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  1. #1
    Love *********'s Forum ep2012's Avatar
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    Which way to go for my applications

    Ok, I know this is going to start a debate here, but I'm hoping some of you will be open minded.

    I've been needing to develop my applications for over 3 yrs. now & because I don't have the capital to pay someone & I've been ripped off by previous programmers who's code turned out to be garbage, or the programmers just disappeared off the face of the earth, I'm very cautious.

    I'm considering once again to JV with a biz minded programmer, but there are so few out there who don't have that 9-5 mentality & who do have vision & are nice, reliable, responsible, respectful people, it's hard. The last thing I need is to promise my customers a solid program & 1/2 way thru the guy disappears.

    So the first thing is I'm still looking for someone who will screen a person's code for security fluidity, commenting, etc. & do a check to see if they can find any negative things said about their work ethic, personality, etc. This position will be very occasionally of course & of course the question is, how do I know if your code is any good LOL

    I had one guy from here say he'd do it, but now he's being kind & respectful & NOT returning my e-mails or IMs for absolutely no reason & the *%$# just lost himself a potential project with another entreprenuer I was just talking to last week who's looking for a backup PHP coder.

    I'm looking for sane people, not disrespectful egomaniacs who have issues out the ying yang.

    Second question is what is the better route to go.

    Should I have an application built from scratch, or should I buy an existing piece of software & tweak it?

    Where do I go to find existing software or programmers who have spent years developing existing portals they want to sell so it will be cheaper for me to launch my applications?

    Is there other sites/MBs I can go to?

    Thanks for any help you can give me


    Michelle

  2. #2
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    How long is a piece of string?

    If your 'application' is a forum, there's no point starting from scratch; conversely, if you have a legacy database application that you wrote in 1986 and you need to integrate it with Worldpay, you're going to have to write it from scratch as there won't be anything suitable.

    I'm a big fan of re-use, but, only where it makes the most commercial sense, you don't want to spend 4 weeks tweaking something that still doesn't do exactly what you need if you can write the same thing in 6 weeks.

    As for your problems with freelancers, the only problems I've ever seen are:

    In-sufficient specification. You are unable to provide up-front a concrete statement of requirements and therefore get in to the position where the freelancer doesn't know if he's coming or going (moving goal post syndrome)

    In-sufficient background checking. The Internet's a scary place, I've been burned a few times by freelancers that can't provide references but I've taken a chance on.

    In-sufficient resources. If you don't have the money to pay for proper developers, you're going to be extremely lucky if you find one that's prepared to work for less than the going rate; this usually ends up that the freelancer takes other jobs where they're making more money and can't dedicate the time you require to your project.

    Simply put, don't give 16 year old unknowns half-baked ideas that you haven't thought through without getting some strong recommendations on their ability from people you trust.

    If you've got a solid business idea that could potentially make a good amount of money, I'm sure you can find a company who's prepared to take a chance with some subsidised labour. You're much better off going with someone established, it might cost you more up-front but you'll get done a lot quicker and start making money sooner.

    If you're looking to employ a freelancer on a on-going basis, advertise on a few of the forums, check references, ask for code samples, and, get a decent contract in place. If you're really really worried about being burned look for freelancers with indemnity insurance, or, look for freelancers who are local to you that you can meet in person. However, don't expect to get someone for $5 an hour.

    Hope this hasn't depressed you too much!

  3. #3
    Love *********'s Forum ep2012's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrewtayloruk View Post
    If your 'application' is a forum, there's no point starting from scratch; conversely, if you have a legacy database application that you wrote in 1986 and you need to integrate it with Worldpay, you're going to have to write it from scratch as there won't be anything suitable.

    I'm a big fan of re-use, but, only where it makes the most commercial sense, you don't want to spend 4 weeks tweaking something that still doesn't do exactly what you need if you can write the same thing in 6 weeks.
    No it's not a forum, if it was, I'd just go with VB & no, nothing has been written ever & this isn't one application, it's several.

    Yes, well I was told I need to piece modules together.


    Quote Originally Posted by andrewtayloruk View Post
    As for your problems with freelancers, the only problems I've ever seen are:

    In-sufficient specification. You are unable to provide up-front a concrete statement of requirements and therefore get in to the position where the freelancer doesn't know if he's coming or going (moving goal post syndrome)
    That's not the case, & every programmer (assuming they know what they are doing) should be asking TONS of questions, not assuming the biz owner knows more than they do.

    I guess that was my first lesson, if they don't ask tons of questions, they aren't for me.

    I once asked questions of a programmer (maybe he was the owner actually) & by accident he sent me an e-mail that was meant for one of his staffers saying I was going to be difficult b/c I was challenging him.

    Thank god I got that e-mail, so there's clearly ___ out there that are afraid of questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewtayloruk View Post
    In-sufficient background checking. The Internet's a scary place, I've been burned a few times by freelancers that can't provide references but I've taken a chance on.
    I don't know, I've checked references on staffers who weren't programmers & they turned out to be below average in intelligence & could barely do the work well, so I'm not a huge fan on references.

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewtayloruk View Post
    In-sufficient resources. If you don't have the money to pay for proper developers, you're going to be extremely lucky if you find one that's prepared to work for less than the going rate; this usually ends up that the freelancer takes other jobs where they're making more money and can't dedicate the time you require to your project.
    Well I already discussed this, so it's a non issue, we already know I don't have all the money upfront. I'm not looking for someone who is a 9-5er type, isn't above average in intelligence & can't see a good opportunity when it staring him in the face b/c he lives in fear.

    In fact even if I had the money I wouldn't hire someone like that. No self respecting entrepreneur would, we want people who aren't afraid of their shadow.

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewtayloruk View Post
    Simply put, don't give 16 year old unknowns half-baked ideas that you haven't thought through without getting some strong recommendations on their ability from people you trust.
    LOL, I would never hire a 16 yr. old - no offense, I know they can be smarter than the 40 yr. olds.

    If I had recommendations from others, I wouldn't be here, but I've learned most entrepreneurs don't know good code from the moon. I was going to use another phrase, but thought better of it LOL

    In fact that other biz owner I was talking to last week, she screened & finally went w/ a company she was happy with.

    I used her application & already she's got problems. The e-mail notifications aren't being sent out & the file I uploaded was coming out corrupt.

    The only 100% full proof way to test anyone is to have them work with you & that's kind of a problem b/c one wants the application done properly the first time around.

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewtayloruk View Post
    If you've got a solid business idea that could potentially make a good amount of money, I'm sure you can find a company who's prepared to take a chance with some subsidised labour. You're much better off going with someone established, it might cost you more up-front but you'll get done a lot quicker and start making money sooner.
    Well I don't know who's established & who isn't. How would I know that?

    That reminds me, I once hired a company (way back when, maybe 5-6 yrs. ago) thinking that would be the better way to go. This was for my site, not for a DB application. I paid for a block of hours & yes, they were local.

    Anyway, in the end the guy who asked me questions on the phone about what I needed was logging time which no one decided to tell me & that pissed me off, then he relayed the info to the actual coder who got it wrong, so I had to repeat myself all over again, then they did a 1/2 baked job & when down the road I started using DW, no one in their company knew DW, so they ended up getting free money from me b/c I never used up all my hours.

    Later on as I became more educated, I realized they knew very little about much. It was all show, but had they been smart, they would have landed me as a client they could have grown with, but they weren't smart b/c in the end I find very few development companies are real biz people who understand how to treat a customer & if they do, they probably don't advertise b/c they don't need to. The referrals & constant repeat biz is enough to keep them rolling in money.

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewtayloruk View Post
    If you're looking to employ a freelancer on a on-going basis, advertise on a few of the forums, check references, ask for code samples, and, get a decent contract in place. If you're really really worried about being burned look for freelancers with indemnity insurance, or, look for freelancers who are local to you that you can meet in person. However, don't expect to get someone for $5 an hour.

    Hope this hasn't depressed you too much!
    Ok, on the insurance. As for the local, I think that's BS IMO. Back in '97 or '98 I hired a web designer (I was totally green back then), he took my $1k, never did the work & I spent about a month trying to get my money back even though he was only about a 15 minute drive away.

    Thanks for your help


    Michelle

  4. #4
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    You have an idea, you know what you need to achieve.

    You create an overview document which explains what the system is, what it should do.

    You advertise you need somebody to do the work, or, you start cold-calling from the phone book. You schedule meetings, either in person, or by conference call to talk through your idea. Those people then submit to you a proposal. I'm not sure if it's the same in the USA, but, in the UK, we have an agency 'Business Link' that can arrange for you to meet suppliers in your area. You tell them what you need, they give you 3 or so people who they know can complete the work you have, they have already dealt with references etc.

    You read the submitted proposals including costs and shorlist them based on the completness of the proposal, the costs and your feelings from talking to the supplier. At this point you start checking references. Ask to speak to some previous clients, anybody who has happy clients will welcome this.

    You're now at the point that you have a supplier in mind, you draw up a contract with payment terms that are beneficial and agreeable to both parties. We usually go with 33% at design sign-off, 33% at the end of testing (client hand-over), final balance to be paid at the end of the testing period once the client is happy. If you have a specification (supplied by the supplier, as part of the proposal after discussion with yourself) the timescales are extremely easy, you setup a project plan with some deadlines to meet, if you wish you can apply bonus or penalty payments on key dates you can do that now (might help if you're worried about missing dates).

    Now it's just up to you to manage the relationship.

    Are you having problems finding people to do the work, or, are you having problems finding people to do the work up-front for a share in the business?

    I can imagine the second is tricky, not many people want to form partnerships with people they don't know. Go to some networking events, see if you can find local companies which may be able to leverage the work you're doing, or, find a technical company that could use the skills that you have (marketing, sales, or project management), offer them a skill-swap, you help them, they help you.

    Have you had someone quote you on the work, can you indicate how much work is involved? Is it 6 months work, is it something that can realise some profits with a months work? Is it something you can start small with to try and generate some interest then someone isn't working for 6 months without seeing any benefits?

  5. #5
    Love *********'s Forum ep2012's Avatar
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    Ok, I'm just going to answer here w/ no quotes LOL, I never could figure out a fast way to do that.

    1. Yes I have an overview doc., but I want someone really experienced to go thru it & pick it apart, tell me what I'm missing, etc.

    2. I don't necessarily want to hire someone local. First, they are too expensive here, second, I tried to call a local biz once & found out their code sucks, so I'm leery of using someone who I don't know if their code is any good or not.

    That's one of the things I was seeking in this post, a screener.

    Most good programmers left Canada years ago b/c Canada does not support the net or our IT industry.

    3. I haven't really been looking recently, but when I was, I described the problems I was having.

    The last person I got from SP here, he had his brother doing the work claiming the brother was a to die for coder.

    The brother was going to act as a PM b/c his brother's English wasn't that great.

    While I liked the PM guy a lot, after 5 months of waiting for my software to be done (this was an internal DB, not something I'm selling), I finally gave up.

    It was clear the brother was never going to finish & they stopped e-mailing me too.

    So I'm not even sure what was done or not done.

    That Sven programmer who said he'd screen programmers for me, even though his attitude sucked (too much ego for my tastes), I was considering seeing if he could do some work, or act as a PM, but we know he stopped responding.

    So, I don't know what to tell you. This isn't about them not responding b/c I'm seeking a partner, none of those were partner material, I was going to pay them straight out.

    Can you send me that fee schedule thingy pls.

    I don't think we have that Business Link here, & I'm not in the States, I'm in Canada. I just hire 90% of my staffers in the States.

    Are you a programmer or entrepreneur?

    Thanks, you seem to be the only one who cares.


    Michelle


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