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freelance worries
first timer's dilemma

 11:48 pm on Jun 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

hi all,
i posted few weeks ago about how to start off doing freelancing and for your information, i was approached by a friend who owns a courier shipping company an offer of helping him to create a solution and help maintaining his company website.

I feel great as this is gonna be my first involvement of a project in the freelancing world but in the same time i feel nervous of accepting his offer. I haven't reply him yet to confirm whether i was gonna accept his offer or not because i am trying to find out by doing a bit of homework whether or not it is gonna be feasible and up to my level as to let ya'll know i never worked with a techie web solution like the one he requested before.

He wanted me to design a system where he can accept bookings and requests via his website. So you can say that really gonna involve some calendering and ecommerce script work as it involves payment and scheduling. In his email he was asking me how much should i get paid from him annually.

So the question is, is it gonna be wise if i accept his offer straightaway and come up with a quote of how much i should get per month to him first? (as I myself having those worries of accomplishing the project well)

Or should i do a bit of homework first i.e. roughly draft the plan and doing some bit that he wanted which works partially first, present them to him and see if he is satisfied than let him suggest what is the most humble rate that he think is best to pay me?

Can someone give me a rough idea of what sort of scripts are the best to provide solution to his requests i.e. php, mysql etc and also a rough idea of how much this project really worth, assuming that everything goes well and the system that he wanted was successfully implemented.

For your info, his request for my help is to:
1. design and implement the solution in his existing website (which means his current administration will change hands to me)
2. taking care of his bookings as well as training him how to use it (his co. is a small scale business with small number of staff) and maintaining his website i.e backing them up and do regular maintenance.

And I was based in the UK. Therefore, I really need advice from all preferably UK freelancers!

Thanks you all so much!



 2:39 pm on Jun 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's quite a big project to start with but very rewarding if you can implement it correctly.

I am not sure of the costs involved but I would think that you'd be easily looking in the thousands of pounds.

The combination PHP-MySQL seems good enough for me.

Hope this helps a bit



 2:56 pm on Jun 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can someone give me a rough idea of what sort of scripts are the best to provide solution to his requests i.e. php, mysql etc and also a rough idea of how much this project really worth, assuming that everything goes well and the system that he wanted was successfully implemented.

I'm a little confused, do you know how to code this sort of thing or not? I would think that someone who knew how to program wouldn't be nervous about it. And someone who doesn't should be honest and say that it's over their head instead of trying to take a crash course or find an existing script that does what they want to do. That's how web designers get a bad name.

Also when you're doing freelance work, you should quote by the hour or by the job - not by the month.


 8:57 pm on Jun 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

The first time I took a freelance job for application development, I was very nervous about my skills and abilities... could I justify charging a three figure hourly rate? could I get it done on time? would they be happy?

My solution was to ask a friend of mine who is a 25+ year vetern of computer programming to ride shotgun with me. I split the project with her 50%/50% ( and paid her 50% of my net after taxes) but as far as the customer was concerned, they were having my consulting company do the work... no mention was ever made of my friend's participation.

As it turns out, I was indeed up to the task, but my friends feedback and assistance was still invaluable. The biggest thing she did for me was give me the confidence that even if got in over my head, I'd have someone to help me swim to shore. (to continue the metaphor)

I'm not saying do or don't do, but it worked out well for me. I guess I would sum up thusly:

You're never going to know all the answers, but life's test is open book - it's okay to look them up or ask a friend for help.


 2:04 pm on Jun 22, 2004 (gmt 0)


You seem to be jumping in at the deep end and if you decide to take something this on you're going to have to learn to swim fast.

Have you any experience of ASP,PHP, or Coldfusion?
You'll need one to connect to the database.If you have no experience of these then it is asking a lot taking on a project of this complexity with no experience. You're sure to have sleepless nights.I've had them when I was given charge of a major project for an oil company, even in a web development co, with a year's experience.

My advice is first of all look for a ready built application for the job. There is loads of cheap apps that may do the job and save you a lot of coding work.
You'll still need to adapt them to your use probably though.

Look at this site to get an idea

Also try the ASP sites for something similar.

My suggestion is to divide the site up into modules and do the basic ones first. Be honest with your client and say if you need to contract out the more complex parts. There's loads of cheap offshore companies, though I don't know the quality of the work they produce.

(I'm a coldfusion/asp developer with 5 years experience of working on major sites for a range of projects from oil management sits to small business sites.)

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