My software startup is considering a project for a client that has a significant hardware component: a custom device with GSM, GPS and CAN connectivity for use inside a vehicle. We'll design the board ourselves (we have hardware experience), and we'll have to research CAN codes for locking/unlocking car doors, produced prototypes and write the firmware from scratch.

We'll soon have to negotiate a price for the R&D (calculating the per-device cost will be easier), but we don't know what is typical in the industry. How much should work like that cost? I'm just looking for a ballpark figure.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is more about business than EE. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Sep 8, 2013 at 2:51
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It's not a general business question. It's specifically about how much EE work costs. Only people in the EE field would know that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Isvara
    Sep 8, 2013 at 3:23

1 Answer 1


From what I've seen I think $100-200 is a typical rough ball park hourly rate for small companies. This is for time and material type contracts. Fixed bid should be 30% or so higher.


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