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I am in Spain where I run my own sites and do some work for English people in the vicinity - I have not yet done web development work for people that I have not met.
I am considering making a push for work from the UK (my lower costs would help me compete), where I would not expect any face to face contact with the client.
Are many of you working in this way? How well does it work? Does it require you to make more effort to tie the client down with a contract?
Does it require you to make more effort to tie the client down with a contract?
denisl doing any work on sites for "clients" without a contract is a "disaster waiting to happen" This has been discussed over and over in this forum and it is "always" reccommended to get a contract for any and all cliets close or far away.
my lower costs would help me compete
Another thing is how fast you do the service. Is not just the rates. Someone can bid with a low rate but take long time to finish the work and eventually the total is higher than someone else who seems to have higher rates.
As of contracts depends on the project. If it's a bug fix or minor modifications you will likely spend more time to write the contract than do the job. There are always risks but keep a balance.
A good presence on the outsourcing sites will help, plenty of examples of work and contact details - simple things like updating your profile & always being available on skype will get you the work. I have chosen suppliers before simply because they were online to answer questions when I was reviewing bids and built a good relationship from the start.
Working for people you don't know and have never met sounds like more trouble than it's worth.
But that aside, working from far away can be easy. Fedex costs me US$20. Thanks to VoIP, phone calls are free. For the odd occasion when it's necessary, video conferencing is easy over broadband.
I definitely do not discount just because my "costs are lower". That's my business. They're paying for the work they get.
Only nuisance was that 2-3 times they tried to find an in-house person to do my work (price wasn't an issue, timezone was), so my hours kept going down and up. In the end I wanted something more constant, so I could plan my time better.