Hourly Contracting Problem? Can Only Bill Limited Hours with Client


I am contracting (pay by hour) with a startup company building a web service platform (SaaS). I am a programmer. The company already has the prototype product, so my duty is to develop new features and improve current ones. Somebody in the company built the system, so for any module that I have to work on, it has a learning curve to get familiar with.

My situation is the manager thinks that if other old team members (contractors as well) can do this with just 1-2 hours while I need like 8-16 hours. He would rather have the old guys do that because of budget constraint (the company hasn't raise money from VC yet, it's still self-funding). They expects me to handle all the easy problems which should be done within couple hours. Because they want to make every dollar count. So old guys got overloaded (stall the project) and I just work less than 8 hours a week.

For me, I definitely don't want to just work couple hours a week and fix minor bugs since I already spent the time to get familiar with the system. However, I can understand the manager's position.

I just want to hear the community's voice to see - if the problem is on me? Do I not realize this is the way working for startups. (Even I am not a founder, but just a contractor). Please share your opinion, thanks.

Salary Contractor

asked Nov 20 '11 at 18:32
111 points
  • If you're not getting equity to do all that work, it's not worth the time. – Henry The Hengineer 11 years ago

2 Answers


Since you are just employed by the company and not a founder/shareholder, then your question is not startup-specific. Given your current situation, working for a low salary in exchange of a lump sum of money in case they succeed and sell the company does not make sense. I'd say if you're not happy with your work and/or salary just go and find another company, startup or not.

answered Nov 21 '11 at 00:10
Jordi Cabot
243 points


It depends on what you're trying to get out of the experience. Are you approaching this as a just a job where you want to be a 9-5er (albeit a contractor) or are you doing it for another reason, like learning about the startup world / trying to get in on some of the action?

It sounds more or less like you're a paid intern, or at least are being treated like one. If I was you, I would come up with a 1 year plan and see if that company can give you what you're looking for.

answered Nov 21 '11 at 02:28
31 points
  • I have 2 contract jobs and want this to be the main one, like working 4-8 hours a day for this company. As well as gain some working experience. However, if they treat me like this, I probably have to look for a more reliable contract/part-time job. – Stan 12 years ago

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Salary Contractor