In this article, I will show you how to choose the best agency or freelancer to build your digital product without dealing with the fear of losing your money.
So, we have recently started working with a client from the US on his new e-commerce website. During our first meetings and when discussing an estimation, a challenge that we didn’t encounter in some time popped up. They asked me: “Since you guys are based in Europe, and I’m in the US – how can I make sure everything goes smoothly… meaning I don’t lose my money?”
It struck me that many more potential clients and partners must be settling for local development teams that they don’t have great chemistry or relationship with instead of searching for the best possible partner worldwide because of the fear of getting scammed.
Since COVID-19 showed us that companies could adapt and people can easily be productive while working from home, there is no longer an excuse to settle for local and possibly average results instead of the best possible tech partner.
Make sure they are the right one
Unless you have your product management and project management teams, your tech partner should be able to understand how their product should grow your business.
Ideally, they should invest their time into one or two discovery meetings with you to be able to build an appropriate brief. I know that the focus in the development landscape is to bill from the start and bill everything, but I still feel like giving some value before asking for money in return is the way to go. It allows the client to have a trial of what it would be like working with you. It helps them structure their project and enables you to showcase your expertise while also building trust with them.
Don’t settle for one. Ask around – have a chat about your project with multiple potential suppliers, and then decide which one you liked best.
Always do your research and ask questions
After you are comfortable with your choice, it’s time to make sure you don’t fall for the perfect scam. You can easily find their company on local business listing websites; if not, you can ask for their company details.
Ask for references from both local and international clients and any other social proof you need until you are sure that the company exists, that their team and portfolio are real, and that they can indeed build your project thoroughly.
Choose your perfect payment plan
Most IT companies will charge upfront payment. Before discussing payments and installments, make sure you sign an agreement that binds you and your tech partner to your agreed plan. The contract should include the project’s brief, timeline, billed hours, the transfer of intellectual property, and other remedies if any of the parties don’t fulfill their end of the agreement.
Coming back to the upfront payment. By this time, if everything is looking good and you signed the agreement, you should be safe. If you want another line of defense, then an escrow account should do the trick. If you want to take that route, you should choose the escrow account suppliers and pay for the extra commissions.
Another way is to pay as you go, meaning weekly invoices with short payment deadlines. In this case, you will pay every week in advance, and you will minimize the losses. If you go this route, it’s essential to stay on top of the payment plan and not cause delays since you don’t want your partners to think you are the one scamming them.
This requires a perfect tango of two variables. At the end of each week, the tech partner should provide you with proof of work in the form of an hourly work report, a new deployment on the staging server, a new document, or whatever, and you must be ready to pay for the next week after their proof of work.
I encourage you to search for your perfect tech partner, give your trust in exchange for their trust, ask as many questions until you feel comfortable, and then go on and build some awesome digital products.
If you want our input on any of your digital products, feel free to book a free strategy call with Adi, Neo Vision’s CEO.
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