Question for all: has anyone ever had a remote contractor borrow the code they build for you, for their own purposes (or other clients)?
My feedback: I've hired about 6 or 7 different oDesk developers over the past 5 years (web & backend developers for Drupal, Python, and a bit of Ruby). I second many of the comments above: about half my projects were successful, but required significant management time (preparedness, clear requirements, defining testing/deployment workflow, building rapport, mutually agreeing on success criteria). The upside is that it is possible to build a website or MVP in 2-3 months affordably, while you're still a lone entrepreneur or busy team. Downsides are that you're working in a more waterfall manner (vs. doing in-house agile development), which can be challenging in your early days. Also, quality of code can be an issue.