What contract rate to ask as C# .NET Developer

donal

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Aug 18, 2006
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148
I'm looking to change jobs, and have received an offer. I'm trying to gauge whether it's a decent figure as the new position will be a 12 month contract @ R330/hr. Currently I'm permanent, on the equivalent of R262/hr, so in that context it's a fair increase. The big HOWEVER, though is what's a good way to negotiate a better rate? And is this offer aligned with what other devs (with 8+ yrs experience) are being paid? It's in Cape Town area with a large company, no other benefits are offered. A downside is the extra travel/parking would cost me around R3k/month, plus I'd have to make provision for my own leave :-(. Upside is working with interesting tech, good company, decent people. Very interested to hear some feedback...
 

Ancalagon

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Feb 23, 2010
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First you need to calculate your total package including leave, because as a contractor you won't get leave.

So if you get R30k per month, and there are 20 working days in a month, you are getting paid R1500 per day. If you get 21 days of leave per year, that is equivalent to 21 * R1500, which is 31500.

Your total year pay is then 12 * R30000 + R31500, which is R391500.

Now, with that figure, you can work out your actual hourly rate. Divide R391500 by 12 months, then by 20 days, then by 8 hours to get your average hourly rate. Because there are often more than 20 working days in a month, it might not be totally accurate. You could instead divide by the number of working days in a year, that might be more accurate.

Anyway, use that to work out your real hourly rate. You will probably see that this new offer is not that great financially.
 

donal

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Aug 18, 2006
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148
Thanks for that - ok, with the leave included the current total hourly works out to just shy of R285/hr, so the offer in question then equates to a 14% increase. I know it's better than what I'm currently on, but you're right: it just doesn't seem ideal. Perhaps a better question would be how to negotiate for more - it's always tricky to 'state what you're worth'.
 

Pho3nix

The Legend
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Jul 31, 2009
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29,266
If I'm contracting.. you need to double what I'm getting now.
For all the *** you go through, need to be well paid.

R450p/h was teh norm a couple years back for a C# dev, how much experience do you have?
 

donal

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Aug 18, 2006
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148
I have 8+ yrs experience. I'm going to ask for more, but don't think they'd go for 450/hr somehow. At a previous employer I can remember seeing a client quote, and they were billing the client R1200/hr. That was 5 years ago.
 

DMNknight

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Oct 17, 2003
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3,384
As a contractor you will often be pushed on deadlines you will have to meet. Because they're paying you on an hourly rate, they're expecting godly performance with regards to delivery. Sometimes demanding that you do an 8 hour job in 2 hours.
Build in a LOT of fat upfront because of the projected overtime you will be pushed into doing in order to deliver.

Be upfront about expectations on overtime payment etc.

Be clear with yourself that you are going to be handling all your financial burdens that companies usually do, except for tax and UIF.

Lastly, the "overpriced" nature of your contract pay is largely because you are carrying the burden of risk of employment when the contract is up. You need to save at least 3 months of salary to cater for when you are looking for another job (if it comes to that)

My 2c worth. At that price they've cast a fishing line and budgeted for a mid-tier developer. If they happen to catch a high level developer, then the better for them... not you.
If high level is their expectation, then they obviously previously caught a high level at that price and now have unrealistic expectations going forward trying to replace said person.
 

donal

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Aug 18, 2006
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148
Suppose one can't blame them for trying to pay as little as possible since the bigger margin they make the better (for them as you say!). And of course the risk is a consideration too.

I hadn't considered the possibility of overtime. Don't mind doing it occasionally, but I can find out what the situation is. As of now, they're pushing for a response soon-ish.

To make matters more interesting, another offer came through just a short time ago: this time for a permanent position, so at least now I've got something to compare it to. Effective hourly rate of new offer is around R300/hr. Clearly lower than the contract offer, but there are no other perks on offer apart from leave and the fact that it's permanent.

Decisions, decisions...
 

DMNknight

Expert Member
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Oct 17, 2003
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3,384
If I wanted a loaf of bread, I'd point to it and pay the price for it.
Not point to the cheaper loaf and hope the baker gives me the better one.

As a developer, look at the recent MyBB articles on what developers earn and then make your decision. (something about the most sought after skills in SA)
There have been a few the last week or so...
 

Ancalagon

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Feb 23, 2010
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Suppose one can't blame them for trying to pay as little as possible since the bigger margin they make the better (for them as you say!). And of course the risk is a consideration too.

I hadn't considered the possibility of overtime. Don't mind doing it occasionally, but I can find out what the situation is. As of now, they're pushing for a response soon-ish.

To make matters more interesting, another offer came through just a short time ago: this time for a permanent position, so at least now I've got something to compare it to. Effective hourly rate of new offer is around R300/hr. Clearly lower than the contract offer, but there are no other perks on offer apart from leave and the fact that it's permanent.

Decisions, decisions...

Which do you want? Contract, or permanent? R300 per hour is a decent increase over where you are now. Factor in benefits and it is a better offer than the contract offer.

But, it depends on what you want. If you want the contract offer, tell them you cannot accept that rate.
 

donal

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Joined
Aug 18, 2006
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148
I'd feel better taking a permanent position.

Latest is I've started negotiations with both the perm and the contract offer to see which would be willing to increase - not for its own sake, but for real material considerations: don't want to end up worse off (or in the same position) as I am currently. To sum up, right now I'm leaning towards the former as there's an interesting mix of tech I could be exposed to.

It's a tough decision, so thanks for all the input so far.
 
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