How to find a good freelancer ?

Whether you currently deal with a freelancer website, or are just looking for the best place to find a freelancer, the biggest problem you face is how to find a good reliable freelance, one that will do the job properly with good quality work and finish it on time.

Many sites offer you, the webmaster, a place to post your projects to be bid on by freelancers. All of these sites let you contact offshore workers that live in countries where wages are only a fraction of what they are in the more industrialized nations. This allows you to keep your project budget low and save money by keeping your full-time staff small.

So, how can you find this "diamond in the rough"? You know, that reliable individual who delivers quality work on time and within agreed upon budget? There is no simple answer. The best you can do is using the tools provided by the freelance website to try and minimize your risk.

Unfortunately, most of the existing freelance websites use a very poor rating system that only allows a webmaster to rate a freelancer on a scale from 1-10. This system doesn't take any of the more important variables into account, such as the complexity of the project.

The complexity of a project is important. A freelancer doing many simple and inexpensive jobs may have an excellent rating and do very good work for that kind of project. But, there is no guarantee they can handle a more complex project. Since the more complex projects cost more to get done, at least one freelance website has developed a rating system that takes complexity into consideration by using the dollar amount of the project as part of the rating formula to provide the webmaster with additional information. Thereby, hoping to make the webmaster's decision a little easier.

Here are a couple of additional suggestions for hiring a freelancer:

Do Not Post a Budget !!!

"Why not?" you ask. If you post a budget, most freelancers will bid based on the budget amount. Unfortunately, a reasonable cost in one part of the world is insanely high or ridiculously low in another part of the world.

For example, you want someone to create a logo for you. Any decent graphic artist should be able to do that. So, it probably is safe to go with the lowest bidder. But, suppose you need a sales letter written for an Australian audience, do you really think someone is Eastern Europe or China will be able to do as good a job as a native Australian? Probably not, but, the cost of living is a lot higher in Australia and that individual would need to charge more for the same amount of work.

Do Not Hire Outside of Your Expertise

But, you say, "If I was an expert, I wouldn't need to hire someone else!" While that may be true, you do need to be sufficiently familiar with the area of work to be able to accurately describe the project, to know what and isn't technically possible and know whether the bids you receive are reasonable for the amount of work involved.

If Necessary, get advice from someone who does know the area of work. Most sites provide a message board for you to negotiate with the bidders anonymously before you select one of them for the project. Pay careful attention the freelancer's reaction to the project. The ideal candidate is one who loves his work. Ask them to describe similar projects they have done in the past or to provide samples of their work if feasible. Graphic artists, web designers and writers will be able to provide samples. Programmers and some others may not be able to provide samples but they may be able to provide references if they haven't already been rated by other webmasters.

Following the steps above and keeping the lines of communication open will dramatically increase your chances of having a successful experience with your chosen freelancer. It can save you both time and money as well as help you manage your business in the most effective manner. After all, you face all of the same challenges in dealing with freelancers as you face in dealing with any employee, plus the additional challenges created by being in different geographic locations.

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