Programming Rates (Money Talk)

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by ajan-ko, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. ajan-ko

    ajan-ko Member

    Aug 22, 2016
    Guys, I want to talk about LFW (looking for work) section.
    I'm pretty newbie at this.

    So basically...

    1. I can do some procedure like BFS (Breath First Search), but I can't do is probably online system. (Well, I think given some time I can understand the system) so 4$/Hour considered as expensive or not?

    2. Usually people came at me giving offers then just gone, no follow through. Is this normal, or I do something bad that turns off the offers?

    3. Is okay to ask and see the game design document first, then giving the rates before signing disclosure?
  2. cbeefje

    cbeefje Member

    Jul 1, 2017
    4$ is not expensive at all, I will send you an email.
  3. Seabass (The Human)

    Seabass (The Human) Member

    Jun 20, 2016
    1. $4 is grossly under charging. If you are really brand new and don't have a lot of experience, at least ask for $8-$10, $15 is decent as well. Most of the more experienced users charge $20 or more per hour.

    2. This is very normal. I've had a few big names (and small) come to me and then just disappear after a 2 minute text conversation.

    3. You should ask what it entails mechanic/programming wise. But you shouldn't really *need* to see any documentation to give a price estimate. A time estimate is a different story. But again, it comes down to what they need in terms of programming.
    Phil Strahl, ajan-ko, Cpaz and 2 others like this.
  4. zendraw

    zendraw Member

    Jun 20, 2016
    first, you shuldnt charge with the rates of pros, you are not one, so you start small, create relationships and gradually your price will grow. noone that know what he needs will pay you with the rates of someone that will do a better job then you.

    a good start is to charge what is reasonable and what you need to live dont overprice for no reason, it is obvious when you ask money for the sake of money and you cant create relationships like that, and that is more important then getting paid few dolars more.
    ajan-ko and SnotWaffle Studios like this.
  5. Leandro Saccoletto

    Leandro Saccoletto Member

    Jun 22, 2016
    I'll advice you , using what I learned during as 7 years as experience as freelancer here:
    ---> It doesn't exist a correct charge value. I began with (5 USD/hour) , raised gradualy to 8,10,13, 15. Next I lowered back to (10 USD/hour) and recently I'm with (14 USD/hour). I still wanted to raise the value, but I'm still afraid to make this move yet. So begin with a lower value and keep raising when you got more experience and positive feedback.
    ---> Knowledge is power. If you have clients that liked your work, ask them nicely to add a positive review in your portfolio post. That can attract new clients.
    ---> Try to learn new stuffs. I know that some stuff can be hard (I struggle with mutliplayer online, but I can ads/iaps for mobiles smoothly). Study always improves you as a coder.
    ---> Be honest with your client. Be cleared what you can do or not (or even what I didn't try yet, but you the way to do). How do you want to be paid and which method (payapl , google pay ....)
    ---> Try to charge with group of hours (like 10 hours or less, if the task is short). So you don't need worry to work for 40 hours and clients vanishes or have money problems.
    ---> Try to give builds to receive feedback, you can even use gifCam to record gif videos to send to your client (or add in your portfolio).
    ---> Avoid profit shares . They are risky and , normally, everyone has a "wonderful game idea" and no skills in planning or executation. Only accept if you really trust this guy and you have others paid projects as backup (in case of fail).
    ---> Don't worry too much with your estimative of how much take to fullfill a task. It isn't "exact science". If for some reason takes more times than need, talked with your client , explained the cause and follow in a agrement. Transparency is key.
    ---> Here you have clients of different countries, ages, backgrounds, and behaviours. So sadly it has a small chance you see the worst of the world kind (like in real life):
    ---> A: people that disappears after answer his questions. Just like the window shoppers. that normal.
    ---> B: One that bashs that "stranger A" do cheaper or "stranger B" do in 15 minutes. Don't lower your value that you fell that right.
    ---> C: One that treat bad when find a bug. Bugs are complicated to solved in some cases, and probably both need be focused to solve the problem together for the sake for the game.
    ---> D: The one the delay the payment until you finish "some extra tasks". Be careful with them. It can be signal of possible signal. Normaly I adviced to quit because more damages appears. But can have other cases, that you can accept the risk.
    ---> realitationship between client and the coder should involved mutual respect.
    ----. Aimed to learn other game tools. GMS2 is a great tool, but if one day Yoyo went bankrupt suddenly ? Maybe you will lear a bit Unity, Godot, Phaser and many others.
    ----> Don't be my competition (I"m kidding lol)
  6. sitebender

    sitebender Member

    Sep 13, 2016
    $4 is inexpensive. Especially for a programmer, even for GML. With that said, everyone's economy is different.

    No follow through is indeed normal. Or they will need you at a later time.

    It's always okay to see design documents before agreeing to do anything, then again I've had to sign NDAs before seeing design documents and other important things that would lead me to not want to be part of a project.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019 at 11:18 AM
    ajan-ko likes this.
  7. TsukaYuriko

    TsukaYuriko Q&A Spawn Camper Forum Staff Moderator

    Apr 21, 2016
    I'm the one in charge of the Collaboration forum, so I guess I should have a bit of insight to share on this. :)

    $4 an hour is way below minimum wage, so keep that in mind. Just to give some examples, if someone's just looking for a cheap way to get a job done, they might find that offer enticing enough. Someone with a professional background might be alerted by it and jump to conclusions about your skills or reliability, though. To appeal to the latter category, however, you'll have to have built a reputation for yourself already, as there are plenty of fish in the sea that are already established and will likely be favored.

    To start building your reputation, I suggest starting lower than average, but not too low. It wouldn't be fair for yourself, and too cheap offers tend to make you look less qualified than you actually are. It's important to find the sweet spot between "greedy" and "baby's first freelance job", as neither of these are impressions you want your potential clients to get. Ideally, that would be "affordable newcomer indie dev".

    That's pretty normal. Chances are they already found someone else to work with and took their offer, or they were just testing the waters to see if you're suitable for their needs and may or may not get back to you at a later point in time, once they have a better idea of their budget and can start gathering contractors for development.

    I wouldn't ask for a complete design document up front. It tends to make people nervous.

    The reason why you're supposed to sign NDAs before seeing any material is specifically so you won't reveal any of the things you're about to see. An NDA is not a legally binding contract to work for anyone - it just means you can't reveal the related information. Asking for information before that is therefore contradictory, and you will likely be turned down if you press people not to put you under an NDA in fear of you stealing their ideas.

    NDA first, if required, then ask for a generous description of both the job and the project. Negotiate rates and, if both parties are happy with them, a contract related to the actual job can then be made. If either of you doesn't like it, part ways and never talk to anyone about anything that just happened. No harm done.
    ajan-ko, Seabass (The Human) and Pfap like this.
  8. mikix

    mikix Member

    May 2, 2017
    To OP:

    This might be nutrient for you, a buyers perspective:

    I'd also like to mention that, me that pays freelancers now and then, that it pays off to talk nice to them and when you keep a promise of partnership, you keep it. So when you return and ask them for more work, they might get surprised and pretty happy and discount the offer depending on how difficult it is, just to entice you to work with them again (on difficult and easy parts). Like a humanoid is much more expensive than say a monster with small feet but a worm like body. Patience is also very good to keep the seller satisfied.

    Some are not doing it this way, they ask for the same amount of money on and on and on again. Other people use the tactic above.

    The reason why people are afraid for $4/h than lets say $10-15/h to start with (I choose to work with private persons and not studios) or a nice fixed price that covers about 5 hours of work, is that you will not get back to them again (thinking of for example voice actors here, if that is easier to describe it). You might even be good but the service you provide afterwards is not professional or you vanish without a trace.

    Also, Portfolio! Don't forget it. Build it up. Some people are that awesome that I know I can't afford them.
    ajan-ko likes this.
  9. The-any-Key

    The-any-Key Member

    Feb 2, 2017
    I started with commission 2%-5%. Then after a few games I started with 8euro/hour. Advanced to 12 euro after a while and are now at 15 euro. So start small and build it up. I mostly code network for online games and backend solutions.

    There are a lot of people that just get in touch to compare prizes. And never to be heard of again. But that is ok. As you can't help everyone. You only got 24 hours a day anyway.

    I ask for screenshots, the general game idea and what they expect from me.
    ajan-ko likes this.

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