I’ve been spending a bit of time on freelancing websites recently such as www.peopleperhour.com and www.freelancer.com. One thing that stands out on viewing the jobs posted on there is the lack of information provided by the buyers about their requirements. I recently came across one post that wanted you to bid and give a timeline and they only gave the briefest of briefs and said the details would be shared with the successful applicant! What I find even more amusing is how many bids the project received without knowing the specific requirements (I would really love to have a nose at those briefs). So, the buyer is expecting us to bid on a piece of work, tell them how long it will take, all the while we only have a vague idea of what the work is but no way of knowing how long it will take or how complex it will be. It would be like me posting a job saying I have a piece of land, building permissions and building plans, please send me a proposal for building me a house on that land and when can I expect it but I’ll only share the details of that house if I accept your proposal. There’d be so many questions, what materials will be house be built out of, brick, wood etc, how many rooms, how many floors etc etc. The crazy thing is I would still probably receive bids on this!
My plea to anyone posting a job on these websites is to be very clear in what you want out of the job. Break the job down into each element, such as functionality, what you expect it to do, how you expect it to look etc. This ensures you have fully thought out the job and it saves wasting everyone’s time – yours when you get proposals that are clearly chancing it, and ours as we don’t have to probe for further information or come across nasty surprises in the job later. It also means you have something to refer to should the final result not live up to your expectation and you need to dispute the work done. But at the end of the day, you get what you pay for, so you can either take on one of these chance proposals or take on someone who has actually considered everything the job will entail and whether they can deliver it.