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Anyone have positive experience w/remote SW work?

I am about to post a rant^H^H^H^Heducational diatribe about  my experiences trying to find decent remote work and particularly an "interesting" recent experience.

But first, I am just curious. Has anyone here ever landed a "significant" project (say, more than 2 billable weeks' worth of work) where the client was remote, you and/or the client found each other with no intermediary, and you worked for close to a US market rate?

In other words, I am excluding:

- Projects where it was physically and economically practical to "court" the prospect face to face.  (this is not a remote project under this definition, sorry, this is a normal project with telecommuting involved.)
- Projects conducted at (sorry, my offshore friends) net third world rates.
- Projects arranged by a party known to either or both ends of the deal. IE, no deals where your safety was assured because someone you trusted played matchmaker and vouched for the other person's trustworthiness as a client.

In other words, I would like to know if anyone on this board has ever met a client through online means, gotten a decent programming project from that client of the type advertised on,  and completed the work, and gotten paid at a reasonable market rate for your time and effort.

A lot of people in this field talk about doing this. I want to know if someone has actually done this.

Bonus points if you make it a regular process.

Bored Bystander
Monday, June 28, 2004

It works best if you have worked on-site. However if the domain is clearly documented or already understood, you could ramp up pretty quickly with after a telephone meets or teleconferences. A flight in is always best once in a while, to help familiarize everyone since no one has ever met each other, and to also help you understand hands on what's going on at your client's office. Face to face is important if the relationship is long-lasting.

Monday, June 28, 2004

I met my current employer online via Usenet (it was a few years ago).  He was a webdesigner that needed a programmer to handle form processing and that sort of thing.  I did a number of contracts for him before we ever met face to face.

After a few contracts we had a mutual idea for a product based on what we doing.  I became a full-time employee and continue to work on the product even now (which is several years later).  Outside of a few meetings and brainstorming sessions all the development has been done via the net.

Everyone should be as lucky as me; I rarely see or hear from my boss!

Almost Anonymous
Monday, June 28, 2004

Sort of. I discoverd a company starting R&D in a field I knew well, went to see them and landed a contract that lasted two years to lead their R&D work, working from home.

Even though I was 30 minutes away by train, I only went in every week or so for a catch-up meeting. It was excellent and paid well.

Monday, June 28, 2004

I have had many opportunities but I always insisted on working on site, off site development just doesn't work that well for the sort of projects I do. Most of my work has a large amount of analysis and requirements gathering which you can't do remotely.

Having said that I don't do any contract work anymore because I got sick of the travelling.

In fact it seems to me the only work that can be handled remotely is the sort of commidity service that is likely to get offshored.

Tony Edgecombe
Tuesday, June 29, 2004

During Dec & Jan, I worked on a project remotely.  It was about 150 hours worth of work at a *very* reasonable rate.  I met with the client twice in advance, once mid-way through, and once on delivery as they were about 100 miles away.

The project was misdefined, the data was not what it was supposed to be, and the client squirmed a lot.

The saving grace was that their exisitng project manager was a former team leader of mine, so he was able to inject some sanity/reasonableness on their end.

Otherwise, it would have turned into a raging mess instead of the pain in the ass that it was.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Funny how no one really mentions money. Do we all agree on what U.S. rates are? I don't think so. The highest paying contract job I got was for US$25.00/hr .. dern, I hate to say it, but that's what it was, lasted 2 months. I've bin on projects at elance and rentacoder etc. where they thought my hourly rate (the same) was a project BID. Looks to me like the offshore rate at a rentacoder etc. runs about US$10.00 or less but nobody bids or buys like that. I've spoken to reps of offshore at places I've worked and the standard *programming* rates were from US$10 - 25/hr.

Watch out for phone bills on remote work. You will find that requirements is a four letter word at most places so you will end up on the phone A LOT with some people. I was using a cell phone ... careful.  Some customers do everything via email (the ones who know how to write and communicate).  Beware of phone people ... they are like people for whom everything has to be a meeting.

I know a guy worked at a place I worked at before they hired me full-time ... his official billing rate was US$100.00/hr back in the day. And this is all for fairly simple (especially when you have requirements) web work.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

I'm just finishing up a project review, where I read the code of a partially finished project to look for performance, security or functional problems.  Totally third party, they wrote to me out of the blue, I've never met them.  I did it on fixed bid, they are happy with the report and my rate was well over $100 US/hour. 

a regular reader
Wednesday, June 30, 2004

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