Hiring cheap international techies

How does one go about finding and hiring cheap techies abroad for a one-off project? Specifically I manage a store and we’ve been using excel sheets to log orders and bills and our mailing list, but since we happen to have filemaker pro 6 installed on the computer I was thinking these sorts of things might be better kept in a simple series of linked databases. I could probably figure it out myself but I have so many other management duties that it would be a burden. And I’m thinking hiring a real business to do it would be overkill and cost prohibitive. I’ve heard of hiring cheap programmers in India (and rumors of outsourcing other tasks for people that want to retire early), I wonder if this sort of thing really exists, if there might be anyone good at FM there, and if it would be more hassle than it’s worth?

I have an excellent Czech FM developer that I use. You can PM me for details.

Hiring local students to do this is another common option. Check for a local High School or Community College that offers Computer Science courses – teachers can often recommend appropriate students. And the teachers may be real happy to provide this for their students, and might even offer extra class credit for the work.

Given the number of packages out there for this sort of thing, is there a reason you would want to go to the trouble of custom dev instead of just buying software or even downloading free software?

Don’t do this! Hire someone who will come and talk to you and see your operation to find out what you actually need rather than what you think you want. And will be there to fine-tune it.

Have you looked to see if there’s an off-the-shelf package that does all this already?

Thanks! Will do.

That’s a good idea, I’ll look into that too.

The business is unique enough (custom footwear) that I doubt there will be custom software to do exactly what we need (involves custom orders). But if you have any suggestions, I’ll look at them - even if they don’t work for the business I’m managing, it’s possible I might need something like that if I start my own business. Ultimately looking for something that can do orders with custom fields, gift certificates, multiple orders on one sale, employee scheduling and time sheets, catalog, customer and mailing list, and some light accounting. Would have to work on a mac, and would be nice if it could port to a web server eventually.

I have a pretty good idea of what we need, and the advantage of FM is that once it’s set up I should be able to tweak it myself as needed.

If you have any off the shelf suggestions I will look into them, though. I had the impression that anything remotely versatile would be cost prohibitive (at my old job the simplest just-purchasing software we could find for our needs was over $10,000). But I would certainly love to be proven wrong, it would make things easier :slight_smile:

As a software developer that has worked with overseas providers, I think one of the main glitches is design. You have to provide extraordinary design details for them to follow, and they won’t assume anything or deviate from whatever you’ve given them. That’s a good thing generally, but can be maddening when what you might think is “common knowledge” isn’t considered. It’s pretty much like writing the design for someone from Mars to follow. It’s not a knock on intelligence or ability; they simply do what they’re told, and they know nothing about your business.

Once you’ve arrived at such a detailed design, you’re already 50-70% there, so having the final stages done overseas isn’t necessarily that big of a time savings, in my experience.

I second that. If you need a custom system then defining exactly what you want it to do and testing it to make sure it works is going to be the time-consuming and expensive part. This is one of the reasons outsourced projects typically don’t result in the massive cost savings expected. Coding is only part of the cost, and not the biggest one.