I'm a software developer in a East European country working for a tiny software firm with only few developers. Our owner is also our manager; he lives in the North America and makes arrangements and gets specifications for our projects which are mostly smaller web-based apps for internal usage. Our two biggest clients are from the financial industry, although from time to time we simply make a website for some company.
I was the first employee in our firm and for a couple of years I was designing, developing and updating all the projects that we worked on. All of our clients seemed to be very happy. I never talked to or met any of them but I noticed that they only kept asking for more of what I did. My boss was also happy. I don’t know how much custom software development costs in the developed world, but I assume that it’s well over what I cost him (around $1500 with all taxes/month).
Over the time he decided to hire more people so he hired few developers more, but they don’t have any experience, nor they had to pass any test. I had vast experience in different companies and different technologies prior to this job and better education. We ended up in a situation where I’m doing most of the work, basically all of the work for all larger projects and most of the work on simpler ones. I probably have the largest salary, but that’s certainly far away from being proportional to my productivity.
Now, our boss got a chance to sign a very lucrative contract with a very large North-American company, kind of deal where we’ll charge them per transaction. Expectations are that during next year that deal alone will cash us between half a million and a million dollars. It is very unlikely that they will succeed developing that without me, especially since the quality requirements are pretty high and deadline is only 6 months. With me the project would be done within that deadline, and I would do at least 80% of it. After the initial start (in 6 months) there will be a lot of development on that project for years to come.
Now, I feel that I deserve some share of that deal; however I need my salary as well. So my question is: is it fair to ask for a percentage of that deal (while keeping my salary) and what is the appropriate percentage to ask for?