[AccessD] OT:Building your business was... Rate for first tim e

Ron Allen chizotz at charter.net
Thu Mar 27 21:31:38 CST 2003

JH> I work for a company that contracts my database development services to
JH> clients.  My rates to develop Access databases range from $65 to $125 per
JH> hour depending on the location of the customer (San Antonio vs DC), location
JH> of the work (customer site vs my office) and complexity of the project.  I
JH> can assure you, I do not get the full amount.  Most of database developers
JH> (Oracle, Access, SQL Server, etc.) are salaried.  

I have a couple of questions in this thread.

First, I am a salaried developer. I work with SQL Server, Oracle,
Access, Visual Basic, and do all kinds of incidental but necessary
stuff too (DOS batch files, UNIX shell scripts, manual and other
writing, even some very basic graphics work for manual illustration
screen shots and program icons and such). I have an excellent health
benefits package, dental plan, vision plan, pension plan, 401K, and
yearly cost of living raises plus yearly profit-based bonuses. I work
a base 37.5 hours per week, and receive either comp time or time and a
half at my employer's discretion for any hours beyond that in any
given week. I don't want to quote my actual salary quite so
publically, but let's assume for argument's sake that its about
$40K/yr. I feel I am doing very well for a self-taught programmer with
no degree who turned his hobby into a profession, but I have sometimes
wondered where that salary range, all things being equal, falls for
positions of this type. I'm very happy where I'm at, but when speaking
to others I sometimes get the feeling that I'm underpaid and sometimes
get the impression that I'm overcompensated. It would be nice to have
some solid idea.

Second, I have considered attempting some consulting work on the side.
I understand the need to decide on a reasonable rate and then stick by
it. What I have concerns about is, what happens when a client needs
something that I don't know how to do without learning first or
(shudder) what happens if I screw something up? I'm a little dual
personality about my skills; I'm proud that I'm come as far as I have
with no formal training and no credentials, but it also causes me to
think twice about trying independent work. So the question is, I'm
actually pretty good, but am I good enough? How do you tell, other
than by jumping in? Should that affect the rate at all?

Thanks for any considered response.


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