India's Sun Softwares does graphic design and web development. It started with one person in 2003 and now employs 20. Owner and CEO Tarun Verma credits a lot of that growth to oDesk. Sun signed up as an oDesk provider in July 2006, but Verma says his company didn't start using oDesk effectively until the following January. Today, about 60 percent of Sun Softwares' work comes via oDesk buyers.
Q: It's important for a provider to find a client he or she can work well with. Besides looking for a project that fits Sun Softwares' expertise, what do you look for when you see a job post?
A: We try to look for projects that are required to be built from scratch using the latest technology, and we look at the client's comments in the job postings. At times we see some harsh comments in the job post, and we tend to ignore those posts, as there are high chances of project failure due to the client's attitude. Some job posts call only for bug fixing--we ignore them, as it's difficult to take those projects to completion which are already in some kind of mess. We pursue the full projects and the projects with complete specifications. The projects which are posted with complete specifications show that the buyer is really keen and would be very good to work with, as the scope has been clearly defined.
Q: When you interview with a first-time client, how do you make sure you're understanding the project requirements and the buyer's needs?
A: We try to get detailed specifications from the buyer, URLs of example websites, wire diagrams of screens, expected time for completion, expected budget. If the client does not provide the complete details, then we build a prototype to make sure we are trying to do what client wants. It's very important to get the complete picture that is in a customer's mind to make sure the project gets to completion in time.
Q: How would you advise a new buyer who asked you how to find the best providers when several applicants may have good basic feedback scores?
A: My advice would be to look closely at the portfolio links, expertise of providers, other experiences and history on oDesk, rating and comments of buyers. Buyers can choose the best providers by looking for well-laid out profiles, a good history at oDesk, and good ratings and comments from past buyers.
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