Scenario: Me and my friend (i'm 15 and my friend is 16 years old) were at hacker games contest!(basically an event where you have 48 hours to create software/game and present it to the public). After the contest two people contacted us asking to make an app. We didn't know how to react, so we just agreed. The app is almost finished. We worked really hard on this app, we expect to get paid. The problem is that we forgot to talk about the price at the beginning. So should we ask for money? If yes, how?

  • Have you signed any paperwork relating to the app, or was it all done verbally? – Philip Kendall May 24 '16 at 18:34
  • No paperwork. It was all done verbally. – Martis May 24 '16 at 18:35
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    Are you in the US? If so, were your parents part of these verbal agreements? – djohnson10 May 24 '16 at 18:49
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    Guys, do some serious research into what you sign. For example, are you handing over all the rights to the code? Or simply allowing them to use it? You don't want to expose yourselves to being sued by these people later. Ask for X amount for having completed the app, specify a rate for future work on the code, and who holds the rights to what piece of it. And if you sign away your rights to the code don't make the mistake of using it in the future! You may wish to get your parents, or some kind of legal professional involved as well. A contract might not be binding if you're not of legal age. – AndreiROM May 24 '16 at 19:24
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    I second Joe Strazzere's advice. Your only leverage is the app. Make sure not to give them a copy of it, even a test copy of it, that they could re-skin and re-upload under their name. Worse comes to worse, if they're not forthcoming about paying you, you publish this app under your names on Google Play/Apple's App Store. If you can't get money for it, you might as well get the credit for it. – Stephan Branczyk May 25 '16 at 7:35

Yes, you certainly should have talked about money before doing a lot of work. But that's water under the bridge.

I'd simply contact whoever it is you've been talking to sand say, "Hey, we've made good progress, it's about time we talk about money."

If they say they weren't planning to pay you and they thought you were just doing this for fun, you can just say that that's too bad and you're sorry for the misunderstanding but you're not going to hand over the code you've spent so much time on for free.

You can give a number to start negotiations, or you can let them give a number first. If you give a number, make it high but not absurd. Remember, whatever number you give, they are going to negotiate you down from there. Once you give a number, that's the maximum. If they give a number, negotiate up from there.

You can ask for a flat fee, $X upon completion of the job. It's a little late to suggest an hourly rate if the work is mostly done. Don't accept a flat fee with open-ended requirements. i.e. don't say $X and we'll keep working until you're satisfied, because then they can nitpick you to death.

Before you turn over the code, get an agreement in writing. Not because you don't trust them, but to avoid misunderstandings. Verbal agreements often fall apart because the two sides had conflicting assumptions, like X thought the agreement was $5000 for the first draft of the code, with updates to cost extra, while Y thought it was $5000 for the final complete debugged version. And no matter how well you're getting along now, things could turn sour later for any number of reasons. Get it in writing while you're on friendly terms.

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    It also might be a good idea to get a parent involved just to have a mature head in there. The app in my opinion should be very cheap considering who made it, but not free. – Kilisi May 25 '16 at 0:22
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    @kilisi Might also be free if they're mostly doing it for the fun of writing it and/or the satisfaction of seeing their game published. But as you say, not free -- unless you think the satisfaction of having it published is compensation enough. Which may be so. I've written chapters for textbooks with no compensation other than "hey, something I wrote is in a college textbook". – Jay May 25 '16 at 4:53

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