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Protect yourself: what prospects you need to watch out for
vbresults
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 687

by vbresults vbresults is offline 28 Aug 2012

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 Freelancer.com.

    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.

Last edited by vbresults; 25 Sep 2013 at 08:39.. Reason: Revision 1.
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  #2  
Old 28 Aug 2012, 15:09
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Princeton Princeton is offline
 
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moved to General Articles
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  #3  
Old 28 Aug 2012, 15:58
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Very solid points.
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Old 28 Aug 2012, 16:38
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Brandon Sheley Brandon Sheley is offline
 
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I agree that many clients are unsure about the time and money it takes to do some projects, but I've also seen several "vbulletin gurus" over bid and under deliver on work.
I've suggested to those looking for work to look around, do background checks on your freelancers. And to those looking to provide work, to showcase what you've done, get recommendations if you can, be upfront and honest about what type of work you do best. For example, I don't care for graphics work; I mention that first thing and offer others who are graphics people to those clients so they can go check them out.

Good tips OP
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Old 28 Aug 2012, 18:14
vbresults vbresults is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Princeton View Post
It was meant to be in paid requests to be used as a sort of checklist like filburt's thread

Originally Posted by Brandon Sheley View Post
I agree that many clients are unsure about the time and money it takes to do some projects, but I've also seen several "vbulletin gurus" over bid and under deliver on work.
I've suggested to those looking for work to look around, do background checks on your freelancers. And to those looking to provide work, to showcase what you've done, get recommendations if you can, be upfront and honest about what type of work you do best. For example, I don't care for graphics work; I mention that first thing and offer others who are graphics people to those clients so they can go check them out.

Good tips OP
I agree -- especially on the background checks and only providing services only where your absolute strengths are.
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Old 20 Sep 2012, 00:52
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abdobasha2004 abdobasha2004 is offline
 
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I just have few troubles with scam also, online business every day is getting much and much theives and hackers, facebook made it like hell...
Anyone online should now be more cautious than ever !
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  #7  
Old 26 Sep 2012, 21:01
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vbenhancer vbenhancer is offline
 
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regarding payment, examples can be numerous also... like when you "agree" to do the job, the client comes with X reasons not to pay you the day it is signed, but have to delay it for anything possible... stop it. when someone want a project to be done, the first thing is to ensure to have the budget to do it, no matter the situations... no money no candy.

"my father died"... ok, but the money was supposed to be in your credit card anyway, and your father is not the holder...

"my kids need to eat"... yeah, mine too, and i was supposed to be paid by you to do so!

"the bank stopped my payment"... that's a no way possible... even in Bengladesh, the banks are not blocking you just because you pay someone else... that's where they do profits.

"my partners are unsure of your work and will not pay you right away"... ok, that's not of my business if you can't be solid in front of your partners... i deal with you and you only...

etc... there is so much possible situations where we, coders, get scammed... hopefully, we can release our stuff in other means if the work was interesting anyway.
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Old 26 Sep 2012, 21:36
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borbole borbole is offline
 
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Originally Posted by vbenhancer View Post
regarding payment, examples can be numerous also... like when you "agree" to do the job, the client comes with X reasons not to pay you the day it is signed, but have to delay it for anything possible... stop it. when someone want a project to be done, the first thing is to ensure to have the budget to do it, no matter the situations... no money no candy.

"my father died"... ok, but the money was supposed to be in your credit card anyway, and your father is not the holder...

"my kids need to eat"... yeah, mine too, and i was supposed to be paid by you to do so!

"the bank stopped my payment"... that's a no way possible... even in Bengladesh, the banks are not blocking you just because you pay someone else... that's where they do profits.

"my partners are unsure of your work and will not pay you right away"... ok, that's not of my business if you can't be solid in front of your partners... i deal with you and you only...

etc... there is so much possible situations where we, coders, get scammed... hopefully, we can release our stuff in other means if the work was interesting anyway.

I had a case like that some months ago (claimed that they did not have enough money to pay the bills ) and it was very annoying to listen to all their whining and excuses when the the time came to pay me for the work I did. They should think about it before they hire someone to work on their sites and not after.
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Last edited by borbole; 26 Sep 2012 at 21:44.
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  #9  
Old 25 Feb 2013, 17:13
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Dorgham Dorgham is offline
 
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In these days abounded devious tricks and techniques to trick users online projects have no basis
Therefore the user must be sure confidence in the company or person to make sure his credibility
Thanks vbresults
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Old 24 Mar 2013, 18:29
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matrex722 matrex722 is offline
 
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thanks for sharing it
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Old 25 Sep 2013, 08:33
vbresults vbresults is offline
 
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Revision 1.
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  #12  
Old 15 Oct 2013, 03:55
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DivisionByZero DivisionByZero is offline
 
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Great article, thanks! I've been doing vbulletin mods for going on 12 years now and I've heard all the excuses dealt with all the crybabies and even have my own stalker now. There IS a solution.

Since they're all afraid to pay with PayPal anyway, make them drop you a check in the mail or sign up as a merchant with GreenDot to accept MoneyPaks on your website. It's so easy to do. There's an API and you'll have to integrate it, but it works and they cant claim SCAM later!
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