How to find the 'right' freelance developers

I’ve been in the industry for nearly 10 years now, and have always sub-contracted any web development projects I get to outside freelance developers.

The reason for that is really to keep my overheads down from getting an office and going in-house (at least for now!). Once thing I’ve always found to be an issue is finding developers that are actually any good! There are SO many developers out there, with such a range of skills, and some of them can, in theory, look really good.

However I’ve lost count how many unreliable developers I’ve come across. Some of them are plain awful - whereas some are just lazy. The projects I get in currently are quite high end, custom content management system jobs, with detailed and complex PHP/MYSQL development needed - and I find that even my best developer produces great work, but is sometimes a bit lazy, or misses really vital parts of the system. In some cases, he’s missed small niggling things that portray an unprofessional look to the client when I show them a beta with really stupid mistakes in.

So I guess my question really is: Where are all the PROPER, decent freelance developers, with a huge attention to detail, a real fire in their belly to produce incredible work, and an enthusiastic look at the work they produce? I’m sure there must be loads out there, including I’m sure loads on this forum - but I still struggle after 10 years to find them!

What sort of things do you look out for when outsourcing. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to ask this here so delete this part if I’m not, but anyone able to recommend any developers who produce top work everytime? (Pricing is not a big deal, I’m quite happy to pay well for incredible work).

Thanks in advance for any help!

Russ,,these freelance job website have good system protect the profit of buyers and sellers,I am a long term service provider on Elance,if you select feedback rate is higher than 4.5,and the developer is a long term member,I don’t think it will be wrong.

Off Topic:

Or as I call all forms of credit and loans – spending money that doesn’t even exist yet. Obama called credit the lifeblood of the economy; I’m with Peter Schiff on that one, it’s not the lifeblood, it’s the cancer.

Higher education is one of the many factors contributing to the declining economy since like most of these naive pipedream ideas nobody asks the question “and who’s going to pay for it?” These poor kids being put decades into debt just to end up with a degree in a field nobody is hiring for – welcome to flipping burgers while the dropout is your store manager. Oh wait, did I just describe 90% of my graduating class still living at home rent free with mommy and daddy at age 40? To be brutally honest it’s sad when my crippy ass is one of the successful ones. But what do you expect when 99% of what school does is teach people to be employees.

Next thing you know they’ll come up with this brilliant idea of health care reform being to force people who can’t afford health care to pay into a state run program… Instead of socializing health care, let’s socialize insurance – yeah, that’ll help.

Sadly, it’s nearly a requirement these days (especially in the last two years or so, since the job market turned) to have at least a 4 year degree to break into any kind of serious job.

Sadly, we’re often forcing young people to take on ridiculous amounts of debt just to lay the foundation for their future, which is a terrible idea.

Or are just good at rote memorization while sitting in a class with their thumb up their backside, instead of being out in the workplace actually learning how to do things.

Sorry, my total distaste for how completely useless higher education is in most every form is showing again.

I was thinking the same - the customers/employers should be able to find better workers. What is interesting to me is the job websites are already polluted with projects like “my website is almost 90% complete. I need a help, …” or closely similar openings.

This is harmful to all of the three parties - workers, job sites and employer. Workers are forced to take a project from a customer who is already distressed. Job sites are holding records of low quality openings and, it is clear that the customer did not receive a better service.

If a job is 90% completed, finding a new worker is not good to complete the remaining - and this statement seems false. Again, why to keep searching new freelancers, interviewing them, making them understand the project requirements?

Even if the freelancer is good, the nature of the job opening like this will case troubles.

But, what would a customer do when a freelancer wining the project in the first round did not complete? The most nicest thing would be - to find a really good freelancer.

The best way to find the best freelance developers is below (I use oDesk to find people to work with):

  1. Make sure they use proper spelling and grammar; if they are foreign a good effort is acceptable.
  2. Check their certifications; if they have high-end certifications they have discipline.
  3. Check their portfolio or look for some reviews; you want at least one good review. A good resume will qualify for this as well.

… and there’s a LOT of details not just in code, but in appearance as well. Many times developers will come up with something attractive, that’s a complete disaster in terms of accessibility or even functionality. It’s why the W3C started up the WCAG in the first place.

Failures like fixed metric (aka px) fonts on content areas, color contrasts between the background and foreground text that are too low to actually be legible - these are simple mistakes you see ALL THE TIME. Like in the signature links of half the people in this thread.

Though admittedly, you look at any of my crap from five+ years ago I was making the same mistakes…

Also the mark of a good developer - if they aren’t disgusted with their own work from just a year or two ago, or even six months ago, they’re probably working in the wrong field.

You mention that your the designer, but that you send the psd file to the developer. Due to this Ill assume that you are not competent with HTML/CSS.

If that is correct, then the problem might be that the design you made which looks great inside the psd file, is very difficult to archive in HTML/CSS. Over the years Ive seen many psd files created by graphic designers that work mainly with print, and some dont understand that web <> print.

Another thing that might be the cause is if your sending the psd to a developer that is mainly a backend developer. Instead you should look for a front end developer to do the slicing and make the HTML/CSS.

Our designer is also our front end developer. While this is two positions in one, it has actually made him better at web design. Mainly due to he has an advanced knowledge on what is possible in HTML/CSS and what is not.

That is correct, but in the end the design does not matter if the user experience is flawed. The most important part of a website/GUI is that the user easily can navigate it and find the information required.

On a side note this does not mean a developer can not adapt as long as you give them the time and resources to do so. Personally I believe its important that every person on the team has knowledge about accessibility and user experience.

I am very competent with HTML and CSS - I’ve been a professional designer and front end developer for about 5 years now. The only reason I outsource some development work is because I get too busy to handle it and would prefer to be designing and there for turning over more projects / making more money.

I totally see where people are coming from with the point that designers and developers are different people. If it looks good a designer is happy, if it works well then a developer is happy. This will always be the case, but what I’m saying is that more developers need to realise that presenting a site to a client that looks sloppy because things are aligned isn’t good enough. I never let this happen and always ask for the developer to tidy things up, but I feel bad for doing it and really should have to ask.

If the website works then yes, that is the most important thing without a doubt. But the thing that sets you apart from the hundreds of other people churning out websites day to day is attention to detail. That’s the bottom line for me :slight_smile:

Hmm… you might be an exception to the rule, then.

If that’s the case, do you know how to configure Subversion on a server (that has it already installed) and explain to me how I can have a live environment in /public_html and a dev environment in /public_html/dev on my VPS server, so that I can easily sync the two (push changes from dev to live) all while keeping it AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE?

I’ve just tried 3 different people and it took them hours to get this done… and when they were “done”, it was a complete mess that required an Egyptian dictionary to decode and understand (and I am a developer who worked on SVN before), so I just ended up scraping it and trying it all over again (as in, they didn’t get what I told them I needed the first dozen times when I explained it in detail).

If you can do this (or anyone else around here), PM me. Then I might change my mind about competent developers/server admins myself…

Especially avoid people who don’t answer your request with effort.

Sometimes you see projects posted about developing a website which (for example) is about the World Cup and they need live scores being posted from RSS feeds and would like pages with detailed team information etc.

If the response is something like:

I am programmer with great experience in world cup. I have qualifications in team information and I have produced many RSS feed
Then don’t even consider it :wink:

My replies are the quotes inside the ds60 quote below.

Absolutely, in smaller projects I build the cost of enhancing the specification, and a likely phase of ‘discovery’ into the quote.

In cases where a large project has a complex system which has been woefully underspecified, I’d give the client an option to pay for a consultation phase, and would reject the project if they either can’t provide a full spec themselves or aren’t willing to pay for the consultancy.

This isn’t a warning specifically to you, this isn’t a warning specifically to DeathShadow. This is a request to keep threads on topic; it isn’t fair on the original poster.

Besides, retaliation is the beginning of an argument. Take the higher ground :wink:

That was not a quarrel of personality. SD posted a 300+ word monologue of bigotry. If I’m not allowed to counter that, then by all means, warn/infract, and ban :slight_smile:

If anyone has any personal comments to make, please discuss them via PM.

This is not the place for quarrels about personality, this is a thread asking how to find a good employee - whilst it contains an element of personality, that is all. An element.

Keep this on topic guys or warnings/infractions will be made.

you can find many new and old developers on its very good place for getting work for developers.

Isn’t that like 90% of people who want web stuff done?

The bridge between translating business ideas to programmatic solutions is a tough one to conquer for the client or developer. That is probably the most vital part of a project and often most difficult considering it requires understanding of unfamiliar realms for both parties. On one side you have the developer who needs to understand the business practices and the other client who needs to understand technology and its limitations. Armed with the knowledge both have to come together as one and understand concerns of one another along with security constraints, established patterns,etc. Its a tough one to crack…

During the time I worked at a company outsourching, and so far I also feel comfortable enough to be there. Please visit the site below to add your knowledge


… and look, we’ve got nice spam illustrating exactly who not to use :wink:

As evidenced in the first case by the 2.1 megabyte page size, total lack of graceful degradation, 54k of markup for 3k of content, 174k of javascript for christ only knows what, and with more than one validation error per ten lines of code it’s not even HTML, it’s gibberish.

The latter example being engrish moist goodry in an english language forum, and if you understand spanish is nothing more than a get rich quick scammer… with the stock template we usually see from scammers with the narrow fixed width, broken layout with the typical “I can do semantics, see!” – no, no you can’t. Broken heading orders, double breaks for paragraphs, inlined style attributes on what appears to be static content, comment placements known to cause rendering errors in IE (hence the double render of the content column text in the sidebar like some chopped up cut and paste in IE7), etc, etc…

Sometimes knowing who to choose is also about knowing who not to choose; clippingpathcent and febiandoe appear to fit that rather nicely being one-post wonder-spam.

I’m hitting notify flag, but ask the mods to leave the two posts in place, they are BOTH excellent learning lessons on who NOT to choose.