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Thread: Experiences of Rent a Coder websites

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    Senior Member AGTDenton's Avatar
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    Question Experiences of Rent a Coder websites

    Hi Guys

    Just wondered if anyone has had any experience with sites such as Rent a Coder, Guru or Elance, whether you have done work for people as a programmer or asked for work to be done.

    I have a friend who wants a piece of software developing and can't decide which route to take. I would rather use a programmer in the UK with some face to face contact.

    Cheers.


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    HEXUS.social member finlay666's Avatar
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    Re: Experiences of Rent a Coder websites

    From both sides.... it's not worth the hassle.

    From the perspective of a client: The agency I work at has had very large projects that were taken on from these bedroom devs that have been sub par, full of security holes and in some cases just plain broken and had to fix and maintain them, as the saying goes: buy cheap, buy twice.

    You also have to watch out for not getting what you paid for and not knowing it. Getting access to things like source code should be a given but it's rarely that simple

    From the perspective of someone trying to get work on there (my old company were ok with staff freelancing out of hours): It's always a competition to do it cheaper and faster than someone else, not to be a bit judgemental about your friend but I doubt he can adequately explain the situation to a developer who then has to do 2 very un-developerish things-
    1. estimate the length of time for the work
    2. define 'finished'

    neither of which devs are good at. There is also an expectation to create a quote that is based on very unclear requirements (again neither dev or client are good at identifying requirements both functional & business)


    I had previously used vGuru and Elance and found vGuru to be lots of smaller projects that could get away with not having much info but Elance had big pieces of work that was a concern.

    What sort of a project is it & what is the budget? If it's specialist work I may know a few places/people that do the sort of work, might be further away but the rates up North are more reasonable
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    Re: Experiences of Rent a Coder websites

    @finlay666: That's a really good answer, my brother is a web developer and has taken on a few freelance projects to pick up from where the devs on elance had left there 'finished' pieces of work and in most of those he has found it was quicker to scrap the work already completed and start again. In some cases the work barely met the basic requirements of the brief, like a site for a person to post a blog and pictures where the dev didn't allow for any uploading of user generated content, in this case my brother actually recommended an 'out of a box' solution.

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    Re: Experiences of Rent a Coder websites

    Quote Originally Posted by finlay666 View Post
    From both sides.... it's not worth the hassle.

    From the perspective of a client: The agency I work at has had very large projects that were taken on from these bedroom devs that have been sub par, full of security holes and in some cases just plain broken and had to fix and maintain them, as the saying goes: buy cheap, buy twice.

    You also have to watch out for not getting what you paid for and not knowing it. Getting access to things like source code should be a given but it's rarely that simple

    From the perspective of someone trying to get work on there (my old company were ok with staff freelancing out of hours): It's always a competition to do it cheaper and faster than someone else, not to be a bit judgemental about your friend but I doubt he can adequately explain the situation to a developer who then has to do 2 very un-developerish things-
    1. estimate the length of time for the work
    2. define 'finished'

    neither of which devs are good at. There is also an expectation to create a quote that is based on very unclear requirements (again neither dev or client are good at identifying requirements both functional & business)


    I had previously used vGuru and Elance and found vGuru to be lots of smaller projects that could get away with not having much info but Elance had big pieces of work that was a concern.
    Thanks Finlay - useful information and adds ammunition to avoiding sites like these.
    For this reason I have made the decision to not persue these websites.

    Quote Originally Posted by finlay666
    What sort of a project is it & what is the budget? If it's specialist work I may know a few places/people that do the sort of work, might be further away but the rates up North are more reasonable
    If you have recommendations that would be useful, if they have websites I will add it to my expanding list of freelancers.
    I can't go into detail at the moment because the project is at such an early stage we haven't discussed the next phase ourselves. In basic terms my friend has created a spreadsheet for himself to fill in data that he collects. For him its fine to be able to fill in a spreadsheet but he wanted to turn it into an application that he believes will be useful for others who partake in this hobby.
    The alternative is to stick with the spreadsheet, get a basic website up that can take Paypal Donations/Payments and get a feel for true interest of the project. The good thing about the spreadsheet is that it is never final, as the data that can be recoreded is effectively endless for as long as this hobby stays alive. So people would need to pay for updated spreadsheet when they need to. Obviously the spreadsheet is more open to abuse, protecting the spreadsheet will only do so much, but to simply get a feel of how many people are actually interested in it, it is the cheapest and easiest option.

    Hopefully some of this makes sense.

    I'm still unsure how much I want to get involved, my preference is be there at the start and introduce a programmer then leave the project completely, I simply do not have the time to get involved. If I had the time I would actually design the software specification with data flows, GUI's etc.. and pass this on to a developer.
    Last edited by AGTDenton; 22-05-2013 at 01:50 PM.


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    Re: Experiences of Rent a Coder websites

    It is sounding more like you need a proper design service.

    Now this is the issue, if I wanted I could knock something up like that in a 'couple of nights' in to a prototype stage and probably sell it on the app store. However good luck getting that for less than £20k.

    It isn't that programming is a black art, its just that without any understanding on your side you will do badly in a free market. As a result finding some company that has a track record (this you validate yourself, you look at software they have previously made for clients, and talk to their previous clients about it) is very important.

    Obviously this means you pay for it yourself. By the time you've gone via the agency/consultancy, the fees you will pay are probably going to be about £600-1000 a day for the developer, depending on the skill level required, and about £300-600 a day for the designer / artist, with project management about £400-900 a day. These are numbers that I see a lot rather than gospel mind.

    Outsourcing is a difficult one, you can probably save a lot of money if you do it right, my advice would be to look to Estonia or Croatia if you do. This is based on the number of people I know who have had good experiances there, vs the bad ones. India I've only ever heard bad.

    As they say, ideas are cheap, if there isn't the market for it, making an 'app' would be really worthless. He might be better off, selling his spreadsheet in Office 2013 marketplace land. You can sell spreadsheet templates in the office app store now.
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    Re: Experiences of Rent a Coder websites

    Why does this need to be a spreadsheet? Can't it be a webform? Then you can give people access to the form/data with a username and password. Sounds like something you could do with PHP or similar.

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    Re: Experiences of Rent a Coder websites

    Quote Originally Posted by b0redom View Post
    Sounds like something you could do with PHP or similar.
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    Re: Experiences of Rent a Coder websites

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAnimus View Post
    It is sounding more like you need a proper design service.

    Now this is the issue, if I wanted I could knock something up like that in a 'couple of nights' in to a prototype stage and probably sell it on the app store. However good luck getting that for less than £20k.

    It isn't that programming is a black art, its just that without any understanding on your side you will do badly in a free market. As a result finding some company that has a track record (this you validate yourself, you look at software they have previously made for clients, and talk to their previous clients about it) is very important.

    Obviously this means you pay for it yourself. By the time you've gone via the agency/consultancy, the fees you will pay are probably going to be about £600-1000 a day for the developer, depending on the skill level required, and about £300-600 a day for the designer / artist, with project management about £400-900 a day. These are numbers that I see a lot rather than gospel mind.

    Outsourcing is a difficult one, you can probably save a lot of money if you do it right, my advice would be to look to Estonia or Croatia if you do. This is based on the number of people I know who have had good experiances there, vs the bad ones. India I've only ever heard bad.

    As they say, ideas are cheap, if there isn't the market for it, making an 'app' would be really worthless. He might be better off, selling his spreadsheet in Office 2013 marketplace land. You can sell spreadsheet templates in the office app store now.
    Thanks for your reply.
    Trust is certainly going to be a big hurdle to overcome and I will emphasise legal advice.

    The budget I can see being an interesting topic when we get round to it.

    The Office template marketplace is a nice idea if only to use it as a selling tool as opposed to driving customers to it.
    However, its not really a template we currently have, more of a locked down spreadsheet with hidden formulas and only certain boxes are active that can be filled in.

    Quote Originally Posted by b0redom View Post
    Why does this need to be a spreadsheet? Can't it be a webform? Then you can give people access to the form/data with a username and password. Sounds like something you could do with PHP or similar.
    Thankfully this project cannot be online based, it must be in an offline format. This particular hobby is not one that deems it necessary to transfer any data to a server (other than to download content updates) as users will not always be in a position to be online, they need to be able to use it whether they are in a built up city or deep in the rainforests of south America. Secondly it would mean paying someone to maintain an online database at huge expense.
    That's not to say an online feature couldn't happen in the future.


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    Re: Experiences of Rent a Coder websites

    Quote Originally Posted by AGTDenton View Post
    The Office template marketplace is a nice idea if only to use it as a selling tool as opposed to driving customers to it.
    However, its not really a template we currently have, more of a locked down spreadsheet with hidden formulas and only certain boxes are active that can be filled in.
    You can actually host an excel spreadsheet like that in SharePoint. I've not tried, but you might even be able to do it with SkyDrive. If you are buying the $15 a month office cloud thing, you can just host it as a sharepoint with only certain cells enabled, the end user has no access to your proprietary formulas.

    If you've got that up and running, going to an agency would be a safer, as you've got a functional prototype. If you get to that stage it shouldn't be hard to get a couple of quotes from different agencies and find a level that is right for you.

    A mate of mine runs a place out of Victoria that uses Croatian developers, if you get to a well defined prototype stage I'd recommend looking at someone like his firm, as you have a relationship and delivery guarantee with a proper UK based firm, but the implementation is done in a part of the world that is cheaper, but not much cheaper, it will still be about £500 per day for a dev, however I've worked with two of his guys before, and they are certainly better than £500 per day gets you in London.

    But without a good prototype or spec, you will have to pay the agency to do that for you, it is a bit like handing a blank cheque.
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