Freelancing · Product launch

How best to structure freelancer incentives once website is launched?

Tatyana Deryugina Founder of

February 27th, 2018

I hired two freelancers on Upwork to build a website. We're in the final stages of testing and the MVP will be up and running soon. But because things can break down in real time, I would like the freelancers to be available on short notice if something breaks. At the same time, there won't be much expected work for them for a month or two while I gather customer feedback and figure out the next steps, so the freelancers may very well find other contracts to work on. Here's my question: how do I structure their incentives to maximize the probability that they rush to fix the website if it breaks? The obvious one is to do something like double their hourly rate during this period to compensate for short notice and lack of regular work, but I thought I'd see if this crowd has other ideas!

Chris Dwan President, Rad Nine Software. Senior web developer, engineering manager

February 27th, 2018

There are lots of questions to ask to come up with good suggestions...

Are they good quality freelancers that are proud of their work? I can't imagine a good freelancer not responding relatively quickly to fix a broken website if it's really broken. So maybe there's nothing to do?

Is there a critical financial consequence for not fixing issues within a certain time frame for your project? Then maybe you need to prepare in advance by offering higher rates for fixing things within a specified time frame.

Are the freelancers more 'budget-friendly' coders? You may want to have a qualified senior developer evaluate the code that's being written? Poorly written code will lead to very expensive maintenance costs and a situation where the freelancers fix bugs but introduce new bugs. The thing to worry about is if they are only incentivized for their time then they may end up (unintentionally) benefitting from introducing more bugs.

Perhaps find a qualified senior developer and pay them to evaluate the code and maybe that person could be counted on to for the time sensitive support afterwards. It would be a higher rate, but better to just pay a higher rate to a more skilled developer and make sure things are fixed correctly than to double the rate of a less skilled developer.

I'd almost be inclined to say this should be universal advice with dealing with software: always find someone you can trust who can read the code and evaluate so you know if it's reasonable or a maintenance nightmare.

Hope that helps.

Luigi Lira Entrepreneur, networking, R.E. Investor.

February 27th, 2018

I think you Have to understand that you’re hiring freelancers, so you can’t compromise their time unless you pay them for it, even if you just need them to back you up in case of an emergency. In my opinion I would rather hire only one person to take care of the website and keep him busy improving things at every stage, so you will focus on feedback-development in real time. Instead of focusing on getting your website To the perfection.

Jonathan Pool Full-stack developer of accessible web applications

February 27th, 2018

Ideally the initial specifications for the project required the developers to provide detailed implementation and maintenance documentation, permitting any other qualified developer to take over the site’s maintenance. Making a critical website dependent on the knowledge of two particular persons is, of course, risky.

One plausible scenario is that a new requirement arises that nobody initially foresaw, and satisfying that requirement involves skills that the original developers don’t have. Then you want somebody else to intervene, even if the original developers are still available. Good documentation helps make that possible. (For example, somebody might discover that your site is not accessible for users with disabilities, and claim that you are out of compliance with the ADA. You might want an accessibility specialist to deal with that.)

Avinash Rathi Technopreneur | Doer

February 28th, 2018

I'm from Tech;

The best practice is, you should also ask the quote for maintenance while selecting the freelancer for your project development. This will reduce the maintenance cost and it will also help to maintain the bonding with the developers. So, they will always feel, You are the *BOSS*.

When any non technical person starts the project, they only think about the development. They generally do not bother about the structure of technical projects.

But at start, you should be prepared! Its important, because your business might be depended upon it. So playing with your business is not good idea.

Now, if your development work has been finshed, what can you do?

1) Hire an efficient Technical Project Manager for hours, because he knows much better than you, how to tackle technical persons.

Jin Arthur Cofounder & CEO SilverStarChina

February 27th, 2018

Hello Tatyana.

I think you can make a contract as fixed mode once your website is launched.

I have been hired many developers but hourly contracts are very risky. Especially after launching the web service, developers need more hours for fixing small things.

So you can discuss about the work list and make the fixed contract.

Then they will rush for fixing your issues.

Sumeet Jadhav CTO/Project Manager/Developer

February 27th, 2018

I will suggest that have a monthly contract with them of lets say 2 3 hour per day only. 2 month may be the loss but you have to bear, as this is necessary expense.

As this will a monthly contract the developer will be happy as this is providing them monthly stable income

Lázaro José Carneiro de Sousa Gestor de EaD

February 27th, 2018

Tayana Conte comigo se precisar:

Sabir Buxsoo Founder Presence Technologies LTD

February 28th, 2018

I'm a freelancer myself and I have successfully built a few websites. The first thing that you need to have is a form of guarantee from the freelancers that if something that they built and were supposed to work, do not work as expected need to be fixed.

What I normally do is give my clients 30 days with their final product and if anything is wrong with what I have developed, I fix them, no questions asked.

After those 30 days, I charge them for the fixes. This way, I ensure that I can give my client a proper service after delivering the product and also ensure that after 30 days, I'm not wasting too much time on something that should have been brought up to my attention much earlier. A form of guarantee from your freelancer is always a good thing and 30 days is plenty.

Now, if you want them to be there when something breaks, say two months down the line, get them to sign a retainer. Work out a monthly retainer with them and seal them for a few months. So for example, if they charge $50 per hour, retain them for 4 hours a month and pay them for that retainer. This amounts to $200 per month and no matter when something breaks down, they fix it and will still get paid. If there's nothing that broke down in a month and no fix was needed, they still get paid. If they have to spend more time on the fix (i.e > 4 hours), they bull you the additional hours.

On a final note, always try to the original freelancers. Hiring someone else will require them to go through the codebase and understand how things work. The original developers will already know the code inside out, so it will be much easier and quicker for them to fix issues that arise and also add more in the future.

Suren Konathala Simplifying technology adoption for businesses, Writer, Blogger, Speaker, Entrepreneur

February 28th, 2018

1. Make sure you do the testing thoroughly.

2. When you say break, are you expecting lots of hits to the site that may bring down the sever? Or functionality?

You can do load testing your site pretty easily and there are several sites that you can use to do this.

3. Generally when developers build something, that guarantee that things will work and you can just tell them. “If some key feature or functionality breaks after the site is live, you’ll have to fix it“, and I’m sure they will not say no.

4. Then tell them you’ll hire them to maintain your site from Month 2, and ask them to quote a price and you negotiate. Engage them for atleast 3-6 mons depending on your site usage.