Several recent mini-projects that have come my way through referrals who see my About page or seeing my profile listed on a recommended list have come to the same conclusion and they’ve asked for a call to verify their initial impression.
Are you trustworthy?
Each person wants to confirm my claims of keeping clients, preferring long-term relationships with clients, and giving a straight answer. Do you make any claims about yourself or your services on any open channels? What would happen if someone tweeted the world asking what they think of your services?
Over the years I’ve been supporting people using WordPress in various roles, hardly a month goes by that someone doesn’t request help after [insert sob story here]. I’ve had claims that a developer took their money TWICE and they still didn’t get what they asked for. Sometimes it’s just been some organization that gets you to send money and shuts down communication and others are people you’d think would care about their reputation.
So before we continue, ask yourself if you are trustworthy enough for someone to send you a couple thousand dollars, do the work that’s been asked of you, do it to the best of your ability (even if that means calling the cavalry if you’re stuck), and do it in a timely manner?
It should be stated that at the time of this writing, I only know of one or two developers in my circle or whom I’ve noted from incoming projects that it was odd that so-and-so did this to the person I’m talking to. I have also been known to contact said developers to get them to come clean and do the work right or, if I know them, ask them their side of the story.
How to convey your trustworthiness
One case was a particularly jumpy client because she was the one who had been taken to the cleaners twice. Thousands of dollars gone and the site was a wreck. It’d been migrated to WordPress from Blogger and all of her SEO juice was gone. None of the permalinks were right. It wasn’t responsive because it wasn’t done in Genesis – as invoiced and discussed – and was barely “done” at all. It was more like a Blogger dump in a crap theme.
Then came the question, though it wasn’t explicitly asked because she was too polite: “The other person was a WordPress “guru” so how do I know you are who you say you are?”
That really is the question, isn’t it?
Let’s look at some clues about how you can start vetting developers you’re looking at hiring:
- When did they register their domain? If it was last month, ask them about it.
- How long have they used WordPress? How long have they been in business?
- Do they have any plugins/themes? Do they contribute to WordPress core?
- Check their social stats. Do any of them indicate a following and a real interest in WordPress and coding or just cats?
- Do they server WordPress only or are they jacks of all trades and also do Magento, SquareSpace, Drupal, Joomla, and Expression Engine? They can’t be great at all of them.
- Do they write about WordPress for the community. Blog, hello!
- Do they have any speaking experience at WordCamps or other blogging or development conferences?
- Are they listed on any recommended lists?
- Can they produce links to any sites they’ve done that look great on all devices? Look for their info in the footer or stylesheet.
If all else fails, or sometimes a first step for my extroverted friends out there, would be a call to let the voice and cadence convey your intentions and abilities. But beware! If you’re not confident on a call, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. You’d best be unavailable by voice if you don’t exude a great ability and attitude on a call.
How about it? Are you hearing more and more about shysters ripping people off or do you have some additional clues to help someone trying to feel out a developer? Comment away!
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