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Hiring for short term contract job Qs...

Hi folks,

On the schedule at work right now is a job that has to be written in VB and consists of a dialogs and what not that hook into our program and lead the guy through steps.  A wizard basically. 

We want it to get done, but we don't want to spend our programmer time on it, because we'd rather spend our time on hard things that no one else can do.

So, we've got a probably a couple weeks of work here, with some back and forth between myself and this hypothetical contractor.

My question is: How does one go out and FIND someone to do this in the local area?  I'm not going to farm this out to India, and I'm not going to hit a "rent-a-coder" site, so...

Ads in the paper? 
Find a local agency?
Find a local company that will do the work?

Any other suggestions and experiences?

Alex
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

If you happen to live in a metro area that craigslist serves, that can be a good way of collecting resumes for free.

Sam Livingston-Gray
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Post again with your email address, you nit. Problem solved.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

You could probably ask around and get it done by someone who knows someone.  Networking, it is the way to go.

OTHO -- you could just price the job and see if someone wants to spend a few evenings and weekends doing it. 

For some reason companies are adverse to letting their own people get the money.  That it is somehow "unfair" to let Joe earn extra money in "overtime" but it is okay to get Jane from outside to do it.  But, I digress.

MSHack
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

>For some reason companies are adverse to letting their own >people get the money.  That it is somehow "unfair" to let Joe >earn extra money in "overtime" but it is okay to get Jane >from outside to do it.  But, I digress.

I think this is a very interesting point. I think there are sound reasons for companies not letting their own people get the money...for one there is a conflict of interest...one can be never sure that the employees regular work will not suffer due to his pursuit of the "paid work".  Secondly the very reason the company wants to contract this out is that they feel their people do not have the skills or time to do this and this flies in the face of an employee being able to do it. 

Finally an employee would not want to do this since it might give a wrong impression it is cheaper to fire and hire them back as contractors :-)

Code Monkey
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

CM - perhaps, but I suspect those are more excuses than reasons.

Your other work may suffer for 1,000 different reasons.  If 1001 causes failure, the issue is probably not the last 1, but the first 1000.

If a company does not have the skills, or time to develop the skills then getting someone to do it is fine.  To be candid, I bring in the HVAC guys, even when I could probably do it myself. 

Time is another issue.  We all have time to do something else. We could probably fit another 10, 15, or 20 hours in a week.  But at some point, the cost overcomes the benefit and I go home.  However, add more benefit and the cost may be overcome. 

As for it being cheaper, it should never be that, and I doubt it ever would be.  Ask a contractor to come in for 10 hours and the rate is going to be greater than 1000 hours (YMMV) in most cases.  With a salaried employee, make it worth their going rate. 

If you pay hourly, then it does get a little sticker, mainly because you probably pay overtime in which case, there is literally no time to do it.  This would not be the case I was considering here.

MSHack
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Alex,

I've been there in the past.

First, kudos to your good judgement:

>> I'm not going to farm this out to India,

Yes, support the home team! (anyone else, sorry if that sounds redneck, sue me and bite me if you object ;-) )

>> and I'm not going to hit a "rent-a-coder" site

I don't blame you. These sites suffer from "pick meeee!" inundation with placeholder bids and alphabet-soup style offshore companies babbling breathlessly really fast about their dozens of languages. Post a realistic RFP and you will be hard pressed to get through all the desperate clueless replies.

>> Ads in the paper?

Very unproductive for contract work.

>> Find a local agency?

Scum o' the earth here. Anyone who is experienced does not tend to work through agencies. Almost  all agencies are fixated on sales, making their numbers, and racking up the hourly rates. Agencies treat experienced people like low grade temps, which is why we don't tend to use them. Providing a useful service with definite closure comes *way* down in their priorities. Also, they *will* withhold from your consideration those people who could actually help you - who will tend to have bill rates that don't fit into their minimal commission models. They basically have their own agenda, which is decidedly not useful to you.

>> Find a local company that will do the work?

Now you're talking... Just expand your definition of "company" to include established free lancers, contractors, and employees of other  companies who may be responsive.

I can suggest some resources:

Word of mouth to anyone in your personal or professional network who does not have a conflict of interest with letting out the work. (this prolly excludes employees of your company.)

http://www.scguild.org - freelancer resumes. Free to search, and no middleman. Contractors pay for their listings.

And ... newsgroups. Just use a fake email or aliased address and not your "good address", because usenet is harvested aggressively by spammers.

Craig's List too, if it has a section that covers your area.

Bored Bystander
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I am from Romania, the prices for software development here are low, and yet I still find that the prices from Rent-A-Coder are extremely low, even compared to the prices here!

A Romanian developer
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

>> I'm not going to farm this out to India,

Romanian,

Nice try, but I think that Alex want's US talent.  Sorry, but the tide is changing...

Smitty
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

---"Yes, support the home team! (anyone else, sorry if that sounds redneck, sue me and bite me if you object ;-) )"-----

No bored, we'll just find out what the product and company are so we can support our home team by boycotting yours!

Actually, Philo might have the best idea here. It doesn't sound like the kind of job where you actually need the guy to come into your office and talk to the whole team, and unless he is really local you might spend more on that than on doing it. Try and find someone you can contact and get on fairly well with using email (hint, have a look around some of the help forums and email the moderator or residient expert and ask if he wants a little extra work), and forget about the geographical location.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

You think it will only take 2 weeks. More likely it will take 6 weeks. By the time you fully explain what needs to be done and give the hypothetical developer access to things those 2 weeks have flown past.

Tom Vu
Wednesday, January 07, 2004

"Yes, support the home team!"

Why?

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, January 08, 2004

I know somebody who can help.. Contact ..

KS
Thursday, January 08, 2004

"Yes, support the home team!"

It's voice - from stone age.

While you _support_ your home teams - your concurrent outsource to me for just $10/hour. So - you bite(or even beat) yourself.
I have 100+ completed projects last year. Not big, but completed.
I use only "Rent A Coder"  to find new freelance projects.
Here you can read "why":
http://www.takereal.com/rentacoder/default.asp

Here my brief  history as "Rent A Coder" Top Coder.
http://www.takereal.com/freelance/resume.asp

Sergey
Saturday, January 10, 2004

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