Tips for a freelance developer – how to ensure your customer is happy and keeps coming back for more

freelancing tipsFreelance developers are witnessing a glorious time. The mobile app market is growing at a furious pace creating tremendous opportunities, both for developers and for those with the big ideas. In this scenario it is possible that freelance developers forget the basics of fruitfully engaging their clients and keeping them happy. Here are a few ways in which freelancers can handle projects effectively and efficiently.

Managing expectations

This is perhaps the most important aspect of any freelance assignment. Clients come from different backgrounds and have varying degree of expectations. Some don’t even have a clue as to what they really want, while others peg their demands way too high. For a freelance developer it’s tempting to go along with the client requirements howsoever vague and diffused they may appear to be, in the hope that things will clear up at a later date. This is a huge mistake. You must manage expectations right from the beginning and set practical goals. The end result or product must be realizable and the initial roadmap must be as detailed as possible.

Cost consideration

Most of the projects which freelance developers are asked to handle have severe cost implications. The clients or customers engage a freelancer with the presumption that they would have to pay next to nothing, which is preposterous as far as freelancer is concerned. At the same time the primary reason for a freelance developer to exist is the budget. Developers have to find a balance between cost and services he plans to render. A detailed breakdown of workload versus the time taken for development must be submitted to prospective customers for appreciation. Payments must be adjusted at various stages of development.

Creating a balanced contract

A contract is a written document laying down the rights and obligations of both customer and freelance developer. It should be balanced taking into consideration various issues which impact the project. One sided contacts are a recipe for disaster. Freelance developers must ensure that their contribution and responsibilities are fully recognized in the contract. A balanced contract would result in happy customers and happier developers.

Communication with client

Keeping track of projects and customer informed at all stages of project development is critical to the final outcome of the engagement. There may be several reasons why projects can get complicated. The primary reason why projects fail to reach maturity is because there is a failure or breakdown in communication. Discussing problems and progress with customers will certainly lead to better appreciation by both parties. Cost and time overruns are a reality especially when handling complex projects. Here communication skills are critical to resolve and tackle issues.

Conclusion

Freelance developers need skills other than simple coding to keep their customers happy and coming back for more. Man management and project handling abilities are necessary to successfully negotiate projects. Expectations must be realistic and properly enunciated before commencement of development work. The process must be punctuated with constant communication. In the end what matters is meeting expectations of customer.

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