Even the most promising provider may turn out to be the wrong fit for your project. Qualifications for a job include more than just the provider’s skills and experience. A provider who is too busy, too expensive, or too specialized may not be the right one for you. You’ve taken the time to establish your timeline, budget, and other requirements, and you’ve plotted the course that the project must follow. Now you need to find a provider who satisfies these parameters.

Budget

Obviously, you want to stay within your budget, which means finding a skilled, reliable provider for the right price. Make sure, however, that you’ve budgeted properly. Offering too little money can get you stuck with inexperienced or unreliable providers – or none at all. If you aren’t sure how much your project will cost, do some research first. Look at other projects posted online and see what the providers were paid. If you’re unable to offer a competitive wage, then consider adding other rewards as well, like partial ownership in the work or other perks.

Provider’s Workload

Be sure to establish up front if your preferred provider will have time to meet your needs. Highly recommended providers tend to stay pretty busy, which means they have to set priorities, and your project could end up at the bottom of the list. Your freelance website will show you how many projects a provider

has open, so you can judge for yourself if they are too busy. Your timeline, just like your budget, may demand that you find a provider who is less sought after and, therefore, has more time to commit to your job.

Complexity of Project

If you’re outsourcing a highly complex project, you need to consider whether or not one provider can give you everything you need. Providers who specialize in particular areas may not be able to handle all aspects of your job. For example, if you’re trying to create a website for marketing and selling your products, you will need a web designer, certainly, but you may also need a writer, an accountant, and a marketing specialist. Don’t assume that a provider who can fulfill one part of your project will be able to fulfill them all.

Provider Understanding of the Job

As I pointed out in “Plan and Specify,” you need to have a clear understanding of your project, and of course, so does your provider. If your communications with a particular freelancer lead you to believe that they are having trouble comprehending the scope of your project, then this probably isn’t the provider for you. During the interview process, discuss the details of your project (as specifically as you can with someone you might not even hire), and ask questions that will help you assess the provider’s understanding of your needs. If you’re not satisfied with the applicant’s answers, then move on.

There are no guarantees when choosing a freelancer, but guidelines and strategies do exist to help steer you toward the best options. One thing you should never do is rush the process. The provider who wins your project needs to demonstrate that they have the skills, experience, knowledge, time, and understanding to deliver your desired result. Do your research and ensure that you know exactly what type of provider you need. Don’t hire someone simply because they have a good résumé, good reviews or a good bid. They should also be able to instill confidence in you through their communications. A provider who looks great “on paper” but rubs you the wrong way during the interview process is probably not someone you will want to hire. Trust your instincts, and you will have much greater success in your hiring decisions.

Now you may be thinking that your work is done, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ve done the proper planning. You’ve hired a promising provider. What’s left to do? Managing your project through completion is a critical aspect of successful projects. Turning your provider loose with no supervision, communication, or regular checks effectively kills any control you once had. In our next installment, “Maintain the Momentum,” we’ll explore the all-important task of project management.

Corey has found a programmer who seems to have been sent from heaven just for him. The provider is highly skilled, and past projects indicate that she is creative and likes to be challenged. Her employer reviews are all fantastic as well. He couldn’t imagine a better person for his job. However, as he looks more closely, he discovers two major problems. One, her wage demands are beyond his budget, and two, she stays very busy. Corey has to accept that his limitations preclude him from working with this particular provider, and he continues his search for someone who can satisfy all his requirements – skills, budget, and timeline.

Say you find a provider who has the perfect skill set and exemplary employer reviews. First impressions tell you that this person could be the one you’re looking for. Keep in mind, however, that a “too good to be true” provider may wind up being out of your reach. 

Providers with excellent skills and reviews are likely to be in high demand, which means they may not fit your budget or your timeline. Check out their average pay rate along with their current project list to determine whether or not this person is compatible with your needs.

Finished? Go to the next lesson >>> 

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