When looking for a web developer or freelance programmer, many folks hear about these ‘online job boards’ where you can post your project, and freelancers will bid (provide a cost estimate) on how much they’d charge to complete your project.
If you’ve ever actually tried to use these types of boards, you know the reality is that you’re inundated with dozens (hundreds!) of low-ball, non-relevant, cookie-cutter responses by mostly overseas (read: India, China, Romania, Russia) programmers who really don’t have a clue, claim to be be able to do anything and everything for ridiculously low prices, and ‘the english are spoken goodly here.’
Some great mind decided to have some fun with this tendency of certain types to bid on any project, with claims of success, by posting an impossible project – hilarity ensues.
A little background: There is an major unsolved mathematical problem known as the P versus NP problem. I will spare you the details (they make my head spin), but suffice it to say, really big brains have been working to solve this problem, and there is even a one million dollar prize for the person who can do so. So this is not a trivial effort.
But that didn’t stop the usual suspects from coming out of the woodwork to claim ‘this is easy’ , ‘we’ve reviewed your project specs carefully and are prepared to quote’, or my favorite: ‘we’ve done this before’ (!!?).
My point for this post is to beware (and stay away from) these types of post-a-project websites. This typical behavior of so-called developers is confusing to the buyers, and frustrating to the real web designers and developers, who never quote based on the tiny project requirements found on a board-site.
Anyone that reads a few sentences of a project brief and then turns around immediately with a price quote and assurances of we’ve done this before / this is easy / we’re ready to bill you is just after your money. They have no clue as to what you actually want, nor do they know anything about you, your business, your competition, your website goals, ideas or full feature set.
Only by taking the time, through a thorough back and forth discussion, asking a lot of questions on both sides, and listening hard, can you come to a full meeting of the minds and develop a complete, working project scope. And then a real cost estimate can be worked up, based on the experience, skills and insights of the development firm doing the quote.
In short, don’t be lulled by low pricing, and false assurances of success. Always speak to the actual developers of your project, as well as client referrals – check them out. And if it seems to good to be true, it is. The cheap comes out expensive!
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