Over the last couple of months I have not only been completing freelance writing tasks, I have also been helping a client with a few development projects. I have been responsible for putting project guidelines together, posting projects at various freelance services and finally selecting the individuals or teams that I wanted to work with to complete the job. There have been some positive and negative experiences so far and as a result I have developed a few rules that I will follow in the future in order to make the process run much smoother when searching out freelancers.
Make sure you have a clearly defined project outline with as much detail as possible.
If you’re going into a project with just a vague or general idea of what you want created and accomplished, you’re heading for disaster. Simply putting something like “I want to create a site like…” is bound to create communication issues between yourself and whatever freelancer is foolish enough to bid on such a project. Creating a detailed document that includes an overall description of the project, the desired features and design considerations is essential to the success of the project.
Don’t be lured by cheap bids.
When a freelancer or team of coders undercut most of their competitors, you definitely need to be wary of their motivation. Sometimes you will have people willing to work for much cheaper then normal as they’re trying to nail down their first freelance job on a certain project board to help their feedback while others are just attempting to get as many jobs regardless of the cost. Both of these motivations can turn into a very negative experience for all parties involved. Newcomers hoping to increase their feedback profile may end up resenting the project part way through and not put their full efforts forward because they’re making very little money on an hourly basis. Those trying to get as many projects as possible regardless of the cost will often produce sloppy work and submit items late due as they’re trying to juggle too many projects at once.
Ask questions and review portfolios
When you receive bids on the project ask lots of questions such as the team’s programming experience, what projects they have worked on recently, how long have they been doing it, etc. The more questions you ask, the better the feel you will get for their capabilities. Also, thoroughly review their portfolio to make sure they have experience in both the programming language you’ve requested as well as projects similar to yours.
I’m sure you’ll have your own experiences once you get a project or two under your belt just as I had. If you have any of your own rules or recommendations, be sure to leave a comment below.