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First i though about Elance and Odesk. I've already hired there for other little jobs and i was satisfied. Now i need someone for a 4 months job. On these platforms I found some great developers from all over the world with low hourly cost (10$-20$), high rating (most of them between 4.7 and 5.0 over 5) and high earnings (over 100K$).

Therefore i thought "wow, that's awesome!"

But...after some research i found out most of them are scammers or incompetent. They deliver the job unfinished, full of bugs and out of schedule and the reviews are fake. The web is full of complaints for most of them, especially from India.

Hence i realized it's impossible to distinguish between honest and scammers on these platforms. I've got a project to finish within 4 months, and i really don't know where to find competent people and avoid scams.

Any help?

  • As a heads up, this sort of question may be regarded as off-topic in the near future. We've opened a meta topic to discuss whether or not to create this off-topic reason. Please give us your feedback! – Chris Forrence Mar 30 '15 at 20:37
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You forgot the most important part of your question - for good money e.g. cheap. You will find those guys nowhere. I have tried dozens of times (I am developer and I outsources a few projects) and each time I faced the same issues like you. It's regardless if you tried on odesk/elance or Linkedin or Craglist or XYZ.

Cheap guys are not cheap for no reason. They are either incompetent or they charge low so they don't mess with debugging. I charge high because I spend more time polishing the application then in the core coding.

In the end, those cheap guys took me more money than if I hired 3 times more expensive guy.

But be careful, if a guy charges $50 or more per hour, it does not mean that he is good. So if I were you, I would stick to odesk/elance and trying to find a guy who charges the fair price (not low, not high). The one who stands behind his work. Try getting the local price and then pick the one who will save you 20% or 30%. Stories like "I found a guy who can build new Facebook for $10 per hour is a bed story for your babies".

Other than these services, you can try real networking like Scott explained or you can try Linkedin or similar services. But from all Internet services, odesk/elance and similar sites proved to be the best as you have some kind of insight into contractor's work.

Or you can try to find someone via Stackoverflow by picking him via his reputation.

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If you need someone for a long-term contract job, you could go through a temporary agency. Agencies have a roster of workers (usually considered employees of the agency) that have been previously vetted. You will be paying a premium for them, however.

If you have personal connections with programmers, you can ask them to recommend someone.

Both of these methods remove the uncertainty inherent in contacting a random stranger.

Finally, you say that you've used programmers from Odesk and Elance before with satisfactory results - have you considered contacting people you've worked with before to see if they are interested in this long-term assignment?

  • Thanks for answering! The people i hired are graphic designer, not programmers, unfortunately... Where can i find such agencies? And what's the difference between a company and an agency? On Elance and Odesk i found companies which are most reported as scam...and of course the guarantee their workers are good. Aren't they like an agency? – Alberto Fontana Feb 20 '15 at 14:46
  • Company uses their own workers. Agencies have a list of hundreds of contractors and they either take percentage from them, or charge you for their services (finding, testing,...). For you, this could be the same as using odesk or other methods I listed. – Peter MV Feb 20 '15 at 18:07
  • The agencies I speak of are called "staffing firms" if you are searching online for them. They are very similar to recruiting agencies that place full-time workers in jobs (and sometimes they are a different division of a full-time company). They also charge market rates for your location. The difference between finding a firm like that and finding one on eLance or Odesk is that these international companies have reputations to maintain in the marketplace. There are smaller staffing firms as well. – Voxwoman Feb 21 '15 at 14:54

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