Pay attention to the little things

Pay attention to the little thingsThis is particularly important to freelance web developers.

A colleague of mine is so thorough with his projects that some would call him a bit anal. But no one complains, because the work rarely ever needs to go back for a second revision. I’d like to think I’m the same. Going beyond the exact scope of a task to make sure the job is done the right way the first time. Sure, it might take a bit more time now, but it will save a lot of time down the track.

We’ve gone through quite a lot of contract web developers over the past year and the predominant reason we fire them is because of a consistent lack of attention to detail. We outsource work because we want to free up internal resources to work on more important things, but if we have to fix your mistakes all the time it’s usually just easier to do it ourselves in the first place.

It’s simple, don’t rush, think about the project as a whole, and test.

If you’re a freelance web developer contracting to web development firms, you're only worth as much as the value to provide to the company. This is usually measured in time or money savings. If you want to charge $100 / hour you need to create that much value for the company. On the other hand, if you only want to charge $25 / hour, you probably don’t have to worry about it so much. Or, looking at it from the other perspective, if you’re only willing to hire a $25 / hour contractor, don’t expect to get the same value as a $100 / hour contractor.


Why is "attention to detail" such a rare commodity these days?

For a business relationship to be sustainable, value added has to be greater than the cost. Unfortunately, MOST contractors I have dealt with don't get they either have an inflated sense of entitlement based on their perception of the value being added, OR they do a slap-dash job because they're "only charging $25/hr".

I believe it is actually very easy as a contractor to build up a nice, stable income by simply focusing on attention to detail, using your head to solve problems that you were not specifically asked to solve, and gently building a "case" for your hourly rate to go up in line with the value being offered. But so few actually do this.

Ho hum, such is life.