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How to hire freelance developers for small jobs?
1 point by hepennypacker 51 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 2 comments
Looking for some advice on hiring freelance developers. I have a website I've developed mostly myself. It's small, but has some intermediate patterns (Async processing, websockets, etc.).

If I'm adding a new feature or improving the functionality of the site, currently I attempt to build it myself (+ using StackOverflow), and if I can't knock it out fairly quickly, I try to hire someone to unblock me. This has worked fairly well so far, but I've noticed an issue when I try to hire for a small job on Upwork: I get time estimates that are all over the place.

I had a job recently that I thought would take someone who has experience with the packages ~3-4hrs to complete, but I got time estimates ranging from 1hr to 40hrs. On top of that, most of those that applied had no reviews, or reviews that weren't relevant to my use case. Some of the applicants work with agencies, but even within that group there's a big variance in estimates.

Any thoughts on how I should approach this? Here's what I'm faced with, essentially: - I know what needs to be built - Because I'm not experienced in a certain framework, eg. SocketIO, it takes me a long time to figure it out - I'm not able to solve the issue using StackOverflow

Really what I'd love to do is just pay an expert developer that's familiar with the package I'm working with to either A. do it quickly, or B. Pair program with me for 1hr.

A few things to note: - I've tried to make it easy on freelancer: they work from a basic dummy app that mirrors the structure of my larger app, but much more simplified. - The code is clean and easy to understand, because I strip out everything that's not necessary for the freelancer to use. - I'm willing to pay for it and I rarely hire the cheapest offer.

It's very difficult to weed through the applicants for a job and understand which estimates are legitimate and which are either wishful thinking or gross overestimates. Any advice appreciated.

You pay for deliverables rather than time. Don't do fixed-fee bids. You need to describe exactly what you want and how much it's worth to you, in terms you can measure. Doing that over Upwork is hard because they only have the fixed fee and hourly models, but it's possible even on that platform.

I wrote a long-ish article about this a few years ago:


If you don't feel comfortable describing your requirements and breaking those out into discrete measurable deliverables you can put a price tag on, then you need to solve that problem. The best way is to get someone you trust who can do that with you.

This is helpful, thank you. And yes, I'm ultra-specific when scoping requirements and the deliverable. I've never had a miscommunication issue with a freelance once I bring someone on, just struggling to hire sometimes

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