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Trust and Efficiency–Yes, that is the point

This piece on charging hourly for programming services really nails it, I think. Programmers often get bogged down in fears that they will not be paid fairly unless they get to charge by the hour for everything. But there isn’t any financial incentive to minimize bugs when you are charging extra for them. And you are communicating something to a customer when you use this approach, and it isn’t that you are a seasoned professional who has confidence in their work. You are telling them: I intend to squeeze every last dollar out of you.

When I build software for a customer, I charge a flat fee, and I cover bug fixes for free for a warranty period (typically 60-90 days after the software goes “live”.) After that point, bugs get fixed under a flat monthly fee support agreement with the client. That support also includes unlimited responses to email questions (from a designated customer contact person) and troubleshooting if there is an issue. Clients can budget appropriately for support, and they don’t have to worry that there will be unexpected expenses that crop up. Also that support means I will prioritize their bug fixes so if there is an emergency fix needed, they don’t have to wait for me to have some time freed up. This is a win-win for everyone.

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From my experience with Avonelle, she can be relied on to deliver whatever she promises--always on time and for the quoted cost. She'll ask the right questions to make sure that what she delivers truly meets the business need. Her expertise has been invaluable. All that at a very reasonable rate!

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