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Context: Working as a Software Developer (Hourly Paid).

I did a project analysis on a certain project and came up with the "Software Development Proposal" Document for Company A.

Time spent Analysing the project for Company A: 40 Working Hours

Now, I am working in company B, they want me to analyze a project for the company. While working on this project, I realized that the process was very similar to Company A's project, which saved a lot of time and effort.

Time spent Analysing the project for Company B: 15 Working Hours only.

(Note that no copyright or protected material were used from Company A when analyzing the project for Company B)

Question:

Should I get paid for the hours spent only doing Company B's project, or Should I also add the number of hours spent doing Company A's Project?

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  • Are you an independent consultant, who bills by the hour, or are you a full-time employee (now of company B) that gets paid hourly? – dan.m was user2321368 Jan 15 at 16:02
  • I work at both Company A and Company B. not as full-time though, I only get paid for the amount of hours I spend doing company-related work. – Waleed Jan 15 at 16:08
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    This sounds like the joke about the software engineer that dies and gets to the pearly gates where St Peter is there to meet him. But I’m too young to die - I’m only 34 the SE says to St Peter. Oh says Peter, but according to the hours you charged your clients you are 84.... :) – Solar Mike Jan 15 at 19:15
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You get paid by the hour, so you bill 40 hours to company A's project and 15 hours to company B's project.

Putting down anything other than what you actually spent on them would be lying and/or fraud.

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  • I see your point, let's say for the sake of this argument that I charge the same rate for both companies, having said that, do you think that I should charge company B more ? – Waleed Jan 15 at 16:17
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    @Waleed I think you should charge more next time. And/or move to project-based rather than hourly pay. But changing the contract after the fact would be unethical. – Kaz Jan 15 at 16:18
  • Couldn't agree more 👍, Thanks Kaz. – Waleed Jan 15 at 16:55
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    @Waleed I wouldn't move to project based pay personally - the number of projects I've seen run over the time budget is vastly greater than the number that come in under. Project based pay sounds like a way to lower your hourly rate in most cases, even if there are a few exceptions where it would have been better. – Player One Jan 15 at 19:32
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You already got paid for the hours you worked on the Company A project.

Bill Company B for the hours you worked on the Company B project.

The fact that some of this work is reusable is besides the point.

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Should I get paid for the hours spent only doing Company B's project, or Should I also add the number of hours spent doing Company A's Project?

Unless your contract with company B has a provision that they will pay you for work performed for other companies, you should only add the hours you actually worked on company B's project.

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As other answers already say, you have to stay honest. If you only worked 15 hours for company B you can only bill them 15 hours.

But from your description it sounds like you did a task that would normally require 40 hours of work and it just so happened that you had previous knowledge and skills that allowed you (and that means you specifically) to do it only 15 hours. It is completely understandable that you want some of these 25 hours saved to end up in your account.

There are two general directions to achieve that. First, you could just increase your hourly rate, if someone else would take 40 hours for this task, even if they have to pay you twice your usual rate, company B would still be better off hiring you over someone else. Alternatively you can negotiate a bulk payment for the task instead of an hourly rate. So when taking the job you estimate how much time it would take you and then offer them a fixed price of equivalent to 30 hours at your usual rate to get the job done. The exact number of hours it takes you to do it is then your problem not theirs.

Either way, be careful not to overdo it, you still want to get the jobs. Also try to evaluate whether the time saved here was a lucky one-off situation or whether you expect similar time saving to happen frequently for future tasks.

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If you started to work with Company B after you've done the project in Company A, you should've asked to get a higher hourly rate (since you got more experience) (if you didn't then that's your fault and Company B has nothing to do with it). And to answer your question, you should be honest and take only for the 15 hours you spent on their project.

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