No matter what platform you are using, WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify… as your business grows, at some point, you will probably need the help of a professional. This could be just some visual adjustments, animation, social links or some more complex functionality. Sure, you can accomplish a lot by simply searching for the solution online, but sometimes it is simply better to get things done by a professional and, more importantly, it saves time and allows you to focus on more important tasks.
Let’s see how it works through the example of hiring a web developer from Upwork. As you may already know, Upwork is one of the largest and most trusted freelancer websites. Our team members have worked on Upwork as both client and freelancer, and we can confirm that this site is a great place to work and find talent. They pay so much attention to security, communication, and service, that the chance that you will find the help that you need is really high.
Simply open an Upwork account and set your profile as wanting to “Hire for a Project”. You can be both a freelancer and a client on Upwork and you can easy switch between those two roles.
First, what you need explain what you need done. For initial job requests you don’t have to be so detailed, but once you have a shortlist of potential candidates it is very important to define every single task so you and your candidate can plan the time and price needed for your project. What may be helpful is to search the current job list with your keywords, as someone may have already described a similar task or included important information that you may have skipped. You can also add links to other sites as the examples.
Creating a short description and using screenshots and video to explain what you need may also be a good idea. Here is a list of useful tools that may help you to create initial content.
- Full Page Screen Capture – Chrome extension for screen capture
- Screengrab! – another Chrome extension for screen capture
- Awesome Screenshot: Screen Video Recorder – Chrome extension for video capture
Don’t forget to mention clear deadlines. Try to be realistic but, if you are not sure, you can also consult with candidates when you interview them. If something is urgent, make sure that you point that out so only freelancers who are sure they can complete the job on time would apply.
To find out which candidate will be the right fit for your job, besides the standard job description you may want to ask some additional questions, such as:
- Have you done similar work before?
- Describe how you would solve this problem?
- Would you recommend some special tools (theme, plugin)?
We would suggest avoiding generic questions such as “Why do you think you are the best fit for the job?” It is better to focus on specific tasks and candidate skills.
When you post a job on Upwork, you are given two options:
- Pay by the hour
- Pay a fixed price
If you are not sure what would be the optimal range for your job, again searching in the site database for similar job postings can be useful. Moreover, a web search may also help, as some agencies have a list of rates. However, these are almost never the very same things you need to have done. So our advice would be to do your research, try to set a realistic price or just enter your budget limitation at that point. Don’t be surprised to receive significantly larger or much smaller offers then the price you have set. It’s no big thing, you can easily talk to potential freelancers and then make an agreement about the final price.
Who do you need to hire?
There are several aspects of the site with which you may need assistance. First, if you need some visual changes, such as logo design, different header image, new icons or buttons, then you need to hire a designer. To implement elements that the designer has created, you generally need help from a web developer. A developer or coder works on site functionality, for example, if you need a new sidebar, custom shop option or animation of elements. Besides this, you may need a content contributor, such as a copywriter or editor, for new articles, content descriptions, proofreading, and the like. If you are creating an entirely new site, then you may need the help of all those specialists. Through knowing this, you should be able to select all the required skills for the job you are posting.
Upwork will help you with selecting the right skillset for the job. The website uses a script that analyses job titles and descriptions and offers you the correct areas and competences. Note that your job can be visible to anyone, be visible only for Upwork members, or only to members that you are going to invite. You would also receive a list of members that Upwork has selected for your job.
Make a shortlist
1. Review proposals
Make sure that you read the proposals carefully. The proposals should have a few sentences about the candidate’s skills and past experience and his or her approach to a given task or detailed questions about your job. By reading the proposals you should notice if the candidate has read your job post carefully. It is common that freelancers post a generic response or only talk about their skills. If the candidate didn’t pay sufficient attention to your project at this very first stage, then his or her later workflow may get even worse.
2. Deadline and price
If someone offers a much smaller price than you have suggested or an unrealistically short deadline, then your warning signs should be flashing. A competitive price may seem attractive, but getting a job in that way may spell big trouble for you later down the line. Also, a client doesn’t always need to know the precise time needed for some job and the exact price. You can always start a conversation with candidates and ask them to explain their offers.
3. Check examples
This may be very helpful for you, especially if the candidate has done something very similar to the job you need. It is always good if a candidate has some appropriate examples but if someone has very high job score, a lack of references doesn’t have to be a problem.
4. Check candidate’s profile
Reading the biography and previous job score is possibly the most important factor in creating a shortlist of candidates. Of course, if the success score is higher – you can expect higher quality skills and work ethic, just note that for Upwork anything under 80% is not generally a very good result.
Finally, you should conduct a short interview with candidates with whom you are interested in working. For this step, you should evaluate response time and candidate communication. It is always recommended to engage in a brief conversation before hiring, in order to define all details, answer all possible questions and check the client’s communication.
Should You Hire a Beginner?
We say, go for it! Especially if the task is small or if you are very limited in your budget. When starting freelancing on big sites, such as Upwork, it may be pretty hard to land your first job, so beginners often offer smaller prices, but that doesn’t have to mean that they will do a bad job.
Hire Your Freelancer
Once you have selected your candidate, simply click Hire and create a contract. You can divide jobs into smaller milestones, make an agreement about final testing, and agree on a payment schedule. Freelancers shouldn’t start with work until you provide a deposit for that job in Upwork’s escrow account. Once the freelancer has reviewed the contract and accepted, he or she can start working on your project.
Make sure that you have prepared login credentials if needed. If you need a commercial theme and plugin for your site, then make sure that you buy it. It is recommended for the future updates and licence, as it is always better for the client to keep control of that. It would be good to make an agreement with your freelancer regarding:
- When you can expect the first result
- How you can check progress
- When and how the final result will be delivered
Also, you should make an agreement on how you would communicate. It is recommended to use Upwork messages (where you can also make video calls and send files). Upwork messages are the most secure way of communication and if anything goes wrong, Upwork’s team will check your conversation and protect your rights. But if you prefer some other communication platform, you can use that too. It is important to note that you shouldn’t offer or accept work outside of Upwork and both you and your freelancer can be permanently suspended because of that.
Closing the job
Everything is done, you have received your files and performed a final review – great, you can close the job. Mark the last milestone as completed and end the contract. At the end, you will receive a short list of rating questions, and so will your freelancer. Once you submit them, rating results would be displayed next to your jobs list. Although a bad rating may affect freelancers more, note that just as clients are choosing freelancers based on a rating score, freelancers are cautious about working for clients with bad ratings.
If anything goes wrong, you can always ask for a refund. In additional options (…) there is the option Request Refund and, from then, simply follow the refund procedure.
Note that once the job has been completed you can also pay freelancers who’ve given it 110% a bonus and you can often continue working with them; rehire freelancer again. There is even an option to hire multiple freelancers for one job, of course, you should give them different tasks.
Experiences may be different, so we would like to know what would be your golden rule when you hire freelancer? If you may have some good advice to share please comment below. Also, if you are interested in any more information on any of the issues raised above, do not hesitate to leave your request in the comments section. Help others – share!