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Freelance websites?

I have a client who is looking for someone to develop and maintain an Access db with forms, reports, etc.  It is a pretty robust app, as far as Access development goes.  Here is my question.  I don't have time to do the app for them (I am studying for my MCSD at night).  I thought about directing them to one of the freelance websites (elance.com, etc.).  Does anyone have experience using these?  Either from a developer or business owner perspective. 

This is a good client and I don't want them to get screwed.  Unfortunately, the developers I do know personally are either not qualified for this project or are Linux people who won't touch MS with a 10 foot pole  (yes it HAS to be in Access).

Thanks all :)

shiggins
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

which country? Face to face is still the best.

most of the freelance sites out there are really crummy. From both a developers and client's perspective.

tapiwa
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

USA

shiggins
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Which state?

I have had some experience on the 'freelance' side of the freelance web sites. I wasn't too happy with them. Most of the jobs seem to go overseas or at the very least, far off site. If they are looking to pay some real money, they may be better off contacting a regional consulting agency.

Dustin Alexander
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Colorado.  They have a local agency they work with sometimes.  They are OUTRAGEOUS!!!  They usually charge 3 times what I charge.  I charge anywhere between $35-$100/hr.  Typically $75.

shiggins
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

The problem is likely to be with the intial database design rather than the actual coding. You can code pretty fast with Access, but getting the initial design right is the same problem whatever database engine you are using.

If they can't find somebody locally they, or you as their agent,  could go around the Access forums till you find somebody who knows what he's doiing.

Albert Kallal loves skiing, so maybe they could tempt him, though I doubt he comes cheap.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Your best bet is to contact a local Microsoft user group. There might even be a local group devoted to Microsoft Access. If you are unaware of any a quick search on Google might do the trick for you.

One Programmer's Opinion
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Does your client okay with somebody telecommuting or does he wants somebody on-site? Thanks

Yaniv
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

I'm not sure.  They seemed open to the freelance website idea.  However, I know them pretty well and they would be more comfortable with someone local.

shiggins
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

After perusing places like Rent-A-Coder.com for awhile, I realized that anyone who places a project RFP on that site will be absolutely slammed with dozens of placeholder bids from offshore shops and God-knows-who. The problem would be separating the wheat from the chaff and also from the fecal material.

The state of the programming market absolutely amazes me, the depths to which clients will go to prove to everyone around that they have decided that programmers deserve almost no money.

IE: I am much fussier about who I let touch my 13 year old, 240K mile Toyota that I keep for a beater/backup vehicle, than it seems that most clients are about their mission critical software applications. What else could explain the success of these bidding sites?

Go figure. No wonder the economy's in the crapper, with "business acumen" like this around.

More constructively, I think the advice to check with local users groups is a terrific one. Support your fellow citizens with work!

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Yeah, the nerve of these companies, trying to keep costs down!

Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Bored,

I totally agree.  I've browsed those sites before and I see a lot of off shore people bidding at ridiculously low prices.  I was trying to find a way to convince my client to only accept on shore bids on the basis of time zone differences, communication, etc.  However, after reading these posts, I think I'll recommend that they NOT use these outsourcing sites.

As a side note, at one point I thought about bidding on some projects.  I am slowly trying to develop a small development practice and thought that would be a good way to build up a client base before I walk.

shiggins
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Brent, I think there's a difference between keeping costs down and being insulting. Would you really take your child to the doctor and tell him/her "There is no way I will pay more than five dollars for you to take her tonsils out."?

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

¿ http://denver.craigslist.org/tec/ ?

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

I think that there *is* a place for offshore work. It's for stuff that  involves large teams and economies of scale, and, most important - it is for those who *KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY NEED* and who can manage the work themselves. Or, for an exceptionally small and well defined project.

Directing a client to a bid-for-work website would probably be like throwing them to the wolves. How in the world could an end user distinguish a reasonable bid from garbage? I think it would be pretty tough to smoke out the bad guys even if you had the skills to do so.

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Shiggins, why don't you act as the intermediary between your client and the rentacoder type outsourcer? Sure it'll cost you some time but think of the benefits; for a start you'll gain real world experience in this type of arrangement which I think is going to become more prevalent.

Rentacoder has a feedback system so I would guess that, rather like Ebay, you can have a degree of confidence in someone's tender.

There seems to be quite a few negative posts about using off-shore freelancers on this thread. Are these justified or a form of xenophobia based on perceived threat to livelihood?

gwyn
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Actually, with all the interest in offshore development, it seems like there's a market opportunity here for fast local developers.

Just advertise "Inexpensive Offshore Development with Local Rep", quote long development times at low hourly rates, go out and get the requirements, then take a trip to an island somewhere in the Caribbean with the money (so that you're doing "offshore development"), bash it out in a couple weeks, then leave the app on your PC while you repeat the process with a few more clients.  When your original over-long quote time runs out, deliver the already-finished code.

Of course, you can also offer the client a chance to keep the project in the U.S., with a higher hourly rate but faster turnaround...  ;)

Marketing isn't everything.  It's the only thing.

Phillip J. Eby
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

There are plenty of people who have offshored themselves; Woody Leonhard who writes the "Woody's Watch" newsletters moved to Thailand a year and a half ago, and sometimes makes us all envious by inviting us to a capuccino on the beach after he's been jogging in the morning. A few years back in a Colombo hotel I met a fellow guest who was living there while he translated a biography of Leonard Wolf into German.

Now, all I need to find is a website that will pay me per line and I needn't come back from Lanka this August.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

> Are these justified or a form of xenophobia based on perceived threat to livelihood?

They are justified, they are not xenophobic and they are partly based on a perceived threat to livelihood, which is generally seen as quite a reasonable thing to argue about.


Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Definately justified. You should read up on what our foreign policy really like.

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, June 19, 2003

There are two things at stake here.

Firstly the wisdom of a lay client trying to get tenders on a highly technical job from bidders on an anonymous web site.

Being negative about that is quite reasonable. After all would you put your upcoming coronary by-pass operation up for tender on rentaheartsurgeon.com?

Secondly there is the annoyance that when "Western coders" bid on these sites they are undercut by Eastern Europeans and Indians who can do just as good a job for a thrd of the price. Yep that's xenophobia and annoyance about losing livelihood to a more efficient competitor.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, June 19, 2003

I would add that overseas competitors aren't necessarily more efficient.  Sometimes, it merely comes down to the cost-of-living advantage.

Tim Lara
Thursday, June 19, 2003

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