I recently started a project for my fiance, who told his company about it and wants to pay me for it (great). However, they want me to give them a cost, but have expressed they don't want to pay an arm and a leg.

Usually when I do freelance work, the price is negotiated prior to the start of work. But as I mentioned, originally this was just for my fiance to help manage the work load for him only so payment was not even required.

This is a complete project management system, CRM, Payroll (time sheet entry, management only), and billing system. This system is written from the ground up in .NET WEB, fully customized to fit this companies needs. Due to the nature of their business, a typical canned program would not work with out a lot of modifications.

The company is paying for the server hosting, and because this is a web based system there will need to be updates over time to account for Browser updates and code compliance, and added features (which they agreed to pay me for). So far I have about 150 hours of coding into this system with about another 20 hours prior to being finished. After talking with the owner of the company, they already want to add more features into this system.

What can I charge for a system that originally was going to be free (to my fiance), but now the company wants to buy it from me?

  • 1
    You took something in work without setting up the terms and price before?
    – Peter MV
    Sep 13 '15 at 8:27
  • You must of missed the part where it was originally for my fiancé, and so yes I was never going to charge my fiancé! NOW the company my fiancé works for wants to pay for it. Sep 13 '15 at 12:40
  • 1
    Hourly price is calculated based on multiple parameters. Check the most voted questions here. Another way is to visit upwork and see the average price of contractors from your country in your field of interest.
    – Peter MV
    Sep 13 '15 at 15:42

I would first see if you can find out what they consider an arm and a leg.

I'd initially float "full price" by them though -- they may not even blink, then if charging what you normally would is a lot more than they expect, consider giving them a discount on the original programming (make sure they know you're discounting it for them).

But let them know upkeep and any changes they request will be charged at your normal rate which is X and you estimate changes A, B, and C that they have requested will run about $Y. They can expect upkeep to be $Z. And don't be shy about your normal rate. They are a business, they understand your time is valuable.

This way you protect yourself from getting sucked into a scope-creep/support nightmare as your reward for having done something nice! You also make some money and gain future business off something you were doing for free and make them happy that they got such a great deal.

Also, when they say they want to "buy it" -- unless you're getting your usual full price I would not turn over any of the code/intellectual property to them. I would let them know it is only licensed to them for internal use. There may be an opportunity here for you to sell it to some of their competitors who need the same thing. I'd freak if I sold a company software at a discount and they turned around and started reselling it and making a profit. (Probably not their intention, but I'd want to be sure they understood what rights they were "buying.")


When you freelance, doing this type of work, how much do you charge? The reason I'm asking is, it shouldn't matter that he's your fiance; the company now wants your product.

It may be hard at first, but it's a business deal and nothing more; your fiance simply acted as the referral to introduce the fact there's a problem, and you are able to solve it with your expertise.

If you normally charge $40/hr, and this is going to take 170 hours, it's simple multiplication to come out to $6,800. Again, rough estimate.

Treat it like a business transaction, that's the best advice we can give. Asking for the exact cost per hour or per project would make the question close as too opinion based. So, ignore the fact your fiance would benefit, and focus on the company, who wants to pay the bill.


The fact that it was initially intended to your fiancé doesn't change the value of the project for this company.

They seem to like it, charge them your normal fee. What you'll ask them will probably be a finger and a toe.

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