Geoff Chappell - Software Analyst
Look around this website. I have a long history of knowing my areas of interest in Windows better than anyone else who has published on them, of correcting what Microsoft writes, and of documenting what Microsoft doesn’t. You will rarely see anywhere such a commitment to precision and reliability. Get this working for you when your own Windows programmers are stuck or you’d prefer to have a Windows expert do the programming from the outset.
This fee schedule applies from 1st January 2017. All fees are denominated in U.S. dollars.
If you don’t like these rates, which are roughly those of an experienced but non-expert accountant or lawyer, take them merely as a guide and make me an offer. I have always been open to working at much reduced rates, and even for free, if you present an interesting problem or if you compromise on intellectual-property rights, e.g., by letting me publish results to my own website (after a time, perhaps) or by agreeing to put my name to anything you publish from the work. Or just look like you’re not going to burden me with overheads.
To get your consultation under way, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please take care to introduce yourself and set out your problem’s details as carefully as you yet know them. Please also bear in mind that I do have terms. I mean them to be as accommodating as can be within my business model of consultation as funding for research. If you need different terms, please say so from the outset so that I know to think what might be done to meet your concerns instead of wasting your time and mine by hoping that you’ll explain yourself.
The standard rate for small work items such as crash-dump analyses and casual questions about undocumented or under-documented Windows API functions is $400 per hour. A minimum of one hour applies. After that, time is counted in decimal parts of hours.
This rate is my highest, though it is arguably nowhere near to high enough, because experience shows that this sort of work often takes more time to negotiate than to do. Two discounts are available in circumstances that suggest you will use much less of my un-billable time.
Work that would usually count as casual can be obtained for $350 per hour if you purchase 40 or more hours in advance to use or lose within six months.
This discount rate of $350 per hour is also available if you establish a reasonable expectation of providing well-organised problems for at least 40 hours per month over six months or more.
Of course, 40 hours as 40 one-hour problems or even 20 two-hour problems is very different from 40 hours as one uninterrupted work item. Because I very much prefer the latter the rates for larger work items are very much lower.
The rate for investigative reports and for programming projects is $2,500 daily and $12,000 weekly, based on 8-hour days and 5-day weeks. Partial days and weeks are billed as whole. Excess hours for long days and excess days for long weeks are billed pro rata. In essence, then, for a project that’s expected to take weeks, you get $300 as an hourly rate.
Please note that although I respond quickly to commercial problems, especially for emergencies, my ability to schedule whole days, let alone weeks, is sometimes limited. The longer the engagement, the more you should expect a delay before I can arrange your work around other work. To secure my attention or availability, consider a retainer.
I will try to quote a price for a well-specified self-contained problem. I will not engage in refining your specification as part of a quote. I will not accept responsibility for time that depends on other people, e.g., to gather information or agree on interfaces.
Experience has shown that problems are often brought to me only because they have already shown a capacity to surprise even the brightest of programmers. For such problems, it is rarely sensible to estimate even to within a factor of two. More typical is that I can be no less vague than to estimate whether your work will take me a few hours, a few days or a few weeks.
If your project looks like it would need my time for months, then I likely can’t take it on unless it can clearly be broken into manageable pieces. I am not certainly uninterested, but I am a consultant not a contractor. Anyway, much of the point to consulting me is that even if you have already spent months on your project and not got very far, I see how to do it in weeks, not months.