Where to find good web developers?


I have an idea for a website/business, it’s an initial idea that I think could turn into something big, all though I don’t have the web development skills to get it up and running. My problem is, I’m wary about approaching a web developer incase they decide to go it alone. I’ve been trying desperately to come up with something to look after me and my little boy.

I’ve had a couple of ideas up until now, it’s frustrating though, not having the web development skills to set it up myself.

(I could learn myself, I do know some XHMTl and CSS… but to build a site of the magnitude I’m hoping for, I just don’t have the programming knowledge or experience). By the time I’d learned it, somebody else would have no doubt come up with the same idea.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

There are a number of great web developers here (ex. the php forum). You can find could ones on freelance sites like Odesk as well, but there can be a learning curve in finding good ones.


thanks for the reply. It’s something I think I’d need an expert for, definitely. But one I could trust. I was thinking that if I could find somebody who shared the same enthusiasm for my idea (I’ve rough drafted an idea for a site map), with the right expertise, then we could work as a team and run it as a joint project.

Any thoughts?


Sometimes it’s hard to find someone in the web who you can be in partner with. It would be much easier if you have leads already or contacts to support you with your idea. Anyways there’s always people whom you can trust, you just need to find them.

Hi Zoe
At somepoint you are going to have to bite the bullet and talk to someone about producing the site. When you do, be sure that they ‘sign’ (physically or electronically) a non-disclosure agreement to protect your idea.

I am not belittling your idea in anyway but I have heard numerous times the phrase,

So to that end, make sure you have the financial capability to pay for a professional programmer to do the project and don’t be tempted by the ones who say they can do it for $400 and delivered next Tuesday!

Good luck with it!


My thoughts echo those of spikeZ, although probably harsher.

If your car was broke, you wouldn’t expect a mechanic to fix it for free if you let them drive it around for a bit. If you’re in a restaurant you don’t get a meal for free because you’ll cook it or you’ll clean the plates yourself.

If you’re looking to hire a professional, most likely educated to degree level to work on your project for free because of their “passion” for it then you clearly think very little of the skills of these people, and I would never work with anyone that didn’t value my skills. If you want to work with someone on here they’ll need to evaluate the value they can offer to your business and charge based on their skills; if it truly takes an expert to build then you’re looking to pay $5,000 at the very least. If it really required that much work from me, I’d expect something closer to $10,000.

In short, watch this, because you’re committing the same crime. http://www.dump.com/2010/12/13/the-vendor-client-relationship-in-real-world-situations-video/

[FONT=“Georgia”]For me, I’ve found it easier to work with people who are nearby so we can talk in person or pass things to each other easily.

So perhaps the best place to find what you’re looking for (especially if you want to make them excited about your vision) might be the yellow pages.


Hi Spike,

Thanks for your reply, I’m definitely not claiming to have an idea as big as, or bigger than facebook! Lol. I’m no Mark Zuckerberg! I do think it’s a good idea though.

I’m not naive enough to think a ‘good’ web developer would build me my site for $400, or anything near that. I also personally would think 3% equity, for any business which is reliant on the capabilities of an expert developer, is asking for trouble.

Ideally I wish I had a friend who was a developer so that we could do it as a joint project. Unfortunately I don’t.

I’ve probably been burnt one too many times in relationships, to find it easy to trust people. Sadly.

I’ll keep at it. I was thinking of maybe approaching a university, to see if a professor of computer science might be able to help me. Any thoughts?

Thank you for all of your replies, much appreciated!



I think you’ve misinterpreted my post. Indeed I value an expert web developers skills greatly. I began a CIW years ago, of which I wasn’t able to finish due to an illness which has plagued a great deal of my life. I am fully aware of just how much work goes into obtaining the skills and qualifications of being able to build a site of any great substance/magnitude.

Ultimately I won’t have a business without the skills of a great web developer. My thoughts have been a long the line of doing this as a joint project. Now even if I can get the said money to pay for a site, as you’ve mentioned, it’s no where near the amount of having a large stake in a business (should it succeed).

I appreciate where you’re coming from, although I didn’t mean to offend you. I was simply looking for people’s thoughts.

Best Regards,


Thank you Shaun,

It’s a route I’ve been considering. I’m going to have to bite-the-bullet and trust somebody.

Best Regards,


Where are you based Zoe?

Hello SpikeZ,

I’m in South Yorkshire - Doncaster.

just o-er th’ills lass :slight_smile:

Lol Spike, I don’t suppose you are a genius web developer are you?

Very frustrating, I’ve been browsing through local developers resume’s but as yet nothing striking - and no sites that are as interactive as I’m wanting:rolleyes:

This is my exact issue. You cannot do this with any other profession, yet people believe that Web Developers will do work for free for a stake in a business that’s not even started yet. I can’t just go into a sporting goods store and ask for all my football kit for free, just in case I become a professional footballer and am able to give them 25% of my earnings. I can’t go into a barbers and ask for any future haircuts to be free because I am a model and when I become famous I’ll give them a part of every deal I make.

If you think about it for a second, why would any qualified Web Designer/Developer want to work for free on a project when their skills warrant full-time and/or contract employment and money? If you follow through with your plan then you’ll end up nowhere and I can guarantee 100% that you’ll not get the service you require.

Now, I was quite harsh with my last post, mainly because people try these kinds of deals all the time, and as anyone in business will know around 80% of small businesses fail within their first five years (or something along those lines) and this makes equity almost worthless as something to give. It’s akin to gambling, except instead of blowing a couple of hundred, you’ve blown thousands in earning potential and career development. As you can see, other than a complete shot-in-the-dark (which, even if successful will only be profitable up to a point), a Web Designer/Developer has nothing to gain from your relationship.

However, on the assumption that you are just looking for a business partner, I have had a number of ideas for what I believe would be profitable websites/businesses, but after some research or through other people pointing me in the right direction I’ve discovered that I wasn’t the first person there, or that people have tried a similar thing before for it not to work. Regardless, being first to an idea doesn’t guarantee its success, just ask Facebook.

If you want to discuss your idea privately then I’m sure a bunch of people here would be willing to talk you through it and help you find the person you need, myself included. A lot of us are probably far too busy to steal other peoples ideas anyway…

Feel free to PM me if you’d like some advice.

Thanks for your reply Ultimate,

To be honest, I threw the idea of doing it as a project, into the water for a reason. Because I figured that if I went to a developer to have the site built for me, if they shared my vision, they would know it would be worth a lot more to go it alone, and do it for themselves, than to take a one-off payment for building it.

Perhaps I’ve watched one too many episodes of Dragon’s Den, but that’s where the equity idea arose from.

I’ve also been unfortunate enough to catch a couple of episodes of ‘Golden Balls’. People can be very greedy, which is just a sad part of life. I thought that if I made a fair offer, than I may find somebody who is genuine.

I appreciate what you’re saying though, of course.

Also thank you for offer.

Best Regards,


I’m with Ultimate here, I find it pretty annoying (and unfortunately common) that people think that unlike most offline business ideas that would take a lot of effort, organisation and thousands of pounds to get started, somehow online business ideas can just lazily be plonked on the lap of a developer who’ll magically work for weeks for free on the promise of some tiny percentage of some value that may appear in the future, while you sit on your **** and do nothing!

What value, effort, resources are you bringing to the table in comparison? What are you risking versus the weeks of unpaid time any developers that take this offer on will expend?

You should re watch every episode of Dragon’s den and this time pay attention.

You have no sales or developed product, no patents or trademarks or other assets of value. Likewise, you haven’t risked anything so far or invested any money in the idea which is always indicative (this is the point where Theo Paphitis would say “You want to spend my children’s inheritance but haven’t put any money of your own in!!?? - I’M OUT”)

An idea in itself unless accompanied by in depth market and technical research to verify it has the slightest chance of success, has no value. In the event that anybody takes an equity share in your project, they’d have to take such a large share (i.e perhaps 80%) to cover their costs, risk and repayment from profit that you’d no longer be in control.

I’m actually rather annoyed now EastCoast,

You’re entitled to your opinion of course. I intend on throwing myself into the marketing side of things. I’m designing the site myself, and I’ve already spent a few hundred on purchasing the relevant domain names. I am also fully aware of the research involved, and have spent weeks researching into my chosen subject. Including investigating the web traffic of other relevant sites.

With regards to equity as I’ve mentioned numerous times, I ‘was’ thinking of doing it as a JOINT project, i.e. 50/50.

This is not a small project in the slightest.

It would not be viable to work on equity for somebody who has bills to pay: a mortgage, etc. I was thinking more along the lines of somebody who’s fresh out of university, or who is currently out of work. Somebody with nothing to lose, and alot of enthusiasm.

In actual fact whoever I do opt to work with on this, is going to be very lucky indeed. Sometimes in life you have to ‘take a punt’.

I can see I’ve touched on a raw subject, so I’m going to leave it here. Thanks for the genuine advice a few of you have offered.

All the best,


It really depends on what your vision is. If, for example, you were making a service for non-profit organisations and charities then you’ll definitely find people that would be willing to work on the cheap. However, there are next to no commercial projects out there that are hard to build that people would want to work on. The only time developers work on things for free is typically on open source software, usually because it helps develop a tool they love to use.

There’s a huge difference between angel investment and working for free for equity. However, the fact that you watch Dragons Den makes this a lot easier to explain.

If you’re seriously looking to start your business up, I would look towards getting some money together and bootstrapping your business to the point where you can hire a developer to get some work done for you. From there, perhaps seeking investment would be a good way to go. You’ll be far more likely to do an equity deal if you can offer some money up-front to pay for the services.

The difference between your idea and Dragons Den is that the people who go on that show (pro tip: it’s nothing like real VC/angel investment meetings) already have a running business.

The issue is that, whilst your offer may be genuine, there are thousands of people who aren’t that try the exact same thing. These people seem to think building websites cost nothing and that because their kids can build a basic web page using Frontpage that a commercial-quality website will cost a few thousand at most. If you want to make a genuine attempt at this, I would get some money together and pay the developer for their work.

If you want to know how much the job will cost, find a local web development firm, and ask them for a quote for your idea (of course, get them to sign an NDA). From there, you’ll know how expensive your business will cost to start up.

As someone who is just out of university I can say with some certainty that there are few recent graduates who really know what they’re doing. If it’s a big project and you ask a student to work on it all by themselves then it’s very likely that you’ll get a shoddy project, or one that isn’t finished at all.

Also, a lot of the time students are strongly advised to ignore ALL deals for equity/free when it comes to work. It’s a popular tactic for people to ask recent graduates to work for free or on performance/commission later and whereas these may work in low-level sales positions this doesn’t work in IT.

As I mentioned before, feel free to PM me if you want some confidential help with things like how much it’ll cost and where to go to get your site developed. As I’m in Bristol I’m a bit far out to help develop, but I know a few people near you that you could hire.

I actually got a sitepoint book, outsourcing web projects: six steps to a smarter business by dave hecker. Great ebook, was a world of help to me, get on amazon for kindle $10. If anyone knows dave tell him he owes me commision lol