I recently finished creating my latest website, and since I am a designer, not a coder, I often find the need to seek the services of a freelance IT professional. There are several good sites out there that can easily help you find the help your looking for. There are quality professionals available that provide everything from logo creation to website design, to marketing and advertising. There are people that can help you from beginning to end during your entire website creation process.
There are literally thousands of IT professionals and not-so-professionals out there ready to take on your project. I have had wonderful experiences and slightly less than wonderful experiences in these situations, and want to give you some help in finding IT professionals that can save you money, but sometimes more importantly, lots of time.
1-Get Several Quotes- After you post your project on the boards, you will probably receive a couple quotes within an hour or so. Check each quote carefully; make sure it encompasses EVERYTHING you described in your job posting. Cheaper is NOT synonymous with better so make sure you get are getting quality help at a reasonable price. Don't be afraid to pay what the job is worth. These people have to make a living and if you take care of them they will take care of you. If you go looking for the cheapest bid available often you will find yourself wasting lots of time and sometimes money, and probably having to hire somebody else to go back and re-do what should have be done, or done right, the first time. With that being said..
2- Check Their Qualifications - Once you receive several quotes and have a good idea what your budget is probably going to be, check their qualifications. All Freelancers will have a profile page available when they submit a quote for your project. MAKE SURE THEY ARE QUALIFIED TO PERFORM THE PARTICULAR TYPE OF WORK YOU NEED. More than likely you will receive lots of bids on every project you post. And most of the time you will receive quotes from people that are not completely qualified to perform the work you need. One thing to keep in mind, ANYBODY CAN BE A FREELANCER, and lots of people will say they have the skills required to perform the task but may only have a little knowledge about a particular skill and assume they can "figure it out" as they go. And they quite possibly may be able to do that in some situations. The problem with that is: guess what you're doing while they are "figuring it out"?......waiting. And sometimes time can be more valuable than money. I have given freelancers days and sometimes a week or so to complete a task that would have taken a QUALIFIED person 2 days to complete. A higher skill level is more valuable so sometimes you may have to pay a little extra to acquire the more qualified person. I have even awarded a project to an unqualified person, waited a week for a 2 day project, only to find out they were unable to complete the project and had to hire someone else. With that being said....
3-Check Their Feedback-On their profile pages they will have a feedback page. Check their feedback and actually read some of the comments posted. Find out if they are professional, timely and responsive on their projects. See if all work was completed and if they would be hired again on future projects. Make sure you check any negative comments left. But don't let a negative comment sway you from a professional if they have 98% positive feedback and had one bad experience with someone. Sometimes people can expect too much work for their money or aren't descriptive enough in their job post and fail to sufficiently let the IT pro know the full scope of the work needed, and then get upset when they don't receive 15hrs. of work for their $200 bucks. And on the other end, when your project is complete, don't forget to go back and leave feedback for your IT pro. It will help others like yourself find quality, professional help, and it's just simply good business practice.
4-Be Descriptive In Your Job Post-I can't stress this one enough. One key to making sure your project runs smoothly is making sure both sides understand exactly what the job at hand is. Don't leave anything out of your post. If you know something is going to be a challenge or if there are other situations attached to the current problem, make sure you let them know up front what they are getting into. Like I said in tip #3 if your post is not descriptive enough and the IT pro ends up "opening a can of worms" on your project, you will only get the amount of work your budget allots, often leaving your project unfinished or poorly completed, or they will be forced to request additional funds, or they may refuse the project all together leaving you to post the project again, go through the whole process of finding someone, again, and wasting lots of time that wasn't necessary in the first place.
5-Find Good Help and Stick With It.-When someone does a professional, quality job on one of your projects, reward them by using them again in the future (if it doesn't conflict with tip #2). You can build professional relationships and fore go all the "weeding out" processes on future projects and save yourself some time if you have quality pros that you can consistently rely on. And they may feel inclined to put in a little extra effort on your next project and can add to the overall quality of the job.
Hopefully these tips will help save you time and money and most importantly will allow you to achieve your ultimate goal, which is finishing your project in a timely and professional manner with the highest quality possible. Guru.Com, ODesk.com, & Elance.com are a few good places to start when beginning your search. Freelance work can be a great solution to your IT needs and is most effective when the process is carefully monitored and a few guidelines are followed.