- Posted: September 25, 2009
Those of you who freelance or work for a firm have heard this story before.
The client needs it now! The Joomla site is 90% done and the developer has disappeared and there's just a few more buttons to click and the site will be totally done. The client thinks you can finish this in just a few hours. Plus, of course, you don't have anything else to do, so you can drop everything to get this job done.
Then they find out the price. And they're shocked, shocked!!! at how much it costs to get that little bit of work done. They'll just ask their kid/nephew/the CEO's son/go to eLance and find someone else to do it.
The old saying is Fast, Cheap, Good: Pick Two.
The corollary to this is You Get What You Pay For.
If your niece/nephew can make your changes for you and will cost you next to nothing, get them to do it for you. But there must be some reason you called me, other than to brag about your nephew/niece's prowess?
I make my living doing full-time web development. I run my own business. That means no one pays for my health insurance, life insurance, dental insurance, disability insurance, or pays for any holidays, sick days, or vacation days. No one contributes to my retirement fund, and I certainly do not have a pension. What's more, I pay both halves of my Social Security payment (that's 15.3%, not 7.65% as you pay when you're an employee).
Furthermore, not every hour of my time is billable. I can bill roughly 50% of my time. The other 50% is doing things like talking to potential clients, billing (including being the collections agency), strategic marketing, blog posts, social networking, guest lectures at various conferences, keeping my skills sharp, learning new technologies, and cleaning the office.
You may think I should only charge $10 or $20/hr. At 50% billable, that means I'm making between $200 and $400 per week, and that is before taxes, insurance, retirement, or anything else.
Another grand fallacy in web development: all hourly rates are created equal.
If your niece or nephew just started learning Joomla and knows a few basics, they may be able to get things done at one rate of completion. I've been working with Joomla for 4 years. It's likely I can get things done faster than they can. I may charge more, but I get more done per hour than people who are, potentially, charging less. (I'm likely also getting more done than people with less experience who charge my same rate.)
The bottom line is this. If you don't have a lot of money, and Cheap is your top priority, you should consider hiring your niece or nephew, a local high school student, or a college intern. You will get what you pay for -- it's likely they're not going to be very responsive, that they're not going to be quick, but maybe eventually, with enough nagging, they'll get the job done. I can't compete with them, nor do I wish to compete.
But if your priority is Good or Fast, please do call. I would love to help you.