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Thread: Programmer Compensation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Default Programmer Compensation

    I'm trying to determine what my hourly rate should be. With 16 years experience programming lathes and mills in 6 different shops I have a variety of experience. I can hold tenths all day long. I'm fast and a very create problem solver. I have my own Solidworks and full 3d cam package as well as $10k in cutters and measuring tools. Usually I'm working at one cnc shop full time programming and milling one prototype at a time. Just program, set-up, and run one part; then repeat for some other part. I've milled an engine block from billet, remachined a formula one block, as well as other very complex, high-tolerance, expensive parts. I'm in Silicon Valley (Bay Area).

    I'm sure others in this community are wondering if thier rate is above or below fair market rate. Please inform as to what you think is fair as an independent contractor or as an employee. Share what your compensation package is for what you do. Let’s see what if we are getting our fair share of the pie.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Great State of Wisconsin
    Thanked 134 Times in 112 Posts

    Default Re: Programmer Compensation

    I have not ventured on my own but I know many people who have. I have done side work only to help out previous employers and have charged between $150-$200hr (more along the lines of service calls). I worked in depth with overhead and machine rates but it has been years as I do not do this currently. This number to charge is a very loaded question. The base for determining this is defiantly going to be overhead first. IOW do you have payments on equipment, insurance, tooling cost ect. I know some are not considered overhead but if you are a 1 man show then these all play in with what your expense is.

    Other factors would be the job you are quoting. Does it have potential?? If so then you may want to go less on your markup so that you can get the job and improve on it as you develop it to bring your margins up to what you want. This would be more for production items.

    If you are always going to be doing 1 off type stuff then you better pad what you can so you don’t lose. As an example I have dealt with hundreds of small shops and these are usually the best price but most of the product I have dealt with is so expensive that if they scrap 1pc and had to pay for the material and labor it would put them out of business. Not to many execs understand the great price they are getting for years and then question why the supplier did not cut us a check for a 100k forging that they scrapped.

    Long story short $75-$120hr is probably the norm. We charge about $105hr which cuts are margins short until we develop the product.

    Hope this helps. Others…..please disagree if you feel I am off on this.

    (The opinions in this post are my own and not those of and its management)

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