Monthly Archives: January 2013

I want to hire a freelancer for a long term contract, but I’ve never worked with them before. What should I do?

There is a couple of methods that you can use to help determine if a freelancer is the right choice for a project.

If you want to hire them for an hourly project, you can use the the tools that the freelance job sites have to monitor them. Most have webcam software to view the contractor and/or software that takes a picture of their screen so that you can monitor what they are working on. You can use this software to monitor the worker for the first couple of weeks to determine if they are working on your project and also see if they know their work.

Another method is to setup a small fixed price project to see if they can complete the work. If they can, then you can move on to more complicated projects.

Hourly, Fixed Price, or Contest? What’s the best way to hire freelance contractors?

There are pros and cons for each project type. The best type really depends on several factors such as the project length and the type of project (software, graphics, marketing, etc.) Pros and cons are listed below.

Hourly

Pros

  • Very flexible, a good idea if the project is not thought out at the beginning.
  • Most freelance job sites like oDesk, Elance, and Freelancer have software that lets you monitor the contractor’s progress.
  • Better for long term projects

Cons

  • As an employer, you are never sure what the final cost might be.
  • It requires monitoring of the contractor to make sure that they are not wasting time (and therefore money)
  • A worker could work a long time on a project and you could find out at the very end that it is incompatible with your system. The worker would still be paid.

Fixed Price

Pros

  • You know what the final cost will be
  • Great for small projects

Cons

  • Inflexible. If changes need to be made to the project, then changes need to be made to the contract.
  • More upfront work is required to make sure that you put all the details into the contract

Contests

Pros

  • Great for getting a variety of responses for graphics projects

Cons

  • Can be more expensive than hiring a single worker
  • Not appropriate for all project types

Who wins more in arbitration, the employer or the contractor?

Generally speaking, the employer wins more. This sounds bad for the contractors, but unfortunately the contractor has a greater burden of proof. If a project goes in for 100% testing, the employer has only to prove that the bug exists and the fixing it was part of the contract. The contractor has much more to prove – they have to show that the project works without error.

This isn’t to say that contractors never win, this is far from the case. Employers have to give the steps to re-create the error and show that they had informed the worker about the problem.