Typical billable efficiency for a web programmer?


Out of a 40-hour work week, how many hours of actual productive work is reasonable for me to expect from a salaried web developer? (low-high range?) In our case, productive work means billable work for our clients.

Employees Salary Budget

asked Aug 16 '13 at 01:45
186 points

2 Answers


I am assuming your asking this question to help calculate profit and risk of taking on an employee.

First off there is more than just efficiency thats going to cause you problems , this is a big factor, but there are others.

  • Desk cost which is how much does it cost to actually have that person sit at your office. Rent, computers, screens,desks,electricity, office coffee, and so on. Also some of these you pay when that person isn't even working. Figure out your desk cost!
  • Efficiency. How much billable work can someone get done in a period of time
  • Training
  • Non-billable work. Meetings with internal staff , internal projects ,and so on
  • Sick and vacation time that you pay for but don't bill.

Now to answer your question best case scenario give them a 80% efficiency , this is for your top uber productive guy who loves his job and loves the work.

For someone who hates their job hates the work and maybe even you... 45%-60%. If you are startup ,hire people that have a startup mentality so you can get the high end efficiency rating. Desk costs should be fairly constant no matter who you hire.

OH and make sure you add in some profit for yourself :)

answered Aug 16 '13 at 02:08
Ross Mann
546 points


I live right across the street from an Ebay Campus. Judging by how many developers are taking walks and goofing around you can safely assume that the quality and quantity of dev work goes down per developer as your company becomes too large and and there are too many developers.

I have seen small companies of 5-6 devs put out full 40 hour weeks. It really comes down to how you organize your time and your developers times. If you set a bad example by having random meetings and pulling people away, soon they will do the same to themselves. Bring your dog to work, and they will bring their toys to work too.

Really what you need to do is break down the schedule where its flexible enough and still makes times for brief meetings. If this is your first software venture i recommend reading Growing Software to get an overview of what it takes to manage successful developer teams. The book goes through a few examples.

The way i do it. 10 AM team meeting, try to keep it as short as possible and just go over weekly objectives and timelines. Then 1 on 1 meetings with each developer (how you doing pop ins to see if there are any issues for next days 10 am). I also find if you put all your developers in an open enviornment you get less fucking around. be sure to block facebook and other sites at the router level. Most of all, sell your vision, its really easy to goof around if you dont care about what you are working on.

answered Aug 16 '13 at 15:47
2,079 points

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Employees Salary Budget