Have an idea for an iPhone or Android app? Need to take your web marketing to the next level but can’t afford an army of bloggers and webmasters? How about surfing the web to collect data for the next useful widget on your website?
With the talent wars for geeks heating up (the number of billboards in San Francisco asking software engineers to come work for them hasn’t escaped us) it’s getting harder and harder for small business owners to get into the “app dev” game. Even the folks on Craigslist are advertising $100 an hour minimums again. It’s like the dot com craze all over again. What gives?
Seemingly, Facebook, Google, Zynga, Box, and a slew of Web 2.0 start-ups have created a demand for programmers that is outstripping the supply. Like the banner advertisements that went hot in the nineties and then cold in the early 2000’s and is red hot again (now called ‘display’ advertising) the demand for programming talent has once again reached its all time high.
And that’s a shame, because we small biz folks also have brilliant niche ideas that can extend, build on or even transform the nature and reach of our enterprises. If only we had someone who could program our idea and turn it into reality!
In this week’s posts we will review 3 resources for small business owners that allows us to reach out halfway across the world and find talent on a per project or per hour basis that is affordable, transparent and with a degree of control and communication not available before. To start, we’ll begin by reviewing the #1 destination (IMHO) for small business owners to find affordable programmers that are quality, can deliver and work on a budget.
I’ve been using Odesk for a number of years now and it is quite simply one of the best ways to find talented programmers in India and Russia as well as parts of South America. It works by allowing small business owners to select programmers based on ratings, reviews from others who have contracted with them, by skill set and by price.
While it’s easy to search by skill, region and hourly cost, here’s some things to keep in mind before putting down your credit card.
– Odesk works by you paying Odesk, they keep a 10% fee, and the rest goes to pay the programmer directly. So keep this in mind as you budget for your project.
– As a general rule of thumb, if an engineer says the programming job is going to take 50 hours, budget at least 50% more (so in this case, 75 hours) for the job to be completed. This is because QA, testing, tweaks and other elements of the project should be taken into mind. And lest not forget that as the project develops, you may change your mind as to the feature set you want.
– Developing applications for mobile platforms (iPhone, Android) can be tricky. Not only do you have to have the developer create the application, you have to go through a process of getting your application into the App Stores of varying platforms, so there is a business element to getting your app “into the world” that is separate from programming. Stephen Morris has a great blog post about how to get your small business iPhone app into the app store.
– Odesk has a tool that allows you to track the number of hours being worked by your contractors so you can know you’re getting an honest hours worth of work. Intrusive? Creepy? Maybe, but hey, when it’s your money being sent to someone whose working for you abroad…