which technology or strategy a new / inexperienced freelancer should use to earn profit?


Actually I m fresh recent grad who has just started his freelancing work. In due course i have got a project to develop website for a middle scale business (travel agent). As I don't trust on my client whether he will pay to me in full or not after the completion of website, i want to use cheaper and efficient technology so that how much he would pay I could got at least few units of % of profit.

As i have learnt ASP.NET and when I inquired about the expense in Hosting of my website i got the recommendation to develop my web app using the combination PHP and MYSQL instead the asp.net + ms sql. And the problem is I don't know PHP.

should I learn PHP and or work in what i m comfortable with and should try to cover whole deserved money. (as it is my first project so i m also advised that i may got some loss in starting but contrary to this i don't want to go in loss and want to earn appropriate profit)

I asked this question on the webmaster section but unfortunately i didn't which type of question i can ask or where anyway as i have got the suggestion to ask this question in this forum. so i hope i ll get an appropriate answer here of my problem.

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asked Nov 20 '11 at 05:53
9 points
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  • You need to find clients you trust or not be so paranoid - the problem is not your technology - the problem is who you accept as clients and how you get paid. – Tim J 12 years ago
  • @Tim: actually i hardly trust some one and in case of money i never trust even on my brother. But acco to some strategies defined below i could make some money with more trust. I liked all those valuable suggestions made in regards with this issue. Thanks!! – W3softdev 12 years ago

3 Answers


PhilipK is right: I've been taken for a ride, I've lost $2000. So now here's how I do:

  • rule #1: never ever ever trust clients. Nowadays, money is often more important than anything else. So be warned: many clients may try every possible things to see how far then can get with you for free.
  • Now as for the contract: 30% of the total cost first. Don't worry: if the client doesn't want to pay, find another one. If you're good, or if you believe in you, you will always do the job and find a client that is willing to pay. Don't hesitate with small jobs.
  • then define 7 steps: and 10% / each step; maybe you could change (that's what I usually do actually) 2 steps: 35% first, 35% for the last one (where you give your source code)).
  • the only hard stuff is planning: just imagine how long it will take to make that, then multiply by two and you may be close to the reality. No kidding at all.

Once again: whether you're a beginner or not, just think that you're always worth something. ;)

To add one thing (after your comment): I was thinking like you a few years ago i.e.: "if I've lost some money (or if I'm underpaid) that's not a problem, because my work isn't that good". Here's what happened: you've learned a lot between the start and the finish.

So now that you've learned a lot, you find your work to be not as good as it could be, and you feel guilty about that. You are wrong. In computing (maybe everywhere else (including relationships)) you always learn a lot and if you look back you will always think your work isn't very good because now you can do better.

Knowing that, keep in mind:

  • your work is always worth something event though it's not the best you can do;
  • you always have to be paid for a work. Period.
answered Nov 20 '11 at 07:25
Olivier Pons
144 points
  • actually i have also lost some more precious money but i did not give it much preference cuz i earned some experience but for now, i want to ensure that that incident should not be get repeated. – W3softdev 12 years ago
  • You didn't check any answer =) – Olivier Pons 12 years ago


First off, I like PHP & MySQL. However I think you should work with what you already know.

In my experience the best strategy's in your situation are...

  1. Get a down payment, some % of the total cost you will be paid. Then show the client the completed work and get the rest of what your owed before handing over the code.
  2. If the first option is not possible, work on the project but always have a back-up plan of what you will do if you do not get paid. I always keep back-end entrances on my site which allow only myself to enter a clients site. If they were to rip me off I would be able to take down the website. If you don't want to invest in making a program or script to do something like that, simply with hold the code until you get paid.
answered Nov 20 '11 at 06:50
Philip K
166 points
  • "back door" sounds like a lawsuit waiting to take everything you own. Business vs a freelancer... good luck. – Werner Cd 12 years ago
  • @WernerCD: well if you don't mind could you please explain this "back door" strategy, however i think signing an legal contract could also be useful. am i right? – W3softdev 12 years ago
  • "back-end entrances" (PhilipK's term) would imply, in my opinion, some sort of secret log-on or access into the "customers" system. They don't pay, you do "something" to their website. From a simple "disabling" or "deleting" what they didn't pay for, to more nefarious responses. Signing a contract that says "code is mine until you payment is received in full" is different than being allowed to install a backdoor, and using it. if you were to install, and then use, a secret door to trash a "customers" system, you would be fucked legally and I personally would have no pity for you. – Werner Cd 12 years ago
  • I think your over-reacting @WernerCD. It would be one thing to say forward a client's users to say a porn site, but to simply delete the website you created because they didn't pay. If a company is too cheap to pay the programer, I doubt they'll fork out the cash for a law suit in a case they might not even win(considering hypothetically they didn't pay). If your working for Fortune 500, then the back-end method might get you in trouble. But If your working with small business like myself it can be the easiest method of payment enforcement. – Philip K 12 years ago
  • If your dealing with a one-person company or a fortune 500 company, and you install a back door, you are at risk of a lawsuit. Just like anything else, it's a gamble of whether or not they'll sue you, but you ARE leaving that door open. I'm not trying to take a moral stance about it being right or wrong, just saying that installing, much less using, a back door is a bad move and asking for trouble. Best to protect your assets by not handing over source code until paid and not risk lawsuits, or your reputation. Much better options out there. – Werner Cd 12 years ago
  • i have one more doubt in regards with to take code back after publishing the web as there may be an issue that my work couldn't be able to get count by other customers which i could get by my work done. But it could be right to close web for few hours. thanks!! – W3softdev 12 years ago


Good comments thus far. If you are looking to learn a new technology for the web I would suggest Ruby on Rails versus PHP. I started with ASP, then did PHP, then ASP .NET and am now doing Rails and it is amazing. Also tutorials online and books you can follow to get started with it pretty quick.

Other suggestions:

  • Collect an initial payment up front
  • Deploy to a development server that only you have access to. They can test it but not 'steal' it or take it without your approval
  • When they eventually want to go live and launch then make sure they are paid up before hand -It sounds like you are pretty new to web development, so there is also some risk on your client's end that you might not be successful with the application. You should also consider that possibility.
  • You should draft at least a basic contract / agreement of expectations of features, deliverables and payment.
Final tip. If you don't trust them don't do business with them. Why would you want to?
Always trust your gut, it is usually right.
answered Nov 20 '11 at 11:31
Ryan Doom
5,472 points
  • thank you so much for yur valuable suggestions :) – W3softdev 12 years ago

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