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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Programming = Scam?

    I am so angry right now i just can't even think straight. Everytime i hire a programmer it's the same thing, excuses, excuses, excuses why they can't do the work or why they haven't given me any updates. I always hear these excuses oh my computer broke or oh my cat died or yeah i had a runny nose last night. Almost 90% of the programmers i have hired have taken me for a ride and i'm angry! What's the deal some of you guys have these elaborate portfolios and resumes and contact me 5 times a day before you get your money and after you get it wtf do you do go to disneyland or something?

    I'm not sure if any of you scam artist know that if you scam someone out of $500 or more worth of work in the us it's a class a felony punishable up to 5-10 years in prison. I mean how do you guys sleep at night knowing your putting someone through hell that hired you and gave you work?

    I know some people are going to be like haven't you done your research before hiring these people and do you sign contracts. My answere is yes to all of those. Some of these guys are people that have done good work for me in the past and they decide for some bizare reason that there going to take my money and run.

  2. #2
    Put your best practices away. The New Guy's Avatar
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    Clients do the same thing. You just have to find good clients and good programmers.
    "A nerd who gets contacts
    and a trendy hair cut is still a nerd"

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  3. #3
    Visit docquesting.com docquesting's Avatar
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    That totally sucks. I understand in some small degree. Hard to find honest people and ones that communicate like they should.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jelena's Avatar
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    Just like in every business, you have responsible and irresponsible people. That's the way it goes.
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard trampt's Avatar
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    I went through 5 local programmers before finding one that actually was actually able to do what he said he could. Probably wasted about $500+ on small test projects to find a capable programmer.

    Personally I think its harder to find good programmers than designers. If I am looking to outsource design I can see the design & the code and know right away if they are what I am looking for. With programmers, they could have just installed a canned package and are pretty much incapable of developing custom code, and I wouldn't find that out until I make a partial payment and see what they deliver.

    The best advice I can give is to find someone local who's door you can knock on if problems arise.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Evangelist chiphunt1's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like your "programmers" aren't going through the requirements and specification process correctly and then giving you a timelime of when things will be finished. I understand your anger, but you say you have contracts, so you are covered. It sucks to have to take legal action, but it's fairly cheap to file a small claims suit and you can recover the cost and time in the lawsuit. What is the general rule you have been following in paying your programmers? We usually charge half up front and then the other half at delivery. Is this what you have experienced? Do you know their office locations? Are you working with local people? Any good design firm or small LLC has a reputation and most survive on that reputation. We have built our business through word of mouth and now can start other forms of advertising. Without word of mouth we would have never made it. I personally would just file a small claims suit.
    Calm down -- it's only ones and zeroes

  7. #7
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    I usually pay the programmers a 25-50% deposit. I learned my lesson if i get scammed again i will do more then small claims i will file a fraud report with my local officials and the FBI. What i don't understand is how they can sleep at night knowing they took someones money.

  8. #8
    Grr. Arrgh. Mr. B's Avatar
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    I've had the same problems in the past. There are a lot of things you have to keep in mind when you're hiring a developer. Keep in mind, this is my personal list and may not be absolutely everything (or absolutely right), so feel free to add your own.

    - If they immediately agree to do your project without knowing the full specifications (meaning sitting down with you to discuss, asking questions, explaining things), that should throw up a flag.

    - If the developer agrees to do the job for a very low price, that should throw up a flag. If you're looking for someone to build a site for you extremely cheap, you might want to rethink that.

    - Make sure you're not the one contributing to any problems. If you say youre going to do something, do it on the timeline you promise. If you say you're going to give the developer something he/she needs to move forward, don't push it off and do something else. Don't make them wait. They can put your project on the back burner and it's nobody's fault but yours.

    - Make sure you are clear on what you want done. A good developer will help you figure out the best way to do things at the best price. They need to be though of as part of your team. Keep in mind that you probably don't know how to do everything and that you hired them for a reason. The reason? They (hopefully) know what they're doing and can deliver. Don't change your mind often in the middle of development. That will only make things more difficult and will make them take longer.

    - This goes back to the hiring cheap part - don't take the first person that offers you a low price. Talk to multiple people, get an idea of what you should expect based on multiple quotes and timelines.


    Those are the only things I can think of off the top of my head, but I have a list at home of the things that I go through. I've been hosed on development deals more than I care to remember, but I've also met people lately (mostly through sitepoint) who are professional and willing to work with you.

  9. #9
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    Almost every freelancer I have found online, and yes I do some research has tryed to scam and not do work, or done a horrible not even close to any standard job. No I am not gonna generalize I have had 1 or 2 very good ones

  10. #10
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    I had a similar experience but it was my fault. I didnít draw up a contract. After trying to contact the programmer in good faith I just gave up and moved on to someone else. Even if they have a good tracking record its still hard to make sure someone follows through.

    For me a requirement is that a programmer contacts me via PM or email daily or at least every 2 days. I donít pay in full either. I have to get a beta and after one month I pay. Of course this is always negotiable. Even though I did my research and had all of that you still run into trouble. Iím learning to be flexible sometimes you canít have things done at a by a certain time. I guess the thing is finding the right balance Ė being flexile and at the same time standing your ground.

  11. #11
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. B

    - If they immediately agree to do your project without knowing the full specifications (meaning sitting down with you to discuss, asking questions, explaining things), that should throw up a flag.

    - If the developer agrees to do the job for a very low price, that should throw up a flag. If you're looking for someone to build a site for you extremely cheap, you might want to rethink that.

    - Make sure you're not the one contributing to any problems. If you say youre going to do something, do it on the timeline you promise. If you say you're going to give the developer something he/she needs to move forward, don't push it off and do something else. Don't make them wait. They can put your project on the back burner and it's nobody's fault but yours.
    Great post - I totally agree with these points, especailly the first 2!

    If you hire a developer in hardly any time, for a very low price.. You just hired a bad developer
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. ó Socrates

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  12. #12
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    Mr. B list is excellent.

    I did play both roles - from one side we often work as sub-contractors, from other side sometimes I hire external developers if my core staff overloaded.

    Would add there about asking references and have expert that work for you who can evaluate code quality of your prospect developers; do small pilot projects before starting serious.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javen23m
    I usually pay the programmers a 25-50% deposit.
    I would suggest that you take on a project management role and break down the work into smaller pieces. If you break it down into 5 pieces, say, then pay half of a piece before and half on completion, then if they don't do that work, you only lose 10% on any single piece. It also reduces the risk for the developer since developers are weary of clients (i.e. you in this situation) because it happens both ways.

    If you haven't done project management, maybe you either need to learn it or hire someone who knows it. Either way, the smaller the pieces, the less risk you take on for each piece.

    But yeah, just taking the money and running is not only irresponsible - it's stupid. They are removing chances of repeat work with you. It does seem odd that it is happening so much more often with you than with others. Maybe you are doing something different that increases the chances of this?

    Regards,
    Eli

  14. #14
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    I've been burnt by several Freelancers in the past, this is why I'm very hesitant to hire anyone to do anything for me. I've always been a fan of physically working together with someone, being able to look him straight in the eyes and tell them to pick up the pase

  15. #15
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazy_yogi
    I would suggest that you take on a project management role and break down the work into smaller pieces. If you break it down into 5 pieces, say, then pay half of a piece before and half on completion, then if they don't do that work, you only lose 10% on any single piece.
    Interesting idea, but really it's just making things more complicated. Altering the way you manage projects based on an assumption that the developers are going to blow it misses the point, in my opinion. The goal is to find great developers and keep them, so you dont have to deal with any of that stuff.

    I would consider a review of the process by which you FIND developers. Make sure you are paying enough, writing clear enough specs, communicating well, and doing a good job checking out the teams before you move forward.

    Structure your project with a near-term milestone and frequent status reports. Connect payment to those milestones, and see how it goes. If the early milestone(s) aren't met, be sure that you have another team ready to jump in - always have options and be ready to move fast.

    With developers, you have to go through 10 to get one good one, and they are all different. So, finding a good fit is best accomplished by rapidly identifying and rejecting poor candidates - move quick, and make your decision early about whether to commit. Explain this to the developers, too - let them have a chance to impress you.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. ó Socrates

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagewing
    Interesting idea, but really it's just making things more complicated. Altering the way you manage projects based on an assumption that the developers are going to blow it misses the point, in my opinion. The goal is to find great developers and keep them, so you dont have to deal with any of that stuff.
    That's analogous to saying find great employees/contractors/clients so you don't need a contract.

  17. #17
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    I don't think so - there's a big difference between improving the way you find developers to reduce problems, and saying you don't need a contract. The contract is good for communications and protection, but anything you can do to avoid such problems is very worthwhile.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. ó Socrates

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  18. #18
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    You need contracts *and* you need to be careful how you pay them for the simple fact of making sure that if they get the urge to rip you off, you limit the pain to yourself.

    That's qutie seperate from finding good people.

  19. #19
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    I think what im going to do for my next big project is hire someone over at getafreelancer and make sure i pick someone with a perfect record and feedback rating. Also im going to start doing email contracts where they must agree thru email to the terms. That way they dont come back to me and say you never said i had to do that.

  20. #20
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    You know those guys on the "hire a free lancher" sites aren't always so great either. I had one programmer who had a perfect 10 from over 30 reviews. Then he had one reviewer who said he canceled the project after the due date. I was a little hesistant to work with him but I just went with it and that was one of the worst mistakes I've ever made. It turns out he can easily cancel a project and you as the webmaster can't really do anything - meaning you can't even review the guy. So just a little reminder those reviews might not even be good indicators.

  21. #21
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Yep... finding a reliable programmer is tough, which is why my business works
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. ó Socrates

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  22. #22
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    Can you explain that to me in more detail? Also what happened the guy took your money and half way in said man i dont feel like working and canceled it and ran off with your money?

    Quote Originally Posted by StinkyStrawberry
    You know those guys on the "hire a free lancher" sites aren't always so great either. I had one programmer who had a perfect 10 from over 30 reviews. Then he had one reviewer who said he canceled the project after the due date. I was a little hesistant to work with him but I just went with it and that was one of the worst mistakes I've ever made. It turns out he can easily cancel a project and you as the webmaster can't really do anything - meaning you can't even review the guy. So just a little reminder those reviews might not even be good indicators.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Zealot talash's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I feel you need to spend more time in identifying the right programmer / programming company. Not only that, you need to play a VERY active role in writing a detailed and good quality specification, if you really want quality result from any programmer.

    Out of 100 programmers, 10 are good programmers (if not less) and 1 (or may be less ) are good analysts who will understand your business and make the software according to you. This is a tough business and this is why good programmers are highest paid.

    I do not have a lot of trust in freelancing sites (no hard feelings)!

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    Abhishek
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