How to start a company for my website and hire programmers without risk of losing my code?


I have a gaming website that is making me around 3000 Euros monthly. I see great potential to expand this website but it's not a 1 person job and I need to hire a programmer to help me speed up the progress.

I have some savings and I can register a company and rent an office, but how can I trust someone and let them work on the website for me? They will need to see all the code to work on it.

Getting Started Outsourcing Hire

asked Jan 3 '13 at 00:32
Sina Balochi
56 points

3 Answers


I do work for a $1B company whose strength and differentiator from competitors is the "source code". In theory, I can copy the source code onto a disk on key and walk away.

Any programmer you'll work with will have the same potential. So? what's the logical solution? be a 1-man company forever?

You may find out that living in fear and suspicion will be bad for business as you'll always be the only employee, working for yourself, won't be able to scale or grow your company.

There are agreements and lawyers in the world. This is your safety net. Use it and start trusting people. The scumbags who will try to steal from you are a small rare minority. Most people are honest.

I encountered a case in a company I worked for 12 years ago of sales people who left the company, joined up with a competitor after stealing our leads database. As soon as we got word of it we took them to court -- in a matter of weeks we had an injunction order against them and they disbanded like leaves in the wind.

I am pretty sure a lawyer can pursue anyone who steals from you and sets up a competitor based on your hard work.

Without trust you'll never grow. Why live in fear and suspicion?

answered Jan 3 '13 at 02:31
Ron M.
4,224 points
  • I'd also suggest trying to find someone locally as opposed to in a random offshoring country. It puts the person under the same legal system *and* it really is a small world in tech.. – Casey Software 9 years ago


How do banks trust their employees not to just walk out with wads of cash? It is down to you to interview potential employees and judge whether they are people that you can trust with your code base.

I don't know the concept of your site, but is it not easily replicated without even needing to see the source code? It likely is, meaning you shouldn't be so worried about employees using your code.

You could also put a non-compete clause in the contract of employment you create for any employee's, preventing them from creating any kind of business within the same niche for an agreed upon period of time.

answered Jan 3 '13 at 01:46
557 points
  • To add to the answer, use hosted source control system (github, TFS etc.) so that you have control over each and every aspect of your source code. – Pradeep 9 years ago


Mirroring some of the sentiment from the other answers; you need to enforce this contractually.

This means putting agreements in place, being prepared to follow through and enforce those should the need arise.

Be proactive in how you prepare for enforcing your agreements, this will make enforcement easier, act as a deterrent, help vet contractors/staff in the first place. Bad news is you'll probably still have to pay a lawyer to help set this up but it would be investment over reactive.

Some concrete steps to consider:

  • think of your source code as an.embodiment of your IP rather than just code:
  • protect it by ensuring you have broad IP assignment clauses in your contracts
  • consider a IP/source code deposit at the point of hiring someone, which essentially registers an audit copy with a 3rd party like a lawyer. You can prove what you owned at the outset.
  • use a distributed version control system like github or bitbucket, which provide excellent audit trails and pull regular audit snapshots into somewhere secure or into your IP deposit
  • hire someone in your own country where using the courts will be easier and cheaper.
  • if you are setting up an office then these things are made easier as you can identify company equipment, and have a bit more control over where work is done.
  • however, for a team of 2 you may consider forgoing the office and work remotely with someone, probably on their own equipment, in which case look at agreement clauses that give you the right to audit (including search) them on termination. (yup I've seen and signed clauses like that in the past)
answered Jan 4 '13 at 07:10
1 point

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Getting Started Outsourcing Hire