Are there more more 'up-market' equivalents to RentaCoder

Discussion in 'IT & Internet' started by JDX_John, Jul 31, 2009.

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  1. JDX_John

    JDX_John UKBF Ace

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    The concept of RentaCoder is cool - someone posts about a software project they need doing and people can ask questions and bid for the work. But, most of these sites are inundated with jokers... cheap doesn't automatically mean bad, but many of the cheap people spam every job with a generic response and bid without reading the spec or asking any questions - I've never seen anyone post a spec complete enough not to need any questions.

    Are there sites run on the same principles, for larger projects - e.g a company wanting some serious work done by a reputable company rather than an individual wanting a FaceBook clone?

    I've been doing some searching and came across a few Tender websites, but these seem to be the extreme end of the scale... massive government projects representing man-decades of work... and you have to pay a non-trivial sum to see the tender document. Projects of that size are too high risk, as putting a bid together is a lot of work in itself.

    I don't know if software is special, or follows the same rules as other areas of business? I know there are a lot of web designers on here, if perhaps not so many software developers. Where do you find work of the non-trivial variety... e.g a medium size company wanting a new fancy website rather than a startup wanting their first site?
     
    Posted: Jul 31, 2009 By: JDX_John Member since: Mar 26, 2009
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  2. Peter Bowen

    Peter Bowen UKBF Legend

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    I buy services of elance fairly regularly.

    Some of the service providers on elance have billed huge amounts over the years and there are several who bill more in a year than my own company does so it looks like some reasonable sized outfits have worked out how to make this business model work for them.
     
    Posted: Jul 31, 2009 By: Peter Bowen Member since: Jul 2, 2007
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  3. JDX_John

    JDX_John UKBF Ace

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    Interesting, I'll check them out. I thought all these sites (RentaCoder, GetaFreelancer, oDesk, etc) were the same... swamped with people bidding at $10-20/hr. I know not all buyers automatically go for the cheapest, but it's really hard to get your foot in the door bidding at what is a going rate in the UK (a contractor rate is perhaps around £300/day and a software consultancy probably charges people out at significantly more, £50/hr is not uncommon).
     
    Posted: Jul 31, 2009 By: JDX_John Member since: Mar 26, 2009
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  4. liams7

    liams7 UKBF Ace

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    I think the real answer is no.

    These sites will always be the same.

    Also you may think its cheap but the bids probably come from india where prices are much cheaper.
     
    Posted: Jul 31, 2009 By: liams7 Member since: Feb 21, 2008
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  5. JDX_John

    JDX_John UKBF Ace

    1,118 125
    Exactly. But contractors working with companies in the UK/US are still earning higher amounts - not every company wants to outsource everything to Asia. My question is if there are places online to find such opportunities, rather than having to cold-call a bunch of places.
     
    Posted: Jul 31, 2009 By: JDX_John Member since: Mar 26, 2009
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  6. Dwebs-Ltd

    Dwebs-Ltd UKBF Legend

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    Ignore the RC quotes from the idiot companies who don't give proper quotes. We have a lot of .net work done through RC which I either can't do because its beyond my technical ability or don't have the time to do. We don't go for the cheapest either the developer thats done most of the work for us is based in South Africa and his rates aren't too bad cheaper than the UK of course but nowhere near as cheap as the India based quotes you get.
     
    Posted: Aug 1, 2009 By: Dwebs-Ltd Member since: Nov 29, 2007
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  7. JDX_John

    JDX_John UKBF Ace

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    As someone who falls into my target market bracket, I don't suppose you'd care to divulge what you consider an upper rate to pay for such work? PM me if you don't want to post numbers in public...
     
    Posted: Aug 1, 2009 By: JDX_John Member since: Mar 26, 2009
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  8. Dwebs-Ltd

    Dwebs-Ltd UKBF Legend

    2,062 264
    When we get work priced up its on a per project basis i.e. fixed not per hour.

    Usually works out at £350-400/week depending on whats being done.
     
    Posted: Aug 1, 2009 By: Dwebs-Ltd Member since: Nov 29, 2007
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  9. nickpp

    nickpp UKBF Contributor

    236 11
    Urge caution on elance, picked a great company (indian) with great reviews, they turned over a decent amount.

    But...

    Suddenly went off elance, citing elance threw them off for producing adult sites.

    Long story short..lost £600 quid, elance could not help nor could paypal.

    Oh...and got nothing to show for it, the 600 was first milestone.

    Communication excellent to start with. slowly turned to nothing, did speak to a lady on a mobile, she was clearly in a house full of crying kids.

    Sure they are many that have no problems but thought I would share what happened to us.
     
    Posted: Aug 1, 2009 By: nickpp Member since: Aug 11, 2008
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  10. Peter Bowen

    Peter Bowen UKBF Legend

    851 230
    Ouch!

    I've also learned the hard way, but I think that there are ways to reduce your risk when outsourcing work:


    • Keep the progress payments small and frequent.
    • Be specific in what you want. It's hard to write a brief, especially if you're not familiar with the technology that is to be used. It might even be worthwhile paying someone to write the brief.
    • If you're building a web application or software it might be worth mocking up the screens (pencil and paper if needed) and explaining what happens when you click each button.
    • Work out a testing plan. It can be as simple as what happens if you do X what results are you expecting and let your outsourcers test their own work before passing it onto you for approval.
     
    Posted: Aug 1, 2009 By: Peter Bowen Member since: Jul 2, 2007
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  11. JDX_John

    JDX_John UKBF Ace

    1,118 125
    Peter, what you describe is not just recommended, but practically essential if you want people to understand your vision for the software. You are correct that writing a spec (what you term a brief I think) is not easy, it's a specific skill to be able to turn what's in your head into a formal specification developers can work from without ambiguity. It's one aspect of software engineering which is hugely underestimated by those looking to get software created. It's also not the kind of skill the off-shore developers tend to have... they are (in the main) trained how to code up what you ask for, not how to glean the requirements from your description, or how to design the software at a higher level from a list of requirements.
    When I hire an offshore developer, I can give him technical descriptions of each task I need doing, because I'm a techy myself, and it works well. When a company without technical managers hire an off-shore company to create software for them, they tend to run into big problems because they're not used to formalising the requirements, and the off-shore developers aren't trained in software engineering - just in programming.

    Sorry, rant over now :) You make a good point about paying someone to write up a spec for you by the way. For instance, I personally could work with someone (at a fairly high rate comparitively as it's a specialist skill) to figure out what they actually want the software to do and produce a spec - and then give the client the option to use my company for development, or take the spec elsewhere. They'd own the spec I produce, no strings attached.
     
    Posted: Aug 1, 2009 By: JDX_John Member since: Mar 26, 2009
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  12. Peter Bowen

    Peter Bowen UKBF Legend

    851 230
    Perhaps that's where you'll make your fortune.

    It's a business model that works in other industries. I'm a former civil engineer and most of my work back then was investigating problems and designing solutions that someone else (a construction firm) would build.

    The engineer acted as an impartial middle man between the client who wanted something built and the contractor who has the resources to do it.
     
    Posted: Aug 1, 2009 By: Peter Bowen Member since: Jul 2, 2007
    #12
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