Anyone using Odesk for there programming needs? I need advice.

8 replies
Hi Evy1.

I just need feedback and advice on anyone that has been using Odesk for there programming needs.
I'm thinking of hiring someone that could create a viral facebook app or wordpress plugin but I do not know how much to charge the programmer. Is it better by the hour or fix. And how do I choose which programmer is trust worthy.
I figured the guys who is making big$ selling wordpress plugins are the guys who hire programmers in freelance sites.
Very appreciated.
#advice #odesk #programming
  • Profile picture of the author SEOSoftworks
    i'd always go fixed rate.

    what you pay depends on the complexity of the work. Trey Smith just had an excellent blog post about hiring a programmer for mobile's just as applicable to FB apps, plugins...whatever.

    How to find good programmers | Trey Smith App Blog

    Read this article...great tips on interviewing and how to determine the BS'ers from the good programmers. This may answer a bunch of your questions and give you a starting point.

    Hope this helps...I'm a bit into Mobile Apps...PM me is your still lost.
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  • Profile picture of the author JayBest
    I use Odesk all the time and it's absolutely awesome.

    Here are a few of my main pieces of advice:

    - select staff with high ratings and heaps of hours worked.
    - especially with coders, cheap per hour does not mean cheap (for example I once hired a candidate who was really enthusiastic to do a task, and was only $3/ hr but estimated it would take 20hrs to build a simple app.
    I was also offered 1hr at $50 flatrate from someone with several hundreds of hours at 5 stars.
    I figured the $3 guy should get it done quicker than quoted and I wanted to give him a chance - it cost me $80 / and have a buggy app, I should have hired the guy at $50

    - always be very clear
    - I usually request to work for say 1hour and the submit their work through for you to review. This can pull up any errors of understanding
    - indicate how long to spend and how much care needs to be taken (for any code, I could spend up to 10x more time if it must display perfectly in all browsers, must be totally secure, must have perfect error processes and capture for example)
    - If someone isn't working out, dont be afraid to pick someone else
    - don't be racist - there is a clear price divide between some countries (eg india, phillipines and some of the former USSR states) understand culture but I have some of my best work done at a fraction if I only hired US or UK candidates.
    - when you find someone awesome, aim to hire them always. Give them as much of a pay rise as you can.

    Hourly rate projects
    - always insist on running the app which tracks the usage and do review the work done
    - also maintain an hourly rate cap
    - be clear on

    Fixed price projects
    - certainly cleanest and least fuss
    - you will however typically spend quite a bit more per tasks.
    In exchange you are not having to worry about it working, how many hours they put in etc. About 20-40% more.

    Jay Best, CEO / Entrepreneur - Peak performance, Life coaching - Website and Graphic design - Personal Assistants, Transcription and Time Management - DSL Modems, ISPs, and all things Broadband.

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  • Profile picture of the author thegirlofday
    Odesk maybe not ideal for programming needs I use scriptlance.
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    • Profile picture of the author JacMer
      I've used Odesk over the past year and never had a problem. Any issues, just call support - they are very responsive.
      Jay's advise is right on - follow it - you can't go wrong.
      Keep in mind Odesk is the middleman(person), you have to make the final decision on who to work with.
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  • Profile picture of the author bjacket
    Thanks everyone for the honest tips. I will post my project now and see how it goes. But one thing worries me is that when I want update and bug fixes and they no longer available how would I get this done? Do I hire another person and give them the code or start from fresh?
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    • Hey bjacket,

      I wrote an article about reducing the risk of outsourcing that you will probably find very useful. It is geared towards people hiring off of oDesk or Elance. Here is the link:

      How to Reduce the Risk of Outsourcing on ODesk, Elance, etc. ~ The Working Programmer

      In regards to you last question, I touch on it briefly, but it depends on your project. If you can create a scoping document and know exactly what you want, and do not plan on a lot of iteration, then do a fixed rate. If the project is still changing and/or requires a lot of iteration, then charge hourly.
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  • Profile picture of the author jcoutu
    JayBest has good advice. However, I would recommend against using the overall rating as a guide to hiring someone. The overall ratings are fairly standard across workers and miss several things, such as zombie projects (abandoned projects) and cancelled projects.

    Better predictors are:

    - lots of projects
    - good questions asked on their bid
    - comments from previous employers
    - tests (not self-ratings)

    Be very specific when creating the project summary. Something that helps is detailing how you will test the project. This helps frame the project.

    If you make changes to the project, make sure that both parties understand and agree to the changes.

    Good luck.
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