Hiring a WordPress freelance developer for site builds is nothing new. Business owners, bloggers, and many others have been outsourcing website development for decades. It was a simple thing to shift over to WordPress when it was released 16 years ago.
Ironically, the same problems that existed back then are still plaguing clients seeking to hire a WordPress freelance developer today. They all:
Basically, they all have trouble with the entire process of hiring a WordPress freelance developer, not to mention the issues they face while working with one.
So let’s go through the efficient way to engage a WordPress freelance developer. By following these tips, you can experience a smooth hiring process and come out happier on the other side.
Budget is always a major concern when you are considering diving into a new project. Web development can be a long and complex project, depending on what you need the site to do for you. This means setting aside enough money to see things through to the final product.
Keep in mind that rates for development vary widely. On the freelancer side, they are influenced by factors like location, level of skill and experience. They are also influenced by factors like how elaborate the design is and the complexity of the website functions, some of which may require custom coding.
For instance, on FreeeUp alone, Web development rates range from $9 to $40 outside the US and from $35 to $75 for a WordPress freelance developer based in the US, UK, or Canada.
Everyone wants to get a good deal. This doesn’t mean haggling too much or lowballing on quotes, however. This includes asking for free samples or unpaid trials. Skilled, professional freelancers with solid ethics don’t need to give it away.
A good deal is getting a WordPress freelance developer that you can depend on to build your site the way you need and want it for a reasonable price and without causing excessive stress.
Here’s how to get a good deal.
The budget problem is two-fold: knowing how much it’s going to cost overall, and how much you’ll need to provide each week or month until the site is completed. You’ll need a solid block of time to figure this out, so make room for it.
1. Start with a fixed amount. What you can comfortably set aside for your WordPress site? This can be a weekly or monthly or overall amount, whichever makes the most sense for you. Write that down.
2. List down the major elements that you want your site to have. If you have reference sites, put those link at the top of your page. Then go through each one and isolate the elements that you want to have as one item each on your list. You don’t need to get too detailed at this stage; just get the basics down.
3. Add a purpose for each element. You need to indicate why it’s important to have and what you want it to achieve. Use this web design questionnaire to help you understand what a WordPress freelance developer needs to know about the project. Then prioritize the elements from highest to lowest.
4. Get on the Internet and do some research. You can find lots of information online on the going rates for similar development work.
Alternatively, you can go straight to hiring sites for direct quotes. This means you’ll have to clean up your description so it’s easy to follow. Then you can load it up and wait for responses. This will give you an idea of how much you’ll need.
5. Answer to the best of your ability any questions that applicants may have. They need accurate information to know whether or not they can 100% do the project and get you an accurate quote.
6. Ask yourself if it’s worth it. Do you have the means to build your dream site? Will it bring enough value to your business to be worthwhile at this point? If the answer is yes to both, then you can get the hiring process started.
Before you engage anyone’s services, you need to have a solid, detailed quote from them outlining project stages, costs, and timeframes. Do not waste time or effort on any further steps until you have this.
A WordPress freelance developer who can’t tell you how much or how long a stage is going to take does not have a lot of experience. This is a bad sign unless they’ve been honest about it and you’re willing to take a chance on them at lower rates. If so, make sure you agree to and set solid ceilings in writing so you don’t go over budget no matter how long it takes.
A WordPress freelance developer might also refuse to get into detail even if they know the numbers. It’s hard to tell which without further interaction, but be wary. This likely means that they are focusing on how much they can milk you for. If you’re sourcing from a freelance hiring website without protections in place, you are solely responsible for vetting candidates. You are also solely responsible for any and all outcomes.
When hiring a WordPress freelance developer, you generally have two payment options: fixed-price or hourly. When you have that detailed quote in hand, the option you prefer or the one that the freelancer offers won’t matter much. You can easily figure out unit and total costs from the outline.
In rare cases, a developer might request a retainer. This might make it easier for you on the payment side. Be careful to work out the numbers, though, because it can be easy to lose track. You want to make sure that their progress always matches up to your regular payments. It’s easy to go over budget or fall behind schedule unless you take the extra step to break down the retainer and line it up with your milestones and timetable.
So now you know exactly what you want and you’re confident that you can afford to see the project through to completion. It’s time to engage the services of the WordPress freelance developer who can make it a reality.
Here’s what you need to do to get the best results and minimize setbacks.
You need to learn a bit more about the freelancers you have lined up before hiring one. You may have had several interactions with each one of them already during the quote process, which is a great start.
1. Think about these interactions. Focus on what you liked about each freelancer and what made you feel uneasy.
2. Prepare questions to ask each freelancer. Zero in on the areas where you need clarification. Any misgivings you have might be easily cleared up by discussing them further. It can also confirm red flags that will tell you that working with this or that person is not the right move.
3. Prioritize candidates to interview. Based on your overall impression of the freelancers so far, set up a time with each of them in turn to have a good, uninterrupted chat.
Pro Tip: I recommend using Skype, Zoom, or some other tool that supports VoIP video calling and recording. This gives you the chance to gauge body language and facial cues during the interview, and to keep a record of it. Seeing the freelancers will give you a lot of valuable insight into their character and how they work. It’s the reason why traditional interviews are usually conducted in person, and you shouldn’t have to miss out on it when you’re hiring remote.
Video calls are also a great way to check each candidate’s Internet connection in real-time. Communication is vitally important throughout the course of any project, so you want to make sure you can reach them when you need to. Internet issues should also not become a factor that causes delays in work progress.
4. Check for the right fit. Aside from clarifying doubts, you want to use this interview to see if a candidate fits well with the way you do business. You also want to think about whether or not you will be comfortable working with them personally. Like-mindedness, rapport and trust can be just as important to the success of the project as rates, skills and experience are.
5. Give the freelancer the floor. Don’t forget to ask the freelancer if they have anything else to ask or say. Address those issues.
6. End the interview on a good note. Thank the freelancer for their time and let them know when you’ll get back to them regarding your decision. Make sure you stick to that schedule and don’t leave anyone hanging. Respect begets respect, and it costs a lot less to be nice than to clean up a PR nightmare.
If at any point you confirm red flags that make a candidate unsuitable, find a good stopping point and politely end the interview. There’s no good reason for either of you to waste more time on it.
Once you’ve found the right fit in terms of rate, attitude and overall ability to successfully execute your project, make the hire. Don’t set them straight to work, though. Onboarding is an essential stage for setting up how the workflow should go to avoid issues down the line.
1. Review the work together. Go over the project description and quote with the stages and timeline. Make sure that you are both on the same page about how work will proceed along these guidelines.
2. Set up regular times to meet. You need to make it a point to check in on progress, discuss unforeseen challenges and exchange feedback. An experienced WordPress freelance developer will have a lot of good advice to share if you give them a chance. Use Calendly if your schedules don’t allow for set weekly meetings.
3. Discuss expectations. Describe what you expect from the freelancer in detail and invite them to respond and set their own expectations. The main ones are personal preferences and general business operations.
Examples of communication and operational preferences:
Be available to the WordPress freelance developer as you agreed during onboarding. If you’ve picked a professional, you won’t need to do any hand-holding. As the client, however, you still need to provide guidance.
The developer you hired may have built a hundred sites before this one, but every site has unique elements. You and your business are unique. They will have questions from time to time that you need to weigh in on. Respond to them as promptly as you expect them to respond to you. This builds a positive work relationship and helps to avoid wasted time and costly mistakes.
Don’t rely on verbal communication. You may prefer to jump on a call to discuss a problem, but don’t leave it at that. A lot can be said and soon forgotten – or worse, denied. As you go through each activity related to the project, document everything. It’s vital that you have hard copy references to avoid issues. You can record calls or share and acknowledge notes to help you keep track, whichever works best for you. Just make sure everything is documented.
You may be hiring a WordPress freelance developer for the first time or looking for a way to avoid the issues you’ve had previously. You may be hesitant to pull the trigger because of the stories you’ve heard from friends and colleagues. Whatever situation you are in and however you may feel about hiring a WordPress freelance developer, these tips will help ease your mind and make the process smoother.
Our main goal at FreeeUp has always been to make the hiring process better for clients. FreeeUp founders Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan went through many of the hiring horrors that you’ve heard about or experienced yourselves. They built FreeeUp to prevent all of that from happening, using the same principles involved in the advice given here. Over the past decade, they have become remote hiring experts, and they have the heart to share what they’ve learned so that you can experience hiring success, too.
Whether you choose to blaze your own hiring trail or enjoy FreeeUp’s fast, reliable and fully-supported system, these tips will set you on the right path to getting a good deal when you hire a WordPress freelance developer.
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