2008-08-30-my-favorite-kind-of-project-posting-not

My favorite kind of project posting (NOT!)

Since I am in the freelance business (and contract business and consulting business and ...), I get to monitor quite a few project sites for additional work, such as elance.com, rentacoder.com, odesk.com and getafreelancer.com.  My favorite kind of project posting, goes something like this:

"website is looking for a college student or a young web designer with a good knowledge of web design to help us design and build our website. We may be able to work out a limited payment arrangement now, but the majority of pay will be deferred. We have an aggressive, profitable business model and are confident in our success...we just need someone to help us get the ball rolling..."

Sounds like a very smart company bootstrapping their way to success right?  Well, not quite.  This comes back to the old adage "you get what you pay for."  If you actually find a student or junior level person who is willing to go without payment, you will get just the same level of quality, customer service and long term return on investment that your company invested in the project.  In other words, you will get none.  You will also pay a lot more when a professional is brought into to assess and/or fix the damage.  I can guarantee there won't be much savings there.

Let's look at this from the perspective of the student or young designer, perhaps we need a new adage such as "you get what you invest".  If it were me, I'd want "limited payment arrangement" defined.  Isn't that a life insurance term, where the person actually pays a premium?  I guess the student or designer will pay the premium in hours but reap a lifetime of benefits?  Whose lifetime?  The web site's?  The smart company that's currently bootstrapping?  Can someone also define "majority of pay"?  My definition would come in at 50.1%.  If the ball isn't rolling yet, how is it profitable?  Is it profitable when the first sale closes?

Sorry to rant.  Perhaps I'm just jaded from seeing too many haphazard development projects land on my door when the company owner discovers their true north or the junior person just flakes.

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