5 Simple Steps To Make Sure That Your Programmer Doesn’t Rip You Off

App programmer rip off

You might have this fear that the programmer that you’re about to hire from elance or odesk might rip you off. Or maybe the one who is working with you might rip you or your idea off. You might have taken the movie “Social Network” a little too seriously but here is the thing, it’s normal to think like that and equally important to protect yourself.

So you’ve decided to hire a programmer. This article will focus for the people thinking of getting a programmer from odesk or elance for their next app project. It can be for iOS or android. But it is applicable in other technical areas too.

So once you’ve got your project outline done, it’s time to find someone who can get it done for you.

In past 5 years I’ve developed some tech projects, built my own social network which failed, but I still believed it was probably one of the best looking social network of its time. I’ve built some tiny apps for windows and JAVA apps for some business thing required by my partners or my very own business.

For some projects, I have hired developers from odesk full time. There is this programmer I hired who worked with him for maybe around 3 months to get an app built for a client. I cannot reveal the numbers and stuff due to NDA, but I can say that app went out to be in top 10 within the 30 days of its launch. It was also approved by the app store right when we submitted it, there wasn’t any bug reported. Plus the developer was awesome from every angle, we paid him more than enough and send him additional “non-monetary” benefits as perks for a nice job done. My main objective was to hire the best programmer possible who can understand the complexity of our project, simplify it and write the code like an artist writing poem.

And he did it.

I also have some bad experiences with some coders but most of them were “agencies.”

The rule of thumb is that – never work with an agency.

There is no possible way you can get personal interaction with the same person and most of the time it’s very stressful.

It is true that I know some people who have been ripped off by their programmer. This is not very common, but still possible. Who knows?

So here are some of the ways you can make sure that you don’t get ripped off by anyone:

1. Don’t reveal your ideas about your project while posting it online.

Keep it simple. Just write down what requirements you need from a programmer. But for the love of god don’t reveal your exact ideas in your job posts. Many times the other guys who see it online, might rip you off. Some guys visit sites like odesk and elance just to steal ideas from the job posts.

2. Never say what exactly your project is.

You might not want to give exact details for the aforementioned reason. It is basically common sense but most of the time some people think that they might need to describe “exactly what they want to get done” in a job posting on odesk or elance.

Never say how you’re going to market it.

3. Get legal stuff done

If possible, apply for a patent, copyright or trademark of whatever you have. When you’re legally protected, it is hard for you to get ripped. Get a contract signed with your programmer, don’t legally scare him off. But if this is possible and “worth doing it” for your project, it is a plus. But most of the time your programmer is offshore so it’s not possible because of jurisdiction. I’m not a lawyer and this is not any legal advice in any form.

4. Get it DONE fast and keep it improving

You obviously have a good idea about your project and how it needs to be done. So you can get it done and launch it much faster than everyone else who might be potentially thinking of ripping you off. See, here is the thing: your programmer is NOT a marketer. He probably doesn’t have any intention of making a zillion dollar ripping you off. The important thing is to keep him engaged with your work, get the track of the stuff he is doing and make sure you have the source files of the code.

Another thing is that keeps your app improving via updates as much as you can. When you do it, you take an edge from anyone who is thinking of launching a similar thing in future.

5. Think 10 times before hiring, but fire fast – And TEST!

Your programmer is a significant and an important part of your team. You need to think 10 times before hiring him. Check out his past projects and ratings, reviews and number of hours. If you’re planning a very big project then test them out by giving them small complex project and see if they performs extraordinarily or not.

This is the single best technique I know when I hire someone off odesk or elance.

I try to compare them by some factors like who was more committed, more open and did the job perfectly. Who was on time and whose performance shuffled. This is a little bit expensive but I would definitely do it for a big project.

If a person is causing friction then go ahead, fire him.


If you like this, you might also enjoy a free video and a report that I have about significantly important things you that you must know before starting an app business or developing an app and protecting your app from failure.

Get the new report and video on traffic strategies for apps

Wayne Harrel is the founder of Zielix® Incubator, Hudson Lockwood Capital Partners and I Fired Wall Street trader's community. Wayne like video games, technology and is a productivity freak.

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  1. Thanks for the feedback … think 10 times before hiring.. I am. But at the moment I don’t know wether I should save me some time to do other thing or dedicate my task to someone else.

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