This post is the result of a private message I received recently in a webmaster's forum that I'm a member of. I guess he had seen that I have experience with Joomla, that I've created a few popular modules, so decided to see if I'd be interested in building him a customized Joomla site. Here are the details of his request:
*Logo â€“ make it different
*Flash design header
*Blog and Shout Box (only registered users)
*Bike of month picture spot on front page
*Daily news feed from at least 2-3 sites
*Daily Video feed (only motorcycle related, only most recent 2-3 on front page, link to main video page)
*Auto link swapping (anchor text code for visitors to copy and paste on their site)
*Forum area link â€“ tags or merits for more posts
*Page for â€œGreat Cycle meeting places/stopsâ€
*Registered user benefits:
Once logged in, reg. users home page configurable with time, weather, links, etc. (want users to use as their home page)
Personal space that can be shared only with whom they allow.
Ability to post pictures and text in personal space.
Ability to post comments on pages
Site set up for SEO, Adsense (ads blended), Paypal, Metatags descriptions and keywords for every page, make new pages with â€“ (dash) instead of _ (underscore), SE friendly URLâ€™s, Interlinking of site pages, allow donations link.
Newsletter sending ability
Complete ability to control content on site and users
I assume the Community Builder plugin will be needed and possibly the EZ Rider plugin among others.
So this is quite a large project. With a quick scan, I would estimate a minimum of 45 hours of work, as the following major time-consuming components are required:
- A custom designed theme.
- Setting up site architecture.
- Custom flash design for the header.
- Locating, installing and configuring various extensions, including a forum, SEF, e-commerce, etc
- Creation of some completely custom extensions
So naturally a proper estimate will include time not only for development but also for debugging. So let's say for the sake of argument that the total project would be 50 man-hours of work.
How much do you suppose this person was willing to pay? Unfortunately the global market for web developers brings down the expected rate of a good programmer. On rentacoder or elance, one can easily pick up a PHP coder's time for a measly $20/hr. That means they could get this project done for about $1000.
With that in mind, I asked the buyer what their budget was. Would it be more? Less? This was their reply:
$250 is my budget.
I practically choked when I read that. Two hundred and fifty dollars! That means that to this person, a developer's time is worth about $5/hour, or less valuable than someone serving hamburgers at a local burger joint. Now I admit that burger joint employees are incredibly valuable, but come on!
Now that sad part is that I guarantee that some desperate young developer will accept this offer, and slave for nothing as the site owner adds "just two more things" I thought of. Then the site owner will have a fully developed site in a profitable niche, and will soon be making decent money on something that cost virtually nothing.
This has to stop. I don't care where you live. I don't care if your cost-of-living is lower. Developers are intelligence workers. They not only have a skill, but they have an unteachable aptitude. This is priceless. And if they place very little value (hourly or otherwise) on that aptitude, so will others.
Developers need to start properly valuing their time. I met a .Net Development Manager on a plane last year. He doesn't do web development himself, he contracts out his guys to larger companies, and manages the projects. He charges $285 USD/hour for his guys.
Now I don't expect that any of us could charge that much. But we do have the right to set an acceptable rate, which won't lower the bar for the rest of the developers in the world. We are the ones that do the work. We are the ones that know how to do the work. It's a specialized work, and we need to view it as such.
So set your rate. Don't accept less. And when people come to you offering $5/hour, send them to McDonald's.