Warning Signs

There’s a job posting for a developer that I recently ran across that gave me an idea for doing this blog post. I won’t directly link to it, to protect the poster, but I think it serves as a great example of warning signs you need to watch for when taking a project. Here’s how it begins:

I had previously used someone else to start the project 2 weeks ago and they just cancelled today for no reason at all and had given me nothing to work with.

Not a good start, I ask all my clients with existing websites if they’ve worked with another developer and if so, I’ll ask them why the relationship ended. A developer who drops off the planet with no warning tells me the working relationship between the client and the developer was not great. The client seemed to be blindsided by this, so proper communication while the project was in progress was not in place.

The 1st phase of the project was supposed to be completed by Feb. 4. If you can get the 1st phase done between Feb. 4 to Feb11, I will offer a bonus!! I assume work would need to be started this weekend.

Also a bad sign, the project (an ecommerce site) was expected to take a total of two weeks. This is a very tight timeline (this is likely why the developer quit, they realized they signed up for more than they could handle) even for an experienced team. Instead of returning to the customer to establish a more reasonable timeline, the poster is offering a bonus to the next poor soul! Well, at least they realize that because of the timeline and the urgency of the situation they will have to pay a premium . . .

We are a marketing company with many clients so please price out the quote accordingly as we need to mark it up a little. I’m looking for an affordable developer who I can send projects to on a regular basis. My total budget is approx. $3000 so please reply if you are serious about the timeline and budget.

. . . or not

3K for the whole project? Also check out the bait: “if you do a good job with us, we’ll send you more low paying high pressure projects.” Gee! Thanks! I think Paulo Elias said it best

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There’s second phase at the end of the month (Feb 28th), which has a lot of additional requirements and features they want added. I won’t break them down further since at that point I really zoned out.

The thing is, this might be a good project, I’m sure this project is perfect for someone. But after doing this for three years, I’ve developed a kind of gut feeling for projects (or Spidey-sense) that tells me to stay far away

I’ve developed it because I’ve taken projects like this, because when I started I didn’t know any better and because I didn’t have any idea what my time was actually worth.

Your time is the most valuable thing you have, if you commit to a bad project on bad terms, then your time will be spent on a nowhere project when you could have used that time for something else. Remember when you’re meeting with a client for a project, you should be vetting them, watch for the warning signs and run like hell if your spider-sense is tingling!