Hiring a freelance developer
If you own a company or you have some kind of web presence you will no doubt already know what a developer is. Anything web development related is best handled by the code-reading, technical thinking minded individuals who are known to the rest of us as developers.
So if you’re in the position where you need to hire one to work on some kind of development project you have going on (building a website, funnel, handling a technical hiccup) you’re going to need one of these guys or girls to get that all sorted for you.
Unless you are in the business where you require a development team to take care of a section of your operations, chances are you won’t have a need for a full-time developer and when this is the case, the best thing to do is hire a freelance developer.
If you’ve never done this before, you may have a whole bunch of questions and may be asking yourself where to start.
And that’s why you’re here.
Let's check out your guide to hiring a freelance developer!
First things first
You know you need to hire a freelancer and that’s a good start but what you should be asking at this point right in the beginning is “What am I looking for?”
Do you need someone to do some light maintenance on your website or actually build you a website from scratch? Do you have a technical issue you require fixing or are you looking to create an app?
These are the kinds of questions you need to be asking yourself so that you get an idea of exactly what you need to be done.
Answering this question will also help you establish how you are going to start looking for the right developer and ultimately will influence who you end up hiring.
So once you identify what you need done you need to then think about the scope of the work and how the freelancer ultimately fits into the entire thing. Work on this part carefully because you are outlining the work you need to be done by the freelancer to help make this as easy to execute as possible.
Do you need a new site? If so, do you have copy and graphics?
Have you purchased a theme you wish to use or do you need everything coordinated from scratch? Will you require emails to be set up and sent out? Are there systems to be set up in this process?
Outline all the work you need to be done even if it seems meticulous, trust us when we say, the more detail you give, the better it is for freelancers because you need to familiarise them with your brand, how things work and the line of business you are in so that they understand the processes involved.
Make sure that you have all this prepared BEFORE you hire anyone because the less you leave to chance and assuming the other person understands, the better.
Also, having this info prepared before you start the hiring process will help you to identify what kind of developer you are looking for.
Being organized in this way is better for you and the developer because the lines are clearly defined, everyone understands what they need to do and a schedule can be maintained as well as a deadline met.
Let’s get hiring
Now that you know what you need to be done, you can start looking for who’s going to do it.
Luckily, there are a lot of platforms you can check out when looking to hire a freelancer developer. There are also a lot of ways within these sites to find the right person for your particular job.
For instance, you can run searches on people skilled in particular things like site building or technical issues or even CSS if that is what you really need.
Remember when you formulated the scope of work before? You will see how handy that comes in when knowing exactly what skills you need the developer you hire, to have. You don’t want to be talking to people who deal strictly in CSS if all you are looking for is someone to load a theme for you and upload your content to the site.
Once you’ve been able to find the right category of people you are looking for, then you can start to investigate more. Check out their profiles, if they have previous work listed (gives you an idea of their style), what their reputation is like on the platform and what other previous clients have said about them.
Once you narrow that down some more, reach out to the person and ask a few questions. Keep in mind though, that at this point, this person is not obligated to give you all their time and effort as you have not hired anyone. It’s an exercise to see if they are the right fit and should be respected as this accordingly. After all, they are freelancers, the time they are spending talking to you about a ‘possible’ job is time they could be spending on a paid job.
If after chatting you don’t feel it’s a good fit, simply keep looking. And when you do find the right person and you’re both happy to move forward, then it’s time to agree on a deal.
This is the part of the process that you need to have documented so that everyone agrees what has been decided on, there are no misunderstandings and nothing can be disputed.
Everything that you require done needs to be included in the agreement as well as anything like time included for changes, quality control testing and the like.
The deadline will also be agreed on and should be a compromise from both ends. What you may need to be done in a week is not actually possible and may require 2 and it’s good to get all that down so that everyone understands what needs to happen.
It’s important to keep in mind at this point that you are hiring this person because of their particular skill set and that you should respect it as such. After all, if you could do this on your own you wouldn’t need to enlist their help.
You need to remember that what they are saying is in the best interest of the project and by coming this far, you are demonstrating you have placed a certain level of trust in them and their capability.
In other words, let them do what you are paying them to do and when they make suggestions, take them into consideration as what is best for the outcome of this project.
Next comes another important part of the deal. The money.
Freelancers can work in two ways, that is, per hour or per project.
This will all depend on the freelancer and the kind of project you have to complete so no two situations are ever the same.
However, a general guide is that the longer the project is, the better it is to include an overall budget opposed to an hourly rate.
Again, this will depend on you and the developer.
There are two things, though, that you really should keep in mind when negotiating this part of the deal.
1. What you pay for is what you’re getting.
Understand this concept well. If you are not prepared to pay a lot, do not be prepared for the level of work you may be expecting.
This is not the time or place to skimp on something because the quality of the work being done will depend on that. Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand that they too have their worth. You trying to save some money on something like this does not only send out the wrong message but also lowers the expectation you should have on the final product. Just like you expect to be paid fairly for your services, the freelancer is no different.
2. Be upfront about your budget
Be honest and open about what your budget is for this project. The freelancer may or may not be able to work around it. Perhaps the scope of work will need to change or you will have to continue the search for someone that fee does work for, but be honest from the start and do not create any false expectations.
Also, if the freelancer is unable to make this fee work, respect them and move on - the last thing they or you need is for it to get ugly because they cannot accept the amount you are willing to pay.
Let’s get working
Now that you’ve done all the prep work, negotiating and have come to an agreement, it’s time to get working.
If you think that once all that has been done, you can now send emails/texts around the clock looking for updates, think again.
This type of work is something that takes concentration and time therefore when you have both agreed on delivery time and review dates, let the person work in peace and trust the process.
If you really don’t trust the process, perhaps you should not have come this far in hiring the person. Because, after all, you both should be clear about what the outcomes are at this stage in the process.
Nothing at this point should be changed either unless both of you agree it is in the best interest of the project and the change in scope is documented. And keep in mind this is also not the time to ask them to do just ‘one small thing’ for you either.
Let the magic happen and concentrate on completing the project.
And once you have received your completed project, everyone is happy and the project is wrapped, please don’t delay in paying the freelancer their due.
Remember that the person took on the job in good faith just as much as you took them on as such and so it’s important to hold up your end of the bargain too, on time.