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  1. #26
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amf45 View Post
    If $100 is a lot of money, the $2000 is HUGE. It might cut down on the riff-raff if you made it a sliding scale between 10% and 20% of the total bid (smaller percentage as the size of the project grows). But I would have the deposit go to the client for the hardship of having to start over and get another bid.

    Think of it as a "performance bond" that a LOT of other service industries have to purchase in order to perform work on a project.
    That makes a lot of sense. I guess an alternative would be the purchase of the "performance bond" on a voluntary basis as a stepping stone to being a "preferred" provider. This would remove any barriers to bidding from providers in the less well off parts of the world but would put up a flag to the client.
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  2. #27
    Sesame Street Iimitk's Avatar
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    Just out of curiosity mobyme, are you examining the possibilities of establishing such a freelancing application, or you're already settled on the matter & actually trying to gather ideas & thoughts for a determined project specifications?

    I'm very interested in such a project. Hope it will see the light soon.
    Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Einstein

  3. #28
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    The problem with directly needing a "performance bond" is that a bonding agency has to write it. The deal is that you get $x,xxx,xxx worth of coverage for $xx,xxx per year, based on your company history and other stuff they have to research about you. I doubt you'll find many smaller freelancers able to obtain one.

    On the other hand, if your site supports escrowing funds on behalf of the freelancer as a performance bond alternative, you can get everyone involved and even make it a checkbox for clients to require if they want.
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  4. #29
    SitePoint Wizard TheRedDevil's Avatar
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    Ive used different freelance sites, as both parts. The last years only as a client looking for programmers.

    I totally agree on that there is quite a bunch of people who should never have called themself programmers out there. While Ive been able to screen them, I can only imagine what nightmare it can be for people who dont know the game and is only looking for a developer/company to complete their project.

    If this discussion leads to a live site sometime, let me know as I would be interested in trying it out as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by mobyme
    would it be possible or desirable to grade freelancers? You will be aware that there are a lot of freelancers who do not have formal qualifications despite popular recognition that they are exceptionally talented at what they do; how would you accommodate them? Would it be fair for instance to ask them to submit some of their recent work for appraisal prior to being allowed to join the site?
    Personally I dont think using online tests would help you "figure out" the skillset of a person. It would just prove that they at least know how to use Google, not that they necessarily are skilled in that field.

    I would trust offline certifications to a higher degree, for example on php you could require the programmers to have passed the Zend Certification, mysql has similar certifications etc. Though if you go this route, you would almost eliminate programmers from eastern europe/asia from using the site.

    A portfolio could work for a developer working mainly with xhtml or design, but it would not work for backend developers. Lets face it a page can look beautiful on the outside, but the backend code can be a mess. This makes it very difficult to "rate" their work, for even if they send in a piece of code how can you know they created it?

    I think that the best way to pre screen a backend programmer, would be to request a small code example. If the code is good allow them to "receive" one project. But when the project is finished, then screen them again using code from the project. The problem here is that this would require someone to do the screening, and making sure this person is skilled enough to do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mobyme
    It also raises another issue for me which I guess is best described as "thinking time"; every project requires thinking time and without trust or a fixed price which allows for it, the provider will always finish up the loser.
    I am not certain who you target by mention provider here, from the developer side they should know that every project require planning and if its fixed price quote accordingly. If you mean the client, then I cant see how they could be the loser. No matter if the project is based on hours or on a fixed price, they would normally pay around the same if the developer is a professional. Actually I guess they would pay less on a hour based project compared to fixed price, as the last one usally get padded.

    Quote Originally Posted by mobyme
    We have discussed escrow for clients; what are your thoughts on providers having to face a penalty if they do a disappearing act (one of the biggest complaints of clients). It would work something like this. The provider making a bid for a project of say $2000 is required to deposit $100 by way of a guarantee if their bid is accepted. If they then bail out of their obligations or make themselves incommunicado this is forfeit and donated to a nominated charity. I sort of like this idea and think it would help in reducing automatic or irresponsible bids but I can also see it causing a certain amount of hardship and creating a barrier for individuals in countries where a $100 is a lot of money even though they are going to get it back on completion of the project.
    This could work, but personally I dont think I would ever "pay a ransom fee" to keep a job. Usally that happens the other way around

    Another issue I can see here, is the huge paper trail issue. Keep in mind that you need to account for the money passing through your holding.

  5. #30
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simsim View Post
    Just out of curiosity mobyme, are you examining the possibilities of establishing such a freelancing application, or you're already settled on the matter & actually trying to gather ideas & thoughts for a determined project specifications?

    I'm very interested in such a project. Hope it will see the light soon.
    I guess the best way of describing my present position is that I am still in the research stages. I want to do it because I believe I can make a difference, however there is a great deal more work to be done if it is ever to become a reality.
    There are three kinds of men:
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  6. #31
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amf45 View Post
    The problem with directly needing a "performance bond" is that a bonding agency has to write it. The deal is that you get $x,xxx,xxx worth of coverage for $xx,xxx per year, based on your company history and other stuff they have to research about you. I doubt you'll find many smaller freelancers able to obtain one.

    On the other hand, if your site supports escrowing funds on behalf of the freelancer as a performance bond alternative, you can get everyone involved and even make it a checkbox for clients to require if they want.
    Sorry amf45 I didn't clarify that well enough. I took the liberty of borrowing your analogy of a "performance bond" to describe the escrowing of funds on behalf of the freelancer.
    There are three kinds of men:
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    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  7. #32
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Thank you TheRedDevil for some very valuable input. In reference to the "thinking time" I was alluding to the fact that very few clients when placing projects on a hourly basis allow for down time while freelancers are thinking through the process and laying out the project in their mind. You are quite right in saying that fixed prices are usually padded out to allow for this. It's a crazy situation and I guess it will remain so until freelancers and clients alike are educated into showing it and accepting it as part of the price.
    There are three kinds of men:
    The ones that learn by reading.
    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  8. #33
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    Mobyme, many providers really like oDesk's oTeam tool because it eliminates timekeeping for them (and timesheets!) and it allows them to establish long-term relationships with their clients through an hourly pay system.
    Czaris, you're right, oDesk has skill tests providers can take to prove their competency. oDesk also has a rating system so that clients can rate their experiences with different providers.
    Codescribbler, great suggestions!
    ~Michelle, oDesk

  9. #34
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkeller View Post
    Mobyme, many providers really like oDesk's oTeam tool because it eliminates timekeeping for them (and timesheets!) and it allows them to establish long-term relationships with their clients through an hourly pay system.
    Czaris, you're right, oDesk has skill tests providers can take to prove their competency. oDesk also has a rating system so that clients can rate their experiences with different providers.
    Codescribbler, great suggestions!
    ~Michelle, oDesk
    Interesting because my research to date tends to show exactly the opposite; with the users of oDesk probably among the most vocal in their dissatisfaction with the service they use, myself among them as a client. In my current list of twenty one freelance sites oDesk ranks as the third most disliked by providers and fifth by clients so there is obviously something very wrong. As an aside, I also find it interesting that it is almost impossible to have any discussion regarding freelance sites on any forum or blog without somebody from oDesk miraculously showing up to extol or defend the virtues of oDesk even being prepared to join a forum that they never belonged to previously to do so. With due respect I am trying to conduct my research among users of the various freelance sites without fear or favour. Had the comments within your post come from a freelancer or client using oDesk I would have found them useful; as it is I find them an irritant.
    There are three kinds of men:
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    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  10. #35
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    My research and feasibility study into this project is now virtually complete and I would like to hear from anyone who would be interested in joining a focus group to shape the site should it become a reality.
    There are three kinds of men:
    The ones that learn by reading.
    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  11. #36
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    So I take it you might be onto something here?

  12. #37
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Yes Dan I think I am. You don't take any prisoners when you have an opinion and would be invaluable as a member of a focus group. Can I put your name down?
    There are three kinds of men:
    The ones that learn by reading.
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    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  13. #38
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Sure, why not. I don't know how much time I'd be able to commit to it, but I'm open to it in your case.

  14. #39
    Sesame Street Iimitk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobyme View Post
    My research and feasibility study into this project is now virtually complete and I would like to hear from anyone who would be interested in joining a focus group to shape the site should it become a reality.
    Good to hear. Wish you all the success.

    What would be the responsibilities of a member of a focus group?
    Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Einstein

  15. #40
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simsim View Post
    Good to hear. Wish you all the success.

    What would be the responsibilities of a member of a focus group?
    The focus group would discuss the various options that my research has thrown up and advise on the desirability of each option as it would not be practical if not downright impossible to include everything. I also need input on benchmarks of membership both for clients and providers. Think of it as a "brainstorming session" hopefully between people of strong opinions about what they see as shortcomings of present freelancing sites from their side of the fence. I believe this is a unique opportunity to shape the way freelance sites work and the challenge is to make it it something really special that can set an example of the way things should be done for the future. I hope that you can see your way clear to joining the focus group as I think you too would offer a valuable contribution.
    There are three kinds of men:
    The ones that learn by reading.
    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  16. #41
    Resident Grump BillyParadise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Czaries View Post
    A website that seems to be doing a good job of solving the "expectations vs. outcome" issue is www.odesk.com - you may want to have a peek at their website. They use competency testing across multiple subjects as well as other ideas to cut down on the riff-raff.
    Thanks for the link - somehow I'd never heard of ODesk. As a semi-frequent user of guru, I like the odesk model much better, and will be trying it out on my next project.

    To answer the OP, no, I think there's no more room for yet another site of this type.
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  17. #42
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Are you looking for more input? I would be glad to join the group and offer any assistance I can. Perhaps I'm not very experienced in freelancing and so I don't really have much to offer, though I've taken the first tentative steps into creating sites freelance recently.

  18. #43
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Hi Andy. You are more than welcome to join and I would certainly appreciate your contribution. I will be be back to you as soon as I have enlisted enough people for it to work. Regards Chris
    There are three kinds of men:
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    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  19. #44
    Sesame Street Iimitk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobyme View Post
    The focus group would discuss the various options that my research has thrown up and advise on the desirability of each option as it would not be practical if not downright impossible to include everything. I also need input on benchmarks of membership both for clients and providers. Think of it as a "brainstorming session" hopefully between people of strong opinions about what they see as shortcomings of present freelancing sites from their side of the fence. I believe this is a unique opportunity to shape the way freelance sites work and the challenge is to make it it something really special that can set an example of the way things should be done for the future.
    I'm sorry; it looks I've missed this reply somehow. Count me in, although I'm not a frequent user of freelance sites, I would be glad to be as helpful & cooperative as possible.

    Thanks for the opportunity.
    Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Einstein

  20. #45
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Thank you simsim I really appreciate it and will be back to you as soon as I have enough people on board.
    There are three kinds of men:
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    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  21. #46
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris for the supportive attitude, i'm positive that you can drum up enough people to make this project a real and groundbreaking venture.

  22. #47
    hi galen's Avatar
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    I've tried out a couple of freelance sites. My latest one was rent-a-coder. I will never go back there again. My project went into arbitration for 3 weeks and i lost because the arbitrator had no common sense. All this over a $5 project. My #1 suggestion would be hire intelligent moderators so you don't lose people who are trying to do good, honest work.

  23. #48
    Sesame Street Iimitk's Avatar
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    A $5 project?
    Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Einstein

  24. #49
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    Yes, I am user of RAC. They sometimes do weird things, I just wonder how they handle overheads with $5 (even $4) arbitrations, that's laughable.

  25. #50
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    I've tried out a couple of freelance sites. My latest one was rent-a-coder. I will never go back there again. My project went into arbitration for 3 weeks and i lost because the arbitrator had no common sense. All this over a $5 project. My #1 suggestion would be hire intelligent moderators so you don't lose people who are trying to do good, honest work.
    I'm sorry to hear that; however I'm really intrigued to know what it could be that only involved $5. Can you tell us?
    There are three kinds of men:
    The ones that learn by reading.
    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.


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