How to Know When to Hire a New Web Developer
If you’ve never had to hire a new web developer, consider yourself lucky.
Few things are as frustrating as working with someone who doesn’t understand your needs or won’t deliver them, especially if you’ve spent a lot of money on a project.
Web developers have a reputation for being unreliable. Many dreams have died because someone sunk all their investment into a web developer who never finished the job.
It’s more common than you might think, which is why you should know when to call it quits and find someone else before they do too much damage.
Odds are if you’re reading this, you already know what needs to happen next. If you’re unsure though, here are a few things to consider when evaluating your relationship with your web developer.
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
It’s never fun to have to tell someone that you’re moving on, even if that someone is a business contractor.
But the same rules apply.
You may have to let them go and find someone else, but before you do, make sure you raise your concerns directly with the developer. Having a calm, level-headed conversation about what’s wrong can help them understand their own flaws so that, at the very least, they don’t make the same mistakes with someone else.
If they can’t be bothered to return your calls or schedule another service, it’s probably time to find a new web developer.
They Don’t Return Your Calls
Talk is cheap. There are countless jabbers out there who will tell you why they’re better than anybody around, but when it comes to results, they’re nowhere to be found. Maybe they got too busy, maybe they couldn’t get in touch with their business partner, or maybe they did call you back (even though there’s no record of it on your phone).
Whatever the reason, you have to be able to count on your web developer. You need to know that they value your time as much as they value your money.
Because communication is so important in web projects, there’s no excuse for not answering the phone or returning calls in a timely manner. Come on—we’re practically glued to our phones all day.
If the number of phone calls outweighs the number of meaningful conversations, hire a new web developer.
They Take Forever to Get Stuff Done
Sure, web development is no picnic. It takes time, but you understand that. You aren’t expecting them to finish a whole new page in a day, but you also expect some progress when you request a fix.
The point where it becomes a problem is when they set deadlines months out for even the simplest tasks. Changing the color of a banner or adding a new graphic isn’t something that takes weeks to complete, and if you’re paying them a monthly fee, it’s fair to expect timely changes to your site.
If you feel like you’re getting the runaround, let them know how you feel. You may be able to help them see things from your point of view. They might even shape up.
At the beginning of your project, ask for a roadmap of what your project entails along with rough dates about how long each task should take. If they can’t give you that, you should hire a new web developer.
They Aren’t Local
Sometimes, we go with the first, best option we see. If you find a web developer who suits your needs early on, it makes sense to hire them and ask questions later. Location doesn’t have to be an issue.
That is unless location becomes an issue.
Say you outsource your web development to a team in India. The price is right, the work experience seems adequate, and you like what you see.
Time differences will plague your project.
You will start work right as they’re finishing up, and asking for labor-intensive requests just before someone goes home to dinner can be less than ideal. Can you trust them to make the right decision if they can’t reach you?
Another issue with not hiring local is dealing with high-profile design studios. You may have been sold on a name, putting you in a contract with a company that has no idea who you are.
When building your dream website, it helps to bring someone on board who doesn’t see you as a number. Local web developers are more likely to have your interests at heart and deal with problems quickly.
The Price Goes Up
When your web developer’s rate increases for some reason, it might be a good time to ask if they are worth keeping around. Maybe you don’t have a problem with the rate increase, or maybe their services are just that good. Plus, it’s normal for prices to increase over time.
The problem is when you aren’t getting the services you need and the price goes up. A business transaction is a two-way street, and if you don’t feel like a valued part of their business, it might be time to take yours elsewhere.
Ask them why the price is increasing. It’s possible they raised it because they’re now offering new services, or they’ve added someone to their team who can help in new ways.
A rate increase isn’t always a problem, though it can feel frustrating. However, it is a good time to ask yourself if someone else out there wants your business more than your existing web developer does.
You Find Someone Better
You know how you ask your friends if they know a good mechanic?
Web developers are no different.
Look, it’s hard to find a business contractor you love working with. There are entire industries devoted to matching customers with qualified contractors because it’s such a painstaking process that costs a lot of money.
If you find someone you just jive with, make the switch. This goes back to that “breaking up is hard to do” thing—no one wants to say goodbye, but finding a better web developer is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up.
Help out your current web developer by telling them why you’re choosing a new contractor. They may not like the news, but at least they’ll have an idea of what they can do better so they don’t lose more business to whomever you choose.
Your Web Developer Doesn’t Do Apps
The internet is a beast that never sleeps. If your website is to continue showing up in search results, you have to keep trying new things. There is no strategy that works forever, as nice as your website might look right now.
You need to work with a developer who can plan for the future of technology. Right now, that means building apps as your business grows.
Over 40% of small businesses now have their own mobile apps! You may not see a need for one now, but it wise to consider how you could use one in the future. Who knows? Maybe you’ll come up with the next popular app and retire early.
Modern web developers have to incorporate advancing tech into their marketing plans. Your web developer should help you brainstorm ways to introduce your business to the app market and succeed. If they don’t, you may want to hire a new web developer.
Your Needs Have Changed
After a few years, it’s natural to want to explore your web developer options. After all, they spend a lot of money on advertising just to get you to ask if it’s time to make a switch.
Companies like Clutch make it easy to scan the options of available web developers. Before you make any decisions about what to do next with your web developer, take a look at some sites you like and share notes about how to apply some of their stylings to your own.
If your web developer is willing to make changes, you may not even have to find a new one!
Be Candid with Your Web Developer
Contractors and freelancers may not always be the easiest to talk to, but the consequences of not communicating are severe.
Don’t be afraid to have a conversation about what needs to change in your business relationship. It’s helpful for both you and your web developer to know what’s missing from their work.
Plus, if you can work through a problem, your relationship with them will be stronger, leading to new inspiration and more fruitful projects in the future.
You’re paying the bill. It’s okay to tell them you’d like things to change. If they can’t—or won’t—make the changes, start looking for a new web developer.
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David is the Co-founder and CEO of Goji Labs. David loves working closely with passionate founders to understand their vision and help them build beautiful applications while focusing on risk-mitigation. As an author, he focuses on informative and educational blogs that enable our clients to make the most of their businesses.