How is this possible?



  • I have been meaning to ask this question for a long time.

    How do certain companies manage to hire expensive developers full-time?

    Perfect example: online knick-knack stores. There's one particular chain store I have in mind, but I won't mention the name in case someone gets offended. But you probably know what it is.

    Think about it. Even if your chain stores do decent sales, you have the large overhead of your floor sales staff, cashiers, and managers. Not to mention benefits administration. Selling a couple candles and a wicker basket a day won't pay your $90K+ full-time developer, even if you're combining sales from all your locations. You're lucky to break even.

    So how do they do it? I would love to know.



  • @CPound said:

    So how do they do it? I would love to know.

    Same way the C?Os get six-figure salaries starting with a digit that isn't a one or a zero. Nice to have you back.



  • You obviously severely underestimate the volume of sales they are doing.  Each physical store is undoubtedly profitable or headed for closure and whatever developers they have are making them profit or they will be laid off.  Simple as that.  I don't even know what you are really asking here.  You seem unfamiliar the most basic concepts of business.



  • @Lingerance said:

    Same way the C?Os get six-figure salaries starting with a digit that isn't a one or a zero.

    Precisely.  The software developer(s), floor staff and CEO are all paid what their value is to the company.  This is just obvious. 



  • @CPound said:

    How do certain companies manage to hire expensive developers full-time?

    Either they make enough money to pay their staff, or they get investment to get by while they're unprofitable, or they go out of business and those expensive resources go back onto the market.

    -cw 



  • @CPound said:

    Selling a couple candles and a wicker basket a day won't pay your $90K+ full-time developer, even if you're combining sales from all your locations. You're lucky to break even.

    Whatever the developer is doing, it is definitely saving $ome buck$ to the chain store. It might be POS software, inventory systems, accounting or something that integrates all of these; in any case, these systems save them money because these jobs would require lots of people, working together in different locations to get the same job done.

    To put it in perspective, can you imagine, say, how Wal-Mart would operate if SKU barcodes didn't exist??? Back in the late 80's / early 90's, some Mexican supermarkets didn't have barcode readers in their cash registers, so the checkout process involved the cashier punching in SKU's into the machine. Try buying your average full-cart and you'll see how this adds up to a crapload of time.

    Now imagine accounting. Or even the reconcile process cashiers have to do at their end of shift. These things take time, and time is money. Software saves a lot of time. Now do you see the value?

    In fact, TRWTF is that there are a lot of WTF jobs that expect you to do complex software for wages comparable to burger-flipping jobs.



  • @CPound said:

    How do certain companies manage to hire expensive developers full-time?
     

    Don't listen to the others. They don't know what they're talking about.

    The real answer is that they rob other stores late at night for their inventory. The money they save from having to buy stock is what they use to pay the developers. 



  • @CPound said:

     

    WELCOME BACK!



  • Thank you, thank you. It has been a while. I have returned a more seasoned, mature developer. We'll see how long that lasts...

    Anyways, in response to some of your comments:

    Your arguments make sense in a way, but I personally know people who work for this chain store, and there are certain days (particularly with this current economy) where they might sell a couple candles and a wicker basket totalling $25 for a given day.

    Sure you can multiply that out for all the locations in the US, but I can't see how that would pay even part of the staff of the location in question. On top of this, some items you haven't considered are rent, utilities, sanitation, permits, etc. All of this adds up very quickly.

    And on top of that, I know for a fact that at this chain store's corporate headquarters (if you can call it that) they employ a staff of developers and contractors. Not just some part-time guy who knows a little FrontPage.

    So now, with all those factors...how can they stay in business? Are their online sales really that spectacular? Is the demand for scented candles and wicker baskets that intense?

    Keep in mind this is not a store that sells DVDs, CDs, food products, or what you would call "collectibles". So there goes your argument of proft-making side-purchases.

    It's the type of store where some mom & pop side company comes up with a new product line (probably wicker baskets in different colors) which they sell to this chain, in the hopes that maybe their product will move, and potentially generate some income for the larger chain store.

    It boggles the mind. 



  • There seem to be only a couple options.

     1. You're right, and a chain store some how grew to be a chain store even though they don't sell more than a couple baskets a day.  They're losing money hand-over-fist and will be announcing bankruptcy soon.

    2.  You're wrong, and have underestimated how much they sell.   They have to at least cover their own expenses and employee costs.   If they're only selling a couple baskets a day, it seems unlikely that would cover the cost of paying people to sit there and ring up the 3 transactions over the course of the day, much less the considerable cost of commercial space.

    The economy plays a factor, and it's possible (perhaps even likely) that the answer lies in between:  the chain might bring in, for instance, $25M a year, but their expenses are $26M, and they're slowly bleeding to death, depleting their assets as they try to recover.   But if they are a chain, then evidently they do well enough to warrant opening multiple stores.  Are they a public company?  In which case you can do a search on "(Company Name) financial statements" and see just how few baskets they are selling.

    What is it specifically that boggles the mind?   That the business is still around (or ever existed in the first place)?  Or that they pay their technical staff a competitive wage? 

    -cw



  • CW,

    Thanks for writing. You must be wondering why I'm asking these questions. Well, this company has extended me (and others) some rather nice offers. They are along the lines of $90K per developer. But we are very reluctant to jump on this.

    Several reasons, which are tied to my examples above. I'm looking for a position which has stability and financial security. This opportunity, although it appears to pay well up front, looks like it could fall through at any moment. Just look at companies like Bombay, which I thought would be around forever. It's in a similar vein.

    The money is tempting, along with supposedly good benefits. Which is very surprising. It's as if they're getting some "loan" money to stay afloat or something. It can only last so long. Maybe they have some strange notion that if they hire this expert web development team that suddenly everyone will just flock to their website. Somehow I don't think that will happen, no matter how flashy it is.

    Back to the point I was making about the location staffs...the stores I know about typically field 3-4 sales people on the floor and a day/night manager. That's a lot of people to put on payroll for one location!



  • Maybe they're laundering money.



  • @ComputerForumUser said:

    Maybe they're laundering money.

    I was actually going to suggest that, too. It's more common than you'd think - several folks I know were involved in a business that was only nominally in the business they were actually in, but was in reality some kind of tax dodge or investing scam. They were paid reasonably well, and the work was interesting, but "the boss" didn't seem to spend any time actually managing the business, and they never brought in enough money to even cover the salaries (hourly rates, actually) of the employees. Nevertheless, the business stayed afloat for a couple of years or so, before the owners just mysteriously disappeared one day (door locked, "closed" sign on the door). Unsurprisingly, the company didn't pay any of the required payroll taxes, either...



  •  I can't really tell you how they make money without you telling us what company it is.  All I can say is that you might be surprised how much money a store sells on average per day.



  • @tster said:

     I can't really tell you how they make money without you telling us what company it is.  All I can say is that you might be surprised how much money a store sells on average per day.

     

    Yes, but would you take the job? 



  • @CPound said:

    Yes, but would you take the job?
    Eh, it's hard to make an informed decision based on the information you gave us, but unless they're the Virtudyne of chain stores you probably just aren't estimating their money throughput well, and then spending a lot is more likely to imply having the actual funds instead of plunging into a financial disaster anytime soon.



  • @CPound said:

    @tster said:

     I can't really tell you how they make money without you telling us what company it is.  All I can say is that you might be surprised how much money a store sells on average per day.

     

    Yes, but would you take the job? 

     

    no, because that kind of work doesn't interest me.



  •  It sounds like boring work, quite possibly only maintaining some sort of crm system, which again is boring.

    On the money part, who knows, perhaps they where on the IT bandwagon early, and are now licensing their software to other similar businesses and pay for the development that way.


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