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Game Dev Contracting - How much to ask

The all important money question

We come across this question all the time. How much to quote a client for a game development project? While every project is unique, here are a few pointers on how to approach pricing your services:

a) Figure out what your time is worth

Since you're essentially selling your time to the client, how much is this worth in terms of your time? Could you be doing something else, at a higher rate?

b) The client's budget

What is the client willing to pay for your services? Savvy clients tend to already have a number in their mind, with some leeway. If your number is lower, it might help them with their project savings. If your number is higher, it might turn them off. Non savvy clients tend to be more exploratory.

c) Figure out the timeline

Does this clash with your other projects? Do you have other, better projects to work on? Is this a 6 month project with continuous support needed, or a quick 1 month project?

d) The client's perspective

What is the client gaining from this project? If it's a revenue generating game project, how does that increase the sales of your client? Is it appropriate to ask a small percentage of the projected revenue, or is it better to go at a fixed rate? If it *not a revenue generating project, what benefit does the client get from the gain? How is that translated into dollars?

e) A comparable past project

Did you previously work on a similar project? How much did you charge for it? Having past experiences will help your client understand and possibly draw deeper comparison, and affirm that the pricing is justified.

Summary

I hope these pointers help. More importantly, it gives you a mental framework of how to deal with potential projects. 

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