Quoting WTF


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    So, I'm an extremely poorly paid "consulting" programmer. Just menial jobs to pay the bills while I'm at college finishing up that degree that gets you past all the automated screening systems, really. I currently work for two firms:

    1. LA-based web dev firm. Owned by my girlfriend's uncle. The job interview consisted of hanging out with the girlfriend and the uncle at Disneyland. Clients include:
    • Major network TV shows
    • Various shops with reality shows on cable TV properties of major networks
    • A major airline
    • Several charter airlines/FBOs operating in the SoCal region.

    The downside here is that my boss is on the west coast, whereas I'm on the east coast. Oh, wait. That's not a downside at all. Communications are prompt and clear via cell phone and email. I work from my bedroom, and I only wear underwear if necessary. The pay is reasonable, but work is intermittant and the projects are small. Unfortunately I'm confined to a lowly PHP position until Java comes up in the spec, because one of the major partners in the firm is the "ASP Guy" (And he codes up a damn good WTF). The jobs are postpaid, but they will move heaven and earth to get me paid as soon as it passes the written spec. Payment is based on hours actually worked. This place is not a WTF. I love this place (I'd love it a lot more if the money were better and I didn't have to deal with PHP)

    1. A bumfuck, nowhere east coast web dev firm. A friend works there. The projects here are GARGANTUAN. They're also post-paid. And they won't pay me until the customer pays them - and that doesn't happen until after the customer accepts the whole project as acceptable. However, there is no written spec, and I have no written contract giving me any recourse should they not pay me (In fact, it has come to my attention that my predecessor left because customers kept "refusing to pay". The guy was, at the time, their lead programmer (which is a useless position because we always work alone). Payment is based on the number of hours quoted up front. You don't get paid for any time you didn't quote. There hasn't been a single interesting client pass through here yet.

    Let me explain the quoting process (as they explain it to regular developers):
    1 A customer comes to them and says "I WANT A WEBSITE THAT DOES THIS!"

    1. They draw a dev who doesn't currently have a job out of a hat and call them up.
    2. The developer says how many hours they think it will take them to finish the job. (Most of the developers, who are either in high school or college, will quote something like "15 hours" for prettymuch everything.)
    3. They multiply that developer's hourly rate by their quoted hours, pad it for profit and present it to the customer.
    4. The customer accepts (or denies, in which case they call another dev for another quote)
    5. Work begins.

    Now, let me explain the quoting process as it ACTUALLY works:

    1. A customer comes to them and says "I WANT A WEBSITE THAT DOES THIS!"
    2. They call the lead developer (me)
    3. I quote how much time it'll take me (I've never quoted less than 60 hours on a job here, and I code a damn sight faster than the rest of these guys, and I'm very good at estimating time because I've been around the block long enough)
    4. They pad for profit and present that to the customer.
    5. The customer accepts (or denies, in which case they chop my quote down and try again)
    6. If they didn't have to chop my quote in step 5, and I'm not working, I begin work. Otherwise....
    7. They contact a random non-working dev
    8. That dev quotes
    9. Work begins, and the customer gets billed as if I were programming, and that developer gets paid whatever he quoted.

    I get paid more than any other developer, and quote on average 4x higher than anyone else. They're making a TIDY profit on that difference.

    And before anyone mentions it, yes, TRWTF is that I'm contracting without a contract. Without a written spec. I'm really hurting for cash..... (Plus side of no contract: The MINUTE a better opportunity appears, I'm done. I don't care if I'm in the middle of a line of code. I'm done.)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    TRWTF is that posting from Opera yields WALL OF TEXT. And I can't edit it. Sorry guys.



  • So, I'm an extremely poorly paid "consulting" programmer. Just menial jobs to pay the bills while I'm at college finishing up that degree that gets you past all the automated screening systems, really. I currently work for two firms:


    1. LA-based web dev firm. Owned by my girlfriend's uncle. The job interview consisted of hanging out with the girlfriend and the uncle at Disneyland. Clients include:
    • Major network TV shows
    • Various shops with reality shows on cable TV properties of major networks
    • A major airline
    • Several charter airlines/FBOs operating in the SoCal region.



      The downside here is that my boss is on the west coast, whereas I'm on the east coast. Oh, wait. That's not a downside at all. Communications are prompt and clear via cell phone and email. I work from my bedroom, and I only wear underwear if necessary. The pay is reasonable, but work is intermittant and the projects are small. Unfortunately I'm confined to a lowly PHP position until Java comes up in the spec, because one of the major partners in the firm is the "ASP Guy" (And he codes up a damn good WTF). The jobs are postpaid, but they will move heaven and earth to get me paid as soon as it passes the written spec. Payment is based on hours actually worked. This place is not a WTF. I love this place (I'd love it a lot more if the money were better and I didn't have to deal with PHP)


    1. A bumfuck, nowhere east coast web dev firm. A friend works there. The projects here are GARGANTUAN. They're also post-paid. And they won't pay me until the customer pays them - and that doesn't happen until after the customer accepts the whole project as acceptable. However, there is no written spec, and I have no written contract giving me any recourse should they not pay me (In fact, it has come to my attention that my predecessor left because customers kept "refusing to pay". The guy was, at the time, their lead programmer (which is a useless position because we always work alone). Payment is based on the number of hours quoted up front. You don't get paid for any time you didn't quote. There hasn't been a single interesting client pass through here yet.



      Let me explain the quoting process (as they explain it to regular developers):

      1 A customer comes to them and says "I WANT A WEBSITE THAT DOES THIS!"
    2. They draw a dev who doesn't currently have a job out of a hat and call them up.
    3. The developer says how many hours they think it will take them to finish the job. (Most of the developers, who are either in high school or college, will quote something like "15 hours" for prettymuch everything.)
    4. They multiply that developer's hourly rate by their quoted hours, pad it for profit and present it to the customer.
    5. The customer accepts (or denies, in which case they call another dev for another quote)
    6. Work begins.



      Now, let me explain the quoting process as it ACTUALLY works:
    7. A customer comes to them and says "I WANT A WEBSITE THAT DOES THIS!"
    8. They call the lead developer (me)
    9. I quote how much time it'll take me (I've never quoted less than 60 hours on a job here, and I code a damn sight faster than the rest of these guys, and I'm very good at estimating time because I've been around the block long enough)
    10. They pad for profit and present that to the customer.
    11. The customer accepts (or denies, in which case they chop my quote down and try again)
    12. If they didn't have to chop my quote in step 5, and I'm not working, I begin work. Otherwise....
    13. They contact a random non-working dev
    14. That dev quotes
    15. Work begins, and the customer gets billed as if I were programming, and that developer gets paid whatever he quoted.



      I get paid more than any other developer, and quote on average 4x higher than anyone else. They're making a TIDY profit on that difference.



      And before anyone mentions it, yes, TRWTF is that I'm contracting without a contract. Without a written spec. I'm really hurting for cash..... (Plus side of no contract: The MINUTE a better opportunity appears, I'm done. I don't care if I'm in the middle of a line of code. I'm done.)

    Yeah, the Community Server upgrade seemed to disable the editor for Opera. You can still see the breaks if you view source.



  • Thanks to Cap'n Steve for the formatted post.

     

    It sounds like this is mostly just a rant, but it helps to get it off your chest sometimes.  A lot of us had to take shit jobs in college or even post-college.  I was never able to finish up my degree, but I managed to work my way up into some very good positions.  Still, having a degree is like a golden ticket and just keep in mind that finishing will help you immensely.

     

    As far as PHP goes, it's not as bad as you probably think.  Probably 99% of PHP developers and code are absolute shit, but the language itself is surprisingly solid.  I attribute the former to the fact that it is free and the name is easy to remember, so the homeless and mentally handicapped are more likely to embrace it.  I got into development because of Java but I stayed because of PHP.  Still, it helps to immerse yourself in whatever language you are working with, even if you hate it, because you are likely to learn something useful.

     

    Keep at it, though.  I would rather have the shittiest development job on Earth than end up driving a cab or waiting tables.  You have the opportunity to be creative in this field and that's a lot more than most people have.  Eventually the pay and work environment will catch up to you, so just stick with it.  Good luck! 



  • I post from Opera, and I do just fine. There's a setting somewhere in the community server options about the style of formatting you want; HTML or Plain Text. Set it to plain text (I think) and you're set.

    That said, I default to HTML, because I used to be a web dev.



  • TL/DNR

    kthxbye 


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