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The Great Disappearing Act

“Everything was going great but then he became slow to answer my requests and now he’s disappeared entirely,” the prospective client lamented. “What should I do?”

Oh – that you had called me sooner

Houdini developers are a common problem. They are easily available at first but suddenly disappear with no warning and you’re left wondering “what happened?”

Freelance developers are often poor managers of their time. They start out on your project with lots of availability but then get busy and overwhelmed. They start avoiding their inboxes when things get swamped and leave you wondering if they fell off the edge of the earth.

There isn’t a lot you can do once the developer has disappeared, except to leave threatening messages, and hire an attorney. It is much better to address this before it becomes an issue. Here are the things you should do before hiring a freelancer:

  • Set an expectation for response time. What do you think is reasonable? One business day? Two? Decide what works for you.
  • Make sure you can limit the damage if the developer disappears. How can you make sure you have the most recent version of the source code?
  • Make sure these items are part of your agreement with the developer. Decide in advance what you will do if they disappear.

There no guarantees for anything in life, but preparing yourself for this possibility will leave you in a strong position to deal with it if it happens to you.

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  1. Default 15 Apr

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