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Is getting "ripped off" by a programmer likely?

This article at Entrepreneur.com offers tips to avoid getting "ripped off" by a freelance developer. While I find the term "ripped off" offensive, I think it is certainly true that it is possible to hire someone who does not fulfill their obligations to you as a customer. But is this likely?

If you are new to hiring a programmer and have little programming experience, it is definitely a possibility that the project will go badly. Some of that may be the programmer's fault - they may not listen carefully enough to your requirements or they may make poor implementation decisions. However, good software development projects require a partnership between the customer and the developer. A project can also go badly if you do not clearly identify your requirements and priorities, or if you have unrealistic expectations about how much effort is involved in building your application. You need to respond in a timely fashion to questions, and understand that constant changes midstream will have a negative impact on the effort and cost involved. 

Bottom line: both sides in the customer / freelance programmer relationship need to treat the other respectfully and professionally, not as if they are a bad actor trying to steal from them. That approach will doom the project to failure.

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As someone with over 20 years of software development experience and currently a small business owner, it has been a pleasure working with Avonelle. In addition to being a talented developer, Avonelle also has database expertise and system design skills. Avonelle is open minded and willing to discuss various methodologies for achieving a project goal. She is also not afraid to ask questions which is vital in a software development project. Her up-front project cost (not estimate) is very helpful in budgeting for a project.

--Dwayne Wolterstorff, Owner @ Fair