Employing/contracting developers


(Joel Warren) #1

This is something that’s on my mind a lot. I’ve been running a web design/development business for 2 years now, and it’s always been just me.

In the past, I’ve passed work around to some other freelancers and guys I know when I couldn’t fit a project in. But as I grow my clientelle, and wanting to grow my business, the next step feels like I need more inside help.

I’m wondering if anyone’s been through this process before and has some tips.


(Niels van Renselaar) #2

Yes I did. And then, I didn’t. Having someone work for you is a big thing. They need to have a paycheck every month and there are a lot of rules and regulations you have to consider. You can’t just ditch a employee when you have no work for them, like you can do with a freelancer.

My biggest reason to just run solo is my work rhythm. I don’t just work from 9 till 17. My workday is scattered trough the day. When employing someone you have to be in a regular rhythm and a natural good leader. Also take in consideration that the work you do will change. You have to take up more of a communication and project-leader role, rather then developing.

For me, I’d like to keep the line short, keep doing what I love: developing. Clients choose me because it’s personal, I get things done quick and I don’t have to bill them for every minute…


(Leland Fiegel) #3

Really interesting question. I tend to side with @nielsvr, for the same reason that I prefer to work solo and contract help on an as-needed basis.

However, you’ll notice all the top agencies employ a full-time team. Presuming they have the ongoing work to sustain it, this seems to really be the only way to truly grow and scale your business, while you step back into more of a manager/supervisor role.

Although I’d imagine it is a learning process transitioning from managing a full-time team over one-off contractors. As well as not being so hands on in the development process, instead deferring that trust and responsibility to your team.

I’d be really interested in hearing other people’s thoughts on this.


(Joel Warren) #4

Interesting and I hear a similar story from a lot of freelancers I chat to.

A couple of points:
From my perspective I find coding less interesting these days and would prefer to focus on project strategy and client relations.
I already pay myself a regular paycheck and function like a business with a couple of employees, although I just do everything myself.
Most of the time I’m more worried about having too much work come in and not saying ‘no’ than having dry spells ( this probably means I should up my rates, but I’m happy with those atm).

Thanks for the contribution, I find it really interesting

@Ireland when you contract help on, how do you fine people that you can work with (trust/quality/communication)? Personal networks?


(Leland Fiegel) #5

Usually on freelancing sites or online forums. The quality greatly varies from person to person but once you find a reliable group, you stick with it.


(The Dragon) #6

Are there freelancing sites you prefer more than others? I’ve been trying oDesk, copdeable.io and WPCurve but having limited success. Each has their pros and cons.

I did find one guy who did Genesis customizations and did an outstanding job on 2 projects. But, he’s been totally non-responsive on the third.


(Leland Fiegel) #7

That seems to be the downside with working with freelancers you find on these sites. Even after a few successful projects, they often just inexplicably disappear. Don’t quite get it, but it happens sometimes.

Also +1 to oDesk. Haven’t really used any others recently but there’s a really wide variety of talent there. Not just WordPress-related programming, but design too.


(The Dragon) #8

I’m also a fan of oDesk for most of these projects. The main reason is you get enough people replying. I find that with some of the recent services I’ve been testing, you don’t get enough candidates.

There have been a couple of surprises for me along the way. I found two articles by Chris Lema on this subject. These weren’t endorsements per se, but a starting point for research. One that he mentioned was microlancer.com. It now redirects to an envato page at http://studio.envato.com/explore/wordpress. I found this to be a poor interface for me as I had to think too much to figure it out. I came away thinking it was for cookie cutter type jobs and not really custom work. I could be totally wrong.

To date, I’ve tried 3 of the services that were mentioned in the articles. There were 2 others I sent inquiries too, but weren’t responsive enough for me. I figure if the company can’t get back to me in a timely manner, that’s a red flag. In some cases, the service is good on balance, but the work varies dramatically between who is assigned your job.


(Jason) #9

I’m actually a freelance developer that does long-term contracts. At least, that’s how it’s worked out for six years now. The company I currently work for is a small web development and design company (4 guys). Technically, I work for myself and the company contracts me, but this is mostly for tax purposes. My contract is basically a salaried position, wherein I do get paid on a monthly basis, regardless of work.

What I like about this, versus per project work, is that it develops a stronger relationship between me and the other company, which helps both parties to feel a deeper sense of investment. I’m happy to help accomplish more than fulfilling the current project, but also helping to improve the workflows, maintain company boilerplates, etc… I like it! :smile:


(Joel Warren) #10

Jason you sound like the dream :wink:

Do you work exclusively for that company or manage other jobs on the side?


(Joel Warren) #11

I’ve been tempted by another couple of guys to dip my toes into this whole outsourcing world and I’m looking at august99.com, I think I like the idea that I don’t have to screen lots of candidates.


(Jason) #12

Hahah! I’m pretty happy! :smile:

I work primarily for them, but I do take some side work here and there as opportunities arise – so long, of course, that I’m able to fulfill my primary contract.


(The Dragon) #13

That’s a new one to me. I find it odd though that when you go to their pricing and services page, you’re prompted for a password. http://august99.com/services-and-pricing/

Keep us posted if you use them. As for screening candidates, I understand. Interestingly, I got an email from oDesk asking if they could help find candidates for me. I’ll probably give them a call.