Best site for Freelancers

kim_foxx

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I am looking for a reliable site to export a project i need completed.
I tried http://www.freelancer.com but my first experience was unpleasant and ended up losing some money.... I am unsure if i am unlucky or if the website is not a good for what i am looking for.

Has anyone done this kind of stuff before?
Any recommendations?

Thanks.
 

essellar

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Unfortunately, it's as hard to find somebody good on a freelancing site as it is to hire a real employee. A lot of them look good "on paper", but really don't have a clue what they're doing. (They only really need to know a little more than the people who are hiring them, and as often as not the small jobs come from people who would be lost if they were asked to do anything more than send an email or look at The Googles.) "Graphic artist" usually means "I've installed the GIMP" (or a pirated copy of Photoshop), and has little to do with talent or any understanding of visual design or communication. "Programmer" often means "I read the 'for Dummies' book on the language I have listed, and know where to copy code from on the web".

There are some very good people on those sites (which include places like elance and rentacoder), but picking them out of the mix can be hard. You can't use price as a guideline, unless you're willing to forego use of some extremely competent people trying to make a living in a bad economy (often the same sorts of economies that generate scammers and incompetents who only know that they know more than the other poor people around them). Eastern Europe can be the source of both the best and the worst deals to be had out there, as can the Indian subcontinent (although there are very few in India proper who are both competent and desperate; Bangladesh and Pakistan have somewhat less promising futures for a lot of people). (I hope that doesn't come across as racist in any way. It's just a reality that comes along with poverty and a general lack of interest among foreign investors.) And it doesn't help that the Dunning-Kruger effect is in full force: the prospect's confidence and assurances are not necessarily going to tell you anything about their actual competence/ability. They don't know what they don't know or how that's going to limit them. And "artsy" types can be even worse, since they are often incapable of seeing how very bad their own work is. (Bad taste and Photoshop is a horrible combination.)

Interviewing is hard. It's easier when you're adding to a team, since you usually already have the competence you're looking for (or something very close too it), so you can spot the phonies -- whether they know they're phonies or not. When you're looking for something you don't already have in hand, all you really have to go by is past work and references, along with whatever intuition you have. But at this level, a portfolio of work or references may be tiny or non-existent. It may be because you're dealing with somebody who's just getting into the field (and facing the "how do I get experience if nobody will hire me until I have experience" conundrum) or someone with something to hide. It's hard to tell which. You can restrict your search to people who have scads of experience, a large portfolio of work and a huge cohort of gushing references, but they'll be in demand and expensive. Or you can learn all you can about the job you need done, enough to spot people who know even less than you do. Honesty, the ability to estimate, and punctuality are a lot harder to assess by remote control, though (and judging in person is not completely reliable either).

You might try contacting some people you (sort of) know and think you might be able to trust. Online communities can be a great source. Often, even if people can't take the work on themselves, they may know somebody who'd fill the bill perfectly.
 

Sharky

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I dabbled in freelancing...well...I had a look at some online sites and realised there was always someone bidding for ridiculously low rates making it not worth my time.

Suffice to say, http://odesk.com/ seemed pretty popular, and part of the way of working is a worker-monitoring package meaning you can get screenshots at regular intervals etc. to make sure you're paying for someone actually working.
 

essellar

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That would actually keep me (as a freelancer rather than as someone hiring) away from the site. A big part of my value-add as a consultant/freelancer was accumulated code libraries and scaffolding (not specifics, necessarily, but high-level abstractions of common solutions), and I was never afraid to charge for them. If a job took me, say, a week of real time, but recognising the class of problem and writing the skeleton would ordinarily have taken another week (or two or three), then I'm ahead of the game, and even at somewhat higher rates, so is the client. But it's really hard to convince a client of the value when they're essentially "watching you copy and paste" in their mind's eye. It may give the hiring party some peace of mind, but it's quite unfair to a skilled and prepared contractor. (And that doesn't begin to take into account the amount of time spent merely considering the problem. Throwing code -- even writing tests -- is a step somewhere in the middle of the process unless the problem is so well-understood that there's likely an off-the-shelf solution available.) I can't see anyone with a ready library of templates and snippets going the Big Brother route. (I got out of corporate in-house because of that sort of thing; creating value has little to do with time at the keyboard.)
 

inadim8956

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I use freelancer.com .. Actually, I get work there not requesting .. I'm a developer.
 
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