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Protect yourself: what prospects you need to watch out for
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Kayıt Tarihi: Jul 2018
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yazan vB.Org Poster 10 Jul 2018, 16:08

When you find a person offering to provide a project or ongoing work, watch out for these warning flags. They indicate a significant risk for the development team or coder.

I am fortunate to have learned these lessons not too late, but I wish someone told me these things when I got started.

I'm not saying every prospect is like this -- every situation is unique -- but things like this are very common and if avoided, save you both a lot of headache.
  • Cloudy requirements, clear budget: If someone isn't clear on exactly what they want but list a budget, and after a few correspondences you can't get a hard picture of what you will be delivering, do not take on the project.

    Otherwise, you give the prospect an opportunity to add whatever they want as you are working -- with possibly no corresponding additional compensation, and if there is, it's a haggle and done at their discretion.
  • Clear requirements, unclear budget: If someone is willing to give you a 10-paragraph essay on what they want but don't include congruently clear elaboration on compensation for the work (not even 3 sentences), giant red flag.

    It can even be said that this prospect has some disposition to not compensating you. It requires deliberate omission if the rest post is otherwise 100% crystal clear.

    This isn't always, but often done by aggressive low-ballers. They'll pretend to be tentative on their budget when they have a clear picture in mind or want to haggle down to $2.

    Their common defense to being unclear about budget is they don't want to be ripped off. Truth is, they are under no obligation to even work with you -- there are plenty of options for them. Simply steer far away.
  • Code n' Dash: a.k.a. "Won't pay anything until I get the working product". This comes from a reasonable place... 10 years ago. This type of prospect is the one that will point to how many times they have been "ripped off" by programmer XYZ via PayPal placing no responsibility on themselves. There are several project platforms with Escrow services such as Elance and

    In these places, milestones can be set in a mediated enviroment and funds can be released based on progress. Have a web-accessible test board so the prospect in question can see what they are paying for live, and you don't have to release the code -- both of your needs are met.

    Anyone that can't agree to that is trying to rip you off, plain and simple. Stay away from these prospects.
  • Easy Project, Ongoing Work, Et al.: Common passive-agressive lowballer tactic -- they will do some combination of a subtle note about how easy the project is, a $2 budget, and promise of ongoing work -- they might even joke with "more" money.

Buyers get adequate warnings about all the bad coders out there. It's only fair that coders are warned as well.
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