW/CD-RW and DVD-ROM drives; 250GB Serial ATA/150 hard drive; 1GB PC3200 DDR400

Our Price: $1,599.99

Notice there's no monitor.... guess it's laced in gold or something?... no.. it's just a plain old AMD pc...
Posted on 2006-10-28 15:05:47 by Duh_Newbie
Duh, I'm pretty fine with my Sempron3000+, 512MB DDR, K8N, Audigy and LG 17" CRT, and some designers' peripherals. (this is just my 4th PC since 2001, and it's total price is less than $1k).  I just didn't like not being able to use my recently bought R9600GE. I was perfectly happy with a Sempron2200+ and A7N, until the latter died recently. My PCs are for work, and PS2 is for games.

Why should I pay $1000 for a damn nagging, mem-hogging PhotoShop, when there's the much-better GIMP (which is what I use for all graphics). Oh yes, you need that $1600+$300 PC to run it properly - now I get it!
As far as compilers and devices and KB, and all other software/hardware necessary to do my job go, my company provides it all.

You can't really imagine what it is to live here, so don't try spouting assumptions. Also, I don't work full-time, it's like a part-time secondary job that I enjoy. Also, it's my only option for work (at constant salary, on top of it) at this time. Because meanwhile I'm going to university, usually it's 6-12 hours/day, and I haven't been to bootcamp yet (which puts a big label on my forehead: "don't hire" ). It's just not my time yet... (indirectly by law) to be able to search/ask for more.
And btw, I think it was not 50, but 7 days I took for that project (from scratch to final beta approval).

P.S: if you were so concerned about prices, you should spend a few hours on researching what to buy, instead of relying on bestbuy. The same parts mentioned, really cost no more than $1100, VAT incl. So, you can buy 8 more games with the money saved. And a gamer would buy an X1900X instead of the older 7900, as it's just a few % more expensive, more % better in performance, and ATi-rendered graphics don't suck.

Back to the topic: timon, calculate the price just like Duh said. Though, I think you've already finished the project, unless BlueBerry's Java is new to you :) . Really, $1k should be your minimum (even if you complete it in a few hours).
Posted on 2006-10-28 15:37:49 by Ultrano
No, but I pretty sure it's laced in a $200 worth case (neon-lights & stuff), has a $500 mobo which can be replaced with a much cheaper one without any performance hit, and includes some top notch gfx beast (above info doesn't say, but since it's described as a 'Gamer's Edge' there must be some pricey gfx card) which will be useful only for heavy gamers.
I bet you can assemble an equally performing system for less than a half grand.
Just for sake of illustration; two weeks ago I got a P4 Prescott 3.0MHz, 1GB DDRII 533Mhz, an average motherboard (includes sound and nic), nvidia 6200 video card with 128mb, and a good dvd writer - for $300. And I even don't won't to mention that hardware prices in my region usually 20% higher than in USA or some parts of Europe. Maybe this configuration won't satisfy many gamers, but it does perform (very) well for average user's tasks.
For another $600 one can get a good monitor and all the missing parts; input devices, casing, hd. And here ya go! A fully functional and snappy system for less than 1k.
Posted on 2006-10-28 16:45:52 by arafel
I meant no disrespect and the PC cost wasn't the issue. It was cost of goods and what a skill is worth.

True very true... there are a lot of "whirly gigs" put on PC's today. I was just trying to point out people doing an international job should price themselves according to market.. Even if it's a part-time job... if you give it away, no one is going to say, "oh please, let me pay you more."

Last time I checked the majority of hardware and software purchases are made by Americans... Soon the Asian Market will be where it should (assuming the world doesn't hit a financial slump) and then competition will set the price.

So once again... do a project plan and try to not sell yourself short. Last thing you want is to get sued over sloppy work because you didn't plan for it and tried to cut corners.
Posted on 2006-10-28 22:44:10 by Duh_Newbie
The company I was formerly with before my move to Kelowna needed a program written for a StrongARM handheld and asked if I would tackle the project. This was ofcourse the reason for my shortlived interest in embedded programming and the ARM processor in general. I quoted a price of $3000.00 Canadian, a company in India quoted $350.00 for the same program. Eventually they did go with mine as it was much smaller and less buggy but they bought the other first. It was only after attempting to get support for a large number of bugs and problems with the programmer not understanding the business or usage that they gave up and paid me to do it. It took roughly 3 months to learn enough about the PPC and ARM to write the program and test it in the field, a total of around 200 hours. That only works out to $15.00 an hour which was much much less than my base salary, they got one hell of a  deal. Did it bother me ? not really, I don't do this for a living and so it was more of a puzzle to entertain me, the money was a bonus.

In short, don't expect that you can compete with the "discount" off shore software houses in terms of price, you'll never win. The only thing you can offer is support, market knowledge and quality, if the customer is looking for a bargain at any level of quality then walk away, you have already lost the bid.

As a final piece of advise, go to rentacoder and other sites like it, you can usually get a rough idea of what customers are expecting to pay for similar software, at the very least it gives you a starting point.

Posted on 2006-10-29 11:25:24 by donkey
I forgot to thank you guys for your answers, so... Thank you guys for your answers xD The lecture was very helpful ^^
Posted on 2006-11-02 12:27:32 by ti_mo_n