You Need How Many Hours?

One of my blogs needed a few simple changes to the WordPress theme.  The theme was already in excellent form but I wanted some basic modifications.  I’m by no means a theme designer, but I’ve hacked enough themes to know approximately how long the project would take… maybe 3 – 5 hours of work max for someone with a decent background with WordPress theme design and no more than 10 hours for someone with only a little experience.

In my previous postings on ::oDesk(“a”):: for designers and virtual assistants I had become acquainted with a few companies that manage a plethora of providers with diverse skill sets.   Each company said they would provide me with contact info for designers with WordPress experience.  After a few back and forth emails with the providers I decided to zip up the theme and email it to them along with the list the 3 simple changes I needed made.  Two different individual quoted me for outrageous amounts of time.  One guy said 40 hours and another, get this, said it would take him 3 weeks of full time work!!!

I sent each of them emails saying, “I believe there is a miscommunication here.  Do you understand this project is for edits to an EXISTING theme… not the design of a new theme from scratch?  This project shouldn’t take over 5 hours to complete.”

… I didn’t hear back from either of them.

So, I’m either totally off my rocker and am confused at how tricky it is to move a column in a WordPress theme, or I’m experiencing the problem many buyers seen in this space:   Providers come into hourly based systems (like ::oDesk(“a”)::) and quote really low hourly rates.  Unfortunately they end up taking extremely longer to complete the task and the total cost of project ends up way higher than it should have been.

So, is this happening because providers are intentionally taking advantage of the hourly system or because some low rate providers just don’t know what they are doing and therefore the project takes exponentially longer?

2 Replies to “You Need How Many Hours?”

  1. This is happening because of two reasons:

    1. The providers are not as qualified as they should be and it takes them a very long time to do the job. Example: I am an accountant, anyone can do my job (really!) but they will be sorting through books, reading tutorials, looking up data on the internet and make erroneous entries. Whereas I will click a couple of times, enter some data, save, back up, and upload and voila! I am done for the month.

    2. It is the hook and reel game. The hook you with dirt cheap prices and then reel in the money with triple charging (sometimes more) you, because they cannot live off of $4 per hour.

    My advice, check out some VA firms, test one of your “trickier” projects with them and an offshore company. You will see very clearly the price difference, time difference and quality difference.


    Heather Villa, MBA, MSM, CMA

  2. Heather, thanks for your comment… some excellent points!

    I guess this type of situation happens with many service professions.

    There is a slightly different 3rd reason: I’ve found that many excellent providers will join a system (oDesk, RentACoder, eLance, etc.) and will charge ridiculously low rates BUT will do excellent work quickly at those rates. Their reason: To get good reviews and establish a reputation on the system so they can begin to increase their rates. I’ve been fortunate to find a few of these providers and take advantage of their intro rates. In fact, some of them keep me at their lower rates because they enjoy working with me and like the work I give them.

    Sometimes though I don’t have the time to “test out” these providers and go for the more established reviewed providers which naturally are more expensive.

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