The time versus the value

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Freelance Switch once did a blog entry on the benefits of charging by the project, rather than by the hour. They argue that the benefits outweigh the costs, including the benefit of increasing efficiency.

I’ve often debated this myself, and I’ve wondered whether or not charging by the job was better than by the hour. When a person charges by the hour there’s always an unknown for the client, and always a question about whether or not the contractor should be efficient and get the job done quickly, to their detriment financially.

I debated this with a few people, including Keith Casey, who seemed to think that being efficient for a client was a benefit in that they would see the developer as an efficient, honest individual. After my discussions I think I’ve devised a method.

I think it might be best on some projects to charge by the hour. I think that the points mentioned in the Freelance Switch article are reasonable. I don’t favor abandoning the by-the-hour model entirely, since some clients will prefer it or demand it, but I think that if we as developers start charging based on value (which is what every retailer does) rather than by the hour, we may see our business increase.

Tell me what you think in the comments.

Brandon Savage is the author of Mastering Object Oriented PHP and Practical Design Patterns in PHP

Posted on 8/10/2008 at 10:20 pm
Categories: Business Management, Contract Work
Tags: , ,

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