As a freelance web developer/web designer and someone who has also hired freelancers, I’ve seen the objective from both sides.
1. Determine the project.
A web project may arise from a need to accomplish a specific web related goal and either you do not have the skills and experience or simply the time to create (e.g. new website).
2. Determine the scope.
Every detail does not have to be determined in order to initiate a web project with a freelancer, but a basic outline of completion time, what you want the project to accomplish, and how it should be presented and function should be in place.
With an example of a new website: you could decide that you would like to finish the site within 1-3 months, have a goal to provide accessible information about your business and perhaps encourage further interaction twards a sale. Additionally let’s say that you want the site to look professional and easy to use.
3. Determine a budget.
Research both the standard costs for your project and what you can afford.
Continuing with the example of a website: You may discover that a web design firm can charge a minimum of $5000-10000 for a new website and can easily go beyond that price depending on the desired content and functionality. Let’s say the website you are trying to create is relatively basic and mostly informative and you can afford approx. $4000.
Typically a freelance web developer is more affordable, but the pricing may be less standardized and can range anywhere from $250-10000 for a basic website. Usually if a price is quoted low than the completed project will reflect it, and you will get what you pay for. A professional freelance web developer/designer should have pricing near or the same as web design firms. However a freelancer may be more flexible and would most likely accept a cost of $4000 for new (basic) website.
4. Setup of the basic necessities.
This involves moving somewhat past the planning stage and initiating the first steps of the project development itself.
For a new website: You could obtain the fundamental elements of a site which is simply the domain and web hosting. To make things go smoother you have the necessary authentication (usernames, passwords) readily available to send to the freelancer to begin accessing and editing files.
One step further you could take would be to setup a CMS (such as WordPress) and obtain a theme to help solidify the look and feel.
5. Determine a trial project (in addition to the main project).
A trial project should consist of a small section of the main project (such as one page of a website). This establishes an understanding of what the freelancer can accomplish and clears up some uncertainties. It also informs you on the process and ease of communicating a project (albeit a small one). A capable freelancer should be time efficient and ask an appropriate amount of pertinent questions.
6. Reach out to freelancers.
There are many channels to obtain a freelancer and will be dictated by your budget and desire of engagement. For example a free and easy way to connect with a freelance would be via craigslist. Many businesses large and small utilize craigslist because of those factors. Scouting local freelancers via linkedin may be a viable solution. You could attempt to procure a freelancer via a freelance portal such as freelancer.com or upwork.com. Another option could be to contact and associate with an agency. My personal experience with hiring and trying to be hired via many platforms has mostly been directed to a local connection and cost of procurement. The two outstanding sources have been craigslist and linkedin for their ease of finding and connecting with local talent at little to no cost.
7. Determine a good, capable fit.
Utilize the trial project determined in step 5.
The freelance developer or designer should not only be capable of completing your project but should be able to “get along” with you. You do not have to seek out a new best friend, but the individual should be able to collaborate in a positive and professional manner.
8. Create a signed agreement.
Setting out an agreement creates a mutual understanding of essentially two main components:
- Project (description)
Additional details such as payment dates, completion time, etc. can be included and the more agreed upon the better. What this reduces and potentially eliminates is future arguments (about the project). This should be a signed agreement (by both parties).
9. Initiate the (main) project.
Now that you have “tested” the freelancer via a trial project and have established a signed agreement you should be able to move on to the main project. This is where the main project assets and possibly authentication (usernames, passwords) can be sent to the freelancer. Additionally a “to do list” should also be delivered.
10. Follow through on the agreement.
The final step is to ensure that not only the freelancer follows through on the agreement but you as the project manager also follow through on providing the copy, sending feedback, delivering compensation, etc. all in a timely manner.
Note: If this interests you as someone who needs web design and/or development work done you can contact me directly: