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Perl Server Side CGI Scripting Forum

premade script modification
why do they charge so much?

 5:34 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've found a premade perl script that I need a small modification done to it, but coders want to charge me $200-$300 for this addition. The reason why I'm shocked at the price is because php coders quoted me the same price to build the entire script from scratch with a full admin section and database.

The script is a free for all link list written in perl. All I want added is voting/rating for each entered link. Something like a 1-5 drop down voting and a 5 star rating system for each entry, or something similar.

Is this something so difficult that it costs $200-$300 to add to a premade script?



 5:40 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

You know, I've found in situations like this, it's much easier to learn how to do what I need done, so I don't have to pay anyone else for their time.

Plus, I'm in webmaster world all the time, so I can always ask how to do something, and usually someone here's already gone through the same problem, or something similar, and can at least give me a good start...

In a *possible* answer to your question. PHP seems to be a lot simpler than Perl, so maybe that's the reason for the price hike?



 5:40 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is this something so difficult that it costs $200-$300 to add to a premade script?

No, probably not but it would seem that the PHP coders you talked to are unaware of their own value.

What you charge is based on your experience both with the job in question and with the language employed. It is not the difficulty. Difficulty = time but if you want the best and someone to stand behind their work you have to pay more.

A very enlightened gentleman told me in London that we should all be charging 3 times what we do. For every hour of work we do two of research thereby tripling the price of every hour of work.

Makes you think differently about how much you charge, at least it did for me. ;)


 6:08 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I guess the best thing to do is try and learn how to do it myself as it may come in handy down the road, but I have no knowledge of coding so it may take a month for me to learn. ha

I understand about the time involved and that these people had to learn how to do this too. I just figured it was a simple task for an experience coder and wouldn't cost more than $50 max.

Is this modification something I can learn to do without completely learning perl or cgi?


 6:17 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)
As far as I know, you can learn anything you want to without learning a complete scripting language. You just have to research it and keep trying it until you figure it out.

I don't know what exactly you're trying to do--honestly I don't know much about perl. But, there are some great online resources out there: http://www.htmlgoodies.com is a great place to start. Or try a web search with what you're trying to do. (This works best if you know what you're talking about, i.e. css +attributes +font color.) But you could try Perl +"whatever you want to do".

Honestly, the figuring it out for myself thing has helped me out so much--and saved a lot of money!


 6:19 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Also, it looks like [perl.com...] has a lot of info!


 6:42 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you think it is an easy job do it yourself. If you canīt do it youself then I think the money is well spent. BTW Iīd do it for $500 ;).



 6:52 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry if we don't sound over encouraging Doood, but it is one thing that I run into continuously when quoting for scripting work.

Everyone thinks that most jobs should be only $50.

Unfortunately that wouldn't pay for an hour of my time. :) Most people still think that scripting is akin to html work (it's just a website isn't it?) and don't understand the time or knowledge that it takes to do things, let alone do them well.

I have had opportunity to work with some free scripts recently and had to rewrite large portions of them because the method in which they were originally written was ridiculous and sloppy. You get what you pay for.

Sorry again Doood but I would imagine that most programmers find the same problem making it a bit of a sore spot, hope you don't take any offense. :)


 7:28 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Everyone thinks that most jobs should be only $50.

And I think I should be able to code fast enough to entertain the idea! Frankly, if you're talking about modifying a piece of code I didn't write myself, you've probably exceeded that $50 budget before I even start writing. Before I can change a piece of software, I have to know how it works. To know how it works I have to either (1) have previously written it, (2) have previously worked with it a lot or (3) spend a good chunk of time reading the code.

I've certainly taken the approach before of writing something completely new because I figured it was faster than modifying something that existed to do what I want. That's especially likely to be the case for smaller things.


 8:00 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well see, I own a business and have tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. I drive to the customers house or business, provide my service, hire outside help if needed. Most of it is manual labor type work too, and all of this for around $30 per hour, give or take $10.

I'm a giving and helpful type person. I get satisfaction from helping others and it's not all about money for me. It seems to me, but I'm no expert, that these programmers are a bit greedy and it's not necessary to charge so much. Large project that take forever, sure they are worth a lot but from what I've been told, 5 hours to completely make this script and all I want is a small addition to it shouldn't cost hundreds of dollars especially when the feature packed original script is free. This is just my personal opinion though.


 8:19 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

By the time I set up your script, work my way through it so I know what I'm doing, make some changes, and test them, it's quite likely taken two hours if everything went smoothly. I never make an estimate on the assumption that things will go smoothly, and I've been told more than once that I undercharge for my services.

What I do do, that others may not, is give an estimate of how many hours something will take me, along with a cap on how many hours I will charge for, and only bill for as long as I actually spend on it. I'm not sure if that works for me or against me when trying to get a bid, as I don't have the experience as an independent agent behind me yet to know.


 8:34 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is this something so difficult that it costs $200-$300 to add to a premade script?

Doood I now use Elance. I post scripting projects for contractors there and I would be very surprised if for what you want it will cost more than $50 for a first class job. If someone can do a good job cheaper than I can, I let 'em have it and put the difference in the bank.


 8:54 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

As Dingman says, figuring out what's happening in a pre-made script can take some time. The script you're talking about isn't that complicated overall, so it just may take as much time to make from scratch in PHP as it would to edit the Perl script. The "overestimate" when you aren't sure how long it'll take is a good point, too. I ALWAYS do that.

Also, you have to consider that if a programmer makes a mod to a script, he's got nothing. BUT, if he writes it from scratch, he owns it and can sell it to other people. Therefore, if it's something that several other people may potentially buy, he can give you a lower estimate banking on the buyers at a later date - in other words, by taking your custom job, but retaining the rights to the script, he's building himself an asset.



 9:33 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

that these programmers are a bit greedy

They are charging what they feel their time is worth.

When you request a quote, you get one, if you don't feel it is a good one then request one from someone else. If everyone quotes you the same amount then you were probably quoted the going rate and your choice comes down to other factors.

I would be very surprised if for what you want it will cost more than $50 for a first class job

None of us have seen this script so these arguments all come down to the hypothetical, very hard to make absolute statements.

feature packed original script is free

I would think that if you contacted the programmer who was so generous as to put this free script online his charge for the customization of it would not be so appealing.

It is just a quote, maybe the programmer overpriced it because they didn't want to do it. ;)


 9:52 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

When you say coders, are you referring to the author or a third-party? What may cost a third-party $300.00 may only cost you $50.00 if the author codes the change. You never know, he may already have a ranking modification s/he performed for someone else...


 10:13 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

The actual script can be see here www.perl-studio.com/links/ and all the info on it here www.perl-studio.com/addlink/

With the addition of the voting/rating each entry might would look something like this (just for a visual) <snip>

I've tried emailing them but no reply as of yet.

[edited by: jatar_k at 10:32 pm (utc) on Jan. 14, 2003]
[edit reason] delinked [/edit]


 11:04 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

<from Doood's link>The updated listing would have a ranking beside it, possibly five stars with the appropriate number of stars filled in for the rank. There would then be a drop down beside that giving the option of 1 to 5 to rate the link.

any ideas on storing/updating of ranking, difficulty or length of time it should take?

Is the $200-300 worth it or would you, in Doood's situation, rather learn to do it yourself?

Personally I think the learning curve on doing this yourself would make the money worth it.

Anyone have any specific pointers at good tutorials or an alternate location to look for something with that capability?


 11:23 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Links 2.0 from Gossamer. Based on Perl too. Have used in shared Windows and Linux environments without any issues:


  • Search engine friendly URLs
  • "Breadcrumb" navigation (which I like)

    [edited by: jatar_k at 11:28 pm (utc) on Jan. 14, 2003]
    [edit reason] delinked [/edit]

  • Doood

     11:53 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

    The reason why everyone thinks scripts should be $50 is because we can usually find it for 20-40 dollars if not free. I wasn't aware in the beginning that adding something to it would cost hundreds.

    Also the reason why I didn't want to pay so much is because this script would go on a subpage of a subpage. If this script was going to be my site, it wouldn't mind paying 200-300 dollars, but this would only be a very small part.


     10:55 am on Jan 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Most good coders get in excess of $50 an hour with the better ones asking more. To do a mod to an existing program, could take 10-15 hours to get it even close to what you'd expect would be right.

    And obviously, you weren't charging enough Jatar ;-)


     11:18 am on Jan 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Most good coders get in excess of $50 an hour with the better ones asking more.

    Brett This is true if you are considering only US coders but it's a global market now. A few days ago I outsourced a script to a java expert in India, I didn't have the 20 hours it required and I needed it within a week. He worked through and produced final debugged code in 48 hours for a flat $50. I can tell good code from bad because I have written both myself :) and his was very good.


     5:27 am on Jan 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Just a FYI. A friend said he would make it from scratch in php for $60. It's good to have friends. Thanks goodness I won't have to shell out $200-$500 or spend the next month with my head in a book.

    It was nice to know how all the programmers really feel though.

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