Agreed to work on a mobile app project on Android. No contract signed, just was given what the client wanted from this sub-contractor.

No specific details given, had to figure out a lot of the minute details of how they wanted the application to behave. We would deliver a working part of the product before getting a % of the pay. We charged $30 /hr on a mobile app, low as heck.

It was me and another developer, neither of us had any contact with the clients to ask questions, all questions had to go through the sub-contractor. Many arguments and months later we find that what they're asking for only a phone manufacturer can do. Sub-contractor blames us for not doing our "research" when she/he was the only one able to contact the client to get requirements.

Sub-contractor wanted us to refund money. We declined but offered solutions.

Sub-contractor goes to client and manages to get approval of what we were able to do. Finally a light in this dark tunnel spanning 7 months.

On the day of releasing to the client the finished app, we get notification from Google that the app won't be published due to a recent policy change that came into effect in January. WTF.

Go back to sub-contractor, tell the bad news. Once again he/she says it's our fault for not doing the "research". Yeah as if we knew what Google is going to change. Asks for paid money back. We refuse.

We lastly suggested that we remove what Google wants removed on the app and release it that way.

We had billed 300 hours cumulative divided among 3 people (including the sub-contractor who didn't appear to do anything), and just 2 months of development. It's been 7 months and we were only paid for 240 hours, the rest was unpaid, and the sub-contractor still wants to make us give it back. /rant

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    If money is involved, contract is must, even if bare-minimum, bereft of legal jargon.
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    @ajit555 Agreed, lesson learned. This project continues to cause problems and I want out. Since no contract for the work was ever signed, what are my options? I no longer care for the final payment, and the app is 'finished' but unpublishable due to the recent policy change.
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    @irene Market rates around here for mobile development hovers around $50 /hr. Sub-contractor really wanted that project so decided to go around half market rate. I needed the side job so I took it - I regret it now lol. But I'd like to know what you think a fair rate for mobile development should be.
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    @irene In Canada. When converted to USD they don't look as intimidating lol. $22~ /hr USD?
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    @irene I believe that. If I were developing for an Eastern European client I would change the rate to a local market rate. Our client was Canadian so we charged a local market rate... well, below market rate.
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    @Cuauh You do not need to refund the money to the subcontractor.

    Look at this way, if the project was successful, then the subcontractor would have earned easy money. Same way, if the project goes bad, the subcontractor needs to bear the loss too. It's a simple risk vs reward situation for the subcontractor.

    Looks like there is a proper contract between the client and the subcontractor and subcontractor might need to pay the client, so in-turn, the subcontractor is forcing you to return the money back.

    You need to properly keep all the proof of work, hours put for the future.
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    @irene dunno about you but 22/h is around average for mobile in hungary
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    @irene i thought your country (that i wont write down here) was in the eu too oops
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    Welp. Good to have a comparison. Our company charges 110€ / hour for webservice development and 85€ for apps 😅😅
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    @Cuauh my English skill decays dramatically due to lack of communication.
    What do you mean “we charge”? How could you even split 30 dollar with multiple people?😹
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    @sunfishcc Basically the client got billed 300 hours (of which 240 was paid), and we split the payment into 3, each of us taking equal share. So I got 80 hours worth of payment by the 7th month. Now...I don't know how much the sub-contractor charged the client additionally to what we had estimated in hours.

    I didn't come up with this system, it was how the sub-contractor deigned fit for the project.
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    @Cuauh oh geez. in New Zealand, we charge student project for more than 300👌
    But I know some individual developers convert static web pages into react native apps. The type of project do cost about 300 each (around 5 - 10 pages, basically a main and a contact)
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    No contract? I wonder how this story ends. Oh, client doesn’t want to pay. What a surprise...
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