How much to charge for a beginner web app made on spec?

I’m an aspiring web developer working my way through Codecademy tutorials. As a practice project, I’ve made a web app for my girlfriend’s employer-- a simple app that, when a button is clicked, uses the Gmail and Google Sheets APIs to modify a spreadsheet and send a bunch of emails. As of today, I’ve successfully deployed it, and it’s working, and I’m feeling really good about this.

I did this on spec, but the employer has now offered to pay me for the app. I gotta be honest: I have absolutely NO frame of reference for what to charge. (Figuring out the career aspects of being a developer is gonna be a bigger challenge for me than learning the actual skills.) Was wondering if people could give me some guidance?

I definitely want it to be a low amount, for fairly obvious reasons: I’m a beginner, the app is fairly beginnerish despite working well, no payment was agreed to up front, and of course, they could’ve simply bought an existing email automation product. So I certainly want to charge less than a product like that would cost, and less than an experienced, professional developer would’ve charged for this project. And I don’t know how much that is! (If you can tell me what you think an experienced developer would charge for something like this, that should be all the info I need.)

Thanks for any help! I look forward to posting in the Codecademy forums more as I navigate the confusing path from learning to code to learning to code for money.

If it’s an app that is unique and that you created then I would suggest consulting an attorney about pricing it appropriately and, or selling it before you do anything.

It’s not nearly that big of a deal; it’s a very simple app that just modifies a spreadsheet and sends some emails. It’s not something anyone would want to buy, it’s not relevant to anyone outside of this one employer (which is a small business), and it’s not even particularly well-made of an app; it’s just a simple little quick-and-dirty practice project that I did.

Thanks for the suggestion, but what I need help with is simply figuring out what a developer might typically charge for something like this, so that I can charge less than that. Any thoughts?

Ah. Ok. Well, how much time and effort did you put into it? (How much is your time worth? $75-100/hour? More?) Find out what the company normally pays for contract work.
Think of it this way- they needed someone who had a skill that they didn’t have. How much is your skill set worth? It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie. You still created something for them that saves them time/effort.

It’s hard to say exactly how much time and effort I put into it, because it was a learning project; for instance, I went into it knowing nothing about how to work with APIs, and spent a lot of time fumbling my way through approaches that ultimately didn’t work. And because I did this on spec as a learning project and they’ve kindly offered to pay me after the fact, I’m not charging based on my time or labor; it’s more of a token fee as a sign of respect.

This company is a very small local business; I don’t know what they’d normally pay someone for something like this, but I think it’s likely that they just wouldn’t, or else they could’ve simply bought a product that automates emails. This just happened to be an opportunity for me to work on a real-life project that also benefits a small business.

I want to emphasize that I do NOT want to base my requested fee on the amount of time or labor I put into this! I did this for free, and they are offering to pay me as a token of respect, so I would like to ask for an amount that is appropriate for a token of respect. It should be less than an experienced developer would charge for their time and labor, less than an email automation product would cost, should not assume that the company is large or anything like that… really just a nominal fee. But I still have absolutely no idea what the frame of reference for something like that might be.

If someone can tell me what an experienced developer might charge a small business for something like this, I can simply ask for less than that-- but for the moment, I don’t know where to begin!

I cannot stress enough that this job was done explicitly as a freebie and more for my benefit than theirs, and they’ve offered after the fact to pay me. As far as I’m concerned, they could pay me $0 and I’d get what I wanted to get out of this. So I’m very much NOT trying to figure out what a job like this would TYPICALLY cost; I’m trying to figure out how much to charge in the context of charging for a one-time freebie retroactively :slight_smile:

I hear you. But, you wouldn’t be asking here if you didn’t think your work had monetary value.
It doesn’t matter that you “fumbled along the way” (we all do that [even in paid gigs]! :slight_smile: ) --they don’t know that.

It’s nice that they’re offering to pay you, as they should. Your efforts saved them some money (or saved them from going on a site like Upwork). You also got to learn something. I would ask for $75. (I say this as someone in NYC, where ppl would pay that or more). Or, ask for $50 if that makes you less uncomfortable. :woman_shrugging:
I would also add, never feel guilty or awkward asking for what you think you’re worth. (If someone is offended by that, then that’s on them.)
And hey, who knows, they might ask you to do more stuff for them in the future.

Thanks! Based on your advice, I think $75 seems like a good ask. (I’m in NYC too!)

I still need to figure out what my rate is going to be going forward-- don’t be surprised if that’s my next thread!-- but this is a great start. Thanks!

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