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What price ranges can you hire programmers for? (Forums : General Banter : What price ranges can you hire programmers for?) Locked
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Jan 10 2013, 9:22am Anchor

I guess the professional developers who have experience and worked on a few titles will probably say a number no less than $30/hour.
But what if you would be happy just to find a "good enough" programmer that doesn't have any real portfolio.
Might be a student still trying to gather experience.
Or maybe one of those developers who are trying to find a project that he would join the team on free of charge just to build a portfolio..
Maybe they would join a less promising project (my project will sound very bad to most people because it's niche and would be a very unprofessional hobby work flow where we work on some of our free time) instead if it has a small payment but not a big one but better than nothing?

I know it's possible to find very cheap artists this way by going to sites like deviantart who hasn't done any game art before but they have the artistic talent needed to make some really good ones if they put a little time to learn how to use the tools (blender3d for example since it's free).

It doesn't need to be pay by the hour either.
I just want some realistic price ranges to see if I should forget the idea of hiring a programmer or not because I don't have a lot of money..
What would think be the least you think you could get away with that someone might actually consider taking the deal?

Personally, in my project the workflow would be very casual and relaxed too and it could go days or even over a week at times where there's no work that I've got for the developer.
Because I will probably make most of the art but I have little experience in it so I don't know how fast I can work.
Maybe I could even hire an artist if I'm not happy with my own (my biggest weakness would be making good textures probably)..
might be easier finding an artist if I already got a developer on the team.

Jan 10 2013, 9:30am Anchor

I'm not sure about programmers but I freelance doing 3d modelling and it depends on a few things,what game engine-level of detail-etc. Also to be honest if I need cash I work cheaper,you're better offering people what you can afford and if its not acceptable then at least you asked.If you're using Unity the forums there have people always looking for work,finding people who will do work for free is tough unless you have something to show that looks good quality so they know its a decent project worth there time.

Jan 10 2013, 10:29am Anchor

What do you think about paying by the hour vs paying for milestones of completed work?
What could you get away with cheaper?

Since I'm not an experienced developer I probably have a lot of wrong ideas about how long time something should take to be created.. so I might be making ridiculous milestone offers.
But what if I hire a programmer that isn't familiar with the engine I want to use, Then he probably has no idea about how long time it should take him to create something if he knew how to use the engine... Making a certain feature with that engine might be super simple compared to making it in a other engine once you become more familiar and experienced in that engine.

And is there any way to protect myself against programmers who might want to take advantage of me?
Working slower than usual to get more money from hourly salary.. or making very high milestone salary suggestions etc.

Also just to get an idea of how cheap I could go with salary..
Would 5 dollar per hour be way too low?
What about 3 dollar per hour?
(Keep in mind this wouldn't be a fulltime or even parttime job, Just something to work on whenever the programmer has some free time.. Maybe 5-10 hours per week would be great.)

Jan 10 2013, 11:27am Anchor

I've never been paid by the hour on a indie project,usually paid more by week/milestone.It would be a lot cheaper for you that way for sure.I wouldn't hire anyone who hasn't used the game engine you use to be honest,if you're paying pay half when you see work in progress or full at the end (e.g weekly),anyone you hire will want to feel same safety that they're not getting ripped off.3 dollars would be really pushing it for most people I think,even for easy work but you might find someone looking to just make a little extra each week (specially if they're student or just learning).

lancer611 Professional Software Developer
Jan 10 2013, 12:15pm Anchor

You should look at There are *tons* of programmers on there, many that are working for $5-10/hr. It even allows you to setup the job so that you pay for milestone, not hour. Note that the lower $ a person asks for, the poorer their code is likely to be as well as taking them longer to complete tasks.


Controlling complexity is the essence of computer programming.  --Brian Kernigan
Game I was paid to make -

Jan 10 2013, 1:36pm Anchor

If a complete noob anything from free to $5 per hour.
Intermediate $10 - $60 per hour
Specialist $50 - $100+ an hour

I've released 5 game titles and charge $45 an hour per game development.
For software/websites I charge more, usually $60 an hour.

Jan 11 2013, 10:19am Anchor

Is there a difference if you pay someone weekly or hourly?
Because I'm thinking of trying to offer some programmers 4 dollar per hour.. and expect them to work 10 hours per week.. any overtime is them working for free.
So that equals 40 dollar per week... But if you tell them they work for 40 dollar per week instead of 4 dollar per hour then maybe they work more than 10 hours?

I think this is a salary I could live with paying someone.
But do you think I could get enough work done with that salary?

And I looked at odesk and I only saw one single game developer who had experience with one of the popular engines.. he was specialized in unity.
But I didn't see any other game developers mention any other big game engines.

ambershee Nimbusfish Rawks
Jan 11 2013, 10:25am Anchor

If you advertise, someone might come along. I'm not sure what you'll get for $4 an hour though. I usually charge ~$14 per hour for unfunded individuals (equates to around minimum legal wage in this country).

Jan 11 2013, 10:43am Anchor

Does someone have any insight to hire programmers from india?
They have really low salaries, and they take the jobs very serious even for so little money.

They all seem to have done some course in school to learn programming in languages like c++ for example but I think it will be really alien to them if they get contract asking them to work in for example UDK where it's not just enough to just know how to write code in c++ but you must know how to design code for a game etc.. game loops and things like that.

I think I would try to find someone in europe or america though..
But Just asking because there's sooo many indians on odesk.. for the lowest salaries.

Do you think it could work out well hiring one of them?
I think they seem very loyal and hard workers so that's really good I don't think I could find an american working that hard for so low salary.
Maybe could even ask the programmer if he can go and familiarize himself with the engine I want to use before we write a contract.
Maybe give him a little test contract where he writes me a small feature for my game for maybe 5 dollar.. And after that start the weekly 40 dollar contract.

ambershee Nimbusfish Rawks
Jan 11 2013, 12:01pm Anchor

In my experience, they're generally hard working and reliable people - but you get what you pay for. Whilst they often have a good academic grasp of programming principles, they seem to lack the appropriate experience to write production code.

That is a sweeping generalisation though, it's of course not always the case.

lancer611 Professional Software Developer
Jan 11 2013, 1:03pm Anchor

Killsomething wrote:
And I looked at odesk and I only saw one single game developer who had experience with one of the popular engines.. he was specialized in unity.
But I didn't see any other game developers mention any other big game engines.

Just post an hourly job and lots of people will apply (ppl are reluctant to take a fixed price job from a person new to odesk) and make sure to set a limit on how many hours per week you can be charged for. You might not get any people with specific experience in the tool set you are looking for, but that probably won't matter. A good coder can always learn something new if he needs to make a quick buck. Theres also a chance you'll find someone who already wants to learn what you need, but never had a good reason to (ie a job).

Before awarding the job, be sure to tell him what you expect in the first few hours. If he doesn't meet your expectations, cancel the contract and repost the job to get someone new.

Edited by: lancer611


Controlling complexity is the essence of computer programming.  --Brian Kernigan
Game I was paid to make -

Jan 13 2013, 11:21am Anchor

I'm currently getting ready to post a job on odesk but I've got another question first..
Is there anything I can do to protect myself or make it less likely that the person I hire won't suddenly stop working for me?
Because I realize I will need to hire an artist as well and if the artist leaves after having done what I've asked of him/her so far then any more art i will need to for the game going onward must come from a new artist that won't have the same style.. it will look weird.

Also can I do jobs on odesk so the contractor only works one week every other week.. so I have some time between working weeks to plan more features for him to work on?

Also when contractor and I are talking together on for example skype.. talking about what he/she will program for me like for example character creation.. it will most likely be a good conversation needed about that to figure out what exactly kind of character system I want.. if just one outfit or changing armors and face and hair etc... do these discussion cost money too in general? Or should I say something about this in advertisement that planning discussions do not include in work hours or something?

lancer611 Professional Software Developer
Jan 13 2013, 1:32pm Anchor

For the artist, do a fixed price job and you won't have to pay until they have completed the work. If they take too long or w/e, just find someone else.

I don't know about the every other week thing, but you can always change the allowable hours to 0 until you're ready for them to work more.

Yes, chatting about the job would be considered being on the clock. I would suggest that you do any planning by yourself beforehand, and write it out in an email.


Controlling complexity is the essence of computer programming.  --Brian Kernigan
Game I was paid to make -

Jan 14 2013, 1:31am Anchor

Killsomething wrote:
Because I'm thinking of trying to offer some programmers 4 dollar per hour.. and expect them to work 10 hours per week.. any overtime is them working for free.
So that equals 40 dollar per week...

You're going to battle to find somebody for $4 an hour, that is daylight robbery. If you're lucky you'll find a complete noob who is new to game development.
The average on oDesk seems to be around $22 an hour.

If you do find somebody for $4 an hour, its going to be messy, unoptimised, and very badly coded, and if the guy is earning $4 an hour and suddenly finds a job for $10 an hour, he's going to leave you with a half baked piece of spaghetti project, that you'll hand over another developer to work with, the developer will ask if you joking, and will probably want to re-code from scratch.

If you're serious about getting a game made, fork out the cash and get a decent developer. Don't be a cheap-ass, it will come and bite you back in the end.

Edited by: Meltdown_Interactive

Jan 14 2013, 8:03am Anchor

You are most likely correct on that meltdown.
I'm not trying to be a cheap-ass if I could afford paying more than 20 dollar per hour I would for exactly the reasons you mentioned.
But I don't have a lot of money left over after paying rent, electric bills and food and all those things needed to live.

I'm going to try one last time to be the programmer myself but hero engine is so insanely difficult to use compared to other engines I've tried like unity for example.
I just can't figure out how to use this engine.. so I don't have any other choice but to give up game development or try find a really cheap programmer.
Sure I could hire one of those quality programmers but I don't think 2 or maybe 3 hours of work is going to get me far every week or every other week.
Or maybe it would? hmm 10 hours of unprofessional work or 2 hours of professional work? Might even get the 22 dollar per hour person to work for maybe 16 dollar and then I could probably make it 3-4 hours or push over my comfortable budget and make it 5.

That's something to think about will take a look at the programmers in the 10-25 price range.
Before I only looked at programmers working for less than 10 dollar.

Jan 15 2013, 1:16am Anchor

If you have skills of your own to offer the project, such as 3D modelling or art, then you can collaborate with a programmer on your project. You do all the 3D/Art, he does the programming. The Unity3D forum has a collaboration section, check it out.

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