Sunday, December 17, 2006

My Freelancing Experience in RentACoder

RentACoder is one of the most popular sites on the net for freelancing seekers. Actually, I started working in RAC - AKA: RentACoder - since May, 2006. Till now, I completed nearly 12 projects with different scales. However, I see many Egyptian coders are facing problem specially in the starting phase. Some related to strategy in getting a new bid and some is not related to the Coders skills itself, it's related to their way in getting a deal.

In your starting phase, always remember that you haven't anything to encourage buyers to choose you for their projects. You haven't created any projects neither been rated yet. So, my advise is to apply in many projects with a relative low cost. Don't think when you apply to a project that you will get it. It's not always guaranteed. In my starting phase in RAC, I applied for nearly 24 projects and finally get only one! The buyer needs a coder who can trust to complete the work. His trust comes - in most of the cases - from the coders rate and previous projects. But actually you haven't got that yet.

In choosing your project, try to read carefully the requirements and any attached documents with the bid request. This will help you to identify if you can do the job or not. Don't bid for thing you can't do. Bid only for projects you think you can do or even you will be able to do.

Another point here, make your bids reasonable. Fixing bugs, for example, is not like building enterprise project. Consider your bids well and put in your mind that many buyers considers many other things other than the financial cost. Buyers not always choose the lower bid!

After you finished your first project, put in your consideration the next cost of your project. For example, if your first project was $100 cost, your next one shouldn't be less than that. Try to invest your experience.

During the development, try always to know your buyer characteristics. Some buyers need daily reports about your work, other not. Formulate your behavior depending on the buyers characteristics. This sure will affect your rating and your client satisfaction.

Try to gain the buyer loyalty. Buyers tends to use coders who gives them the best service. Try to build a good relationships with your buyers. This sometimes needs you to be more flexible in your dealing.

Now you have collected a reasonable amount of money, and you need to get the cash. RentACoder gives you 3 choices for the payment. Two of them are suitable for Egyptian coders. The first one (the cheapest) is receiving a check by mail with the specified money. The problem here is that the check is issued from "Bank of America", which has no branches here in Egypt. You will have to go to your international bank to transfer the fund to your bank account. This will take nearly 30 days.

The other choice (the expensive one) is to get the money through Western Union. This is a money transfer company which have many branches in the world and in Egypt as well. RentACoder will send you the money to Western Union, and you get paid from any Western Union branch here in Egypt. Western Union takes a percentage from the money transferred. But the good news here is that you got the money (in dollars) within the same day (or next day maximum) of sending.

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Anonymous said...

Mohamed ;
What is your RAC ID ?

Anonymous said...

Hi Mohamed,
Which one you prefer to transefer you money wetern or check?
And How much western fees (10%,20%,...) ?

Anonymous said...

Thank You very much Mr. Nour, it was very helpful :)

Mohammad Nour said...

For fast payment, Western is the choice. Western takes nearly 10% of of the money transfered to Egypt. It depends on your address/country. You can calculate it here:

Mohammed Hossam said...

Nice hints Nour, Good luck

Ian Ippolito said...


This is a very informative article and should be helpful to many people.

One other tip for your readers: When bidding, it's important to NOT just place a generic bid. When a buyer sees that, they think that you don't care about the project and will often ignore it. It's important to show that you are interested in the project by asking intelligent questions about it. That makes your bid stand out.

In fact, the person who wrote the below article (who won a bid on his 1st day on RAC, and several in his first week) thinks it's bad to place a $amount in your first bid...and that you should instead be focused solely on asking questions and understanding the project:

Anyway, continued success to you Mohamed.

Ian Ippolito
Rent a Coder

Anonymous said...

really a nice article mohammed, keep going :)

Mousa Abulfatth said...

Thank You Mohammad for this great, helpful, and informative article.

You covered all the sides very clearly, left nothing to ask about! again, Thanks a million.

Wish you a continuing success.

s-poland said...

This is my first comment on RAC actually. I have been working there for 2 years now, bidding on "high paid" (above avg) projects.

I disagree with some points brought up by the author.

First: you should never bid on low paid projects. On RAC there is no problem to get high paid project with even no rating (read on).

From my experience i know that people that pay very little are most demanding and most "unhappy" customers, requiring you to do thousand things that were not included in the initial bid spec.

BUT: most (not all!) of the RAC's coders are lame uneducated noobs looking for "first rating" that are trying to do "ebay" or "youtube" clones for 50$ posted by another lame and greedy buyers that think "youtube looks simple". They have of course no idea how to code that ("youtube is free so i could get it written for $50, right?").

Its really a shame that someone is taking projects like:
For $700 when single license for phplivesupport is $100 and the project (if written well) can be completed in 6m-1year by experienced coder.

When competition is soo poor you can sound professional by even mentioning some text from bid request. I easily get $500 project @ start making only 3 bids! NOT quantity - QUALITY counts.

@Ian: I agree that generic bids are just plain bad (it tells the customer that you have noting to say about the project or time to read REQ's / you eventually won't be able to finish it anyway).

BUT: Placing a bid amount is A MUST on your site. Want to know why? Because of noobs that want thier job to get done for $1/hour (or less).

Taking a week project to get 30$, then give 15% to RAC and dont even be able to get the money (Western Union is sooo expensive). Just to get a rating. That's just insulting. I bet you understand me here.

I live in Poland, costs of living here are VERY LOW. Even taking that into account i couldnt earn a LOWEST COUNTRY WAGE sitting on your site and professionally doing IT work (it BTW takes much time, dedication and skill - i have 9.9 rating on 40 projects!). I could earn more as a street seller of hot-dogs.

Why im still on RAC you ask? Because of 1/100 projects posted by honest people that want to give little but at least FAIR money for my hard work. They in return receive well tested, well written, stable and extensible code. What can be done for $1/hr? You can skip all testing, write some unstable, unmaintainable sh*t and still get eg. $8/hr.

Then you see all those "(repost)(repost)(repost)(repost)", "90% finished", "fix it, almost done" bids for humorous $$. I firstly considered bids like that but now AVOID THEM AT ALL COSTS. I just saw some "90% done code" that people write on RAC. Hint: "search engine" with "one database table and working form to enter queries" working isnt anything near 90% completed.

What is my overal experience @ RAC? Very good. Im doing ~1 project / month. WAITING for someone to post something thats even WORTH READING.

RAC can't be considered anything near "full time job", "stable job", "fair paid job", etc. 99% of bids is by people that want thier projects done for 1-2$/hour. Professionally. They also want things not included in SPEC completely for free (0$/hr).

RAC is a great place to come 2 times a day for 5 minutes, look for some SERIOUS clients, then make FAIR ($10-$20/hr) bid (as you must moderate costs of RAC fee and enormous costs of getting your money by WU).

For the very hostile (towrards RAC) comments that can be found elsewhere:
- "slave labour"
- "silly coders"
- "waste of time"
I totally dont understand people that wrote this. First: You can find some fair paid job there - 1/100 bids as i mentoned. Second: If a buyer is trying to get a project done and he's choosing cheapest coder for $1/hr and then he whine about all coders on RAC being a bunch of script kiddies and code stealers... well the buyer being idiot is the problem.

Last word for Ian: you should consider setting lowest bid request amount to $10. I think i must not explain why.

Second: Please consider telling coders that making things that hasn't been mentioned on SPEC can get them better ranking (its written in coder help materials) as encouraging buyers to post "silly" spec and then wanting coders to work for free.

Mohammad Nour said...

Thanks, really nice hints, s-poland!

Anonymous said...

WOW! Ian Ippolito (The owner of RAC) is posting a comment here !

Well i hate that PayPal choice isn't in Egypt and i hope they list Egypt in their countries list! that would be the cheapest way to get our money.

Also the Buyer's TRUST in you is very important, i even got paid for some work that i didn't complete yet because of that "trust".

Finally there's nothing that says "Egyptian developers aren't good", just see RAC statistics about coders from Egypt completing jobs.

(Egypt is from top 10 coder countries )

I'm Egyptian second year student at Facutly of computer science (Ainshams), i have been working on RAC for about 4 months and i'm a Top Coder there.

Mohammad Nour said...

I didn't say that "Egyptian developers aren't good". I am Egyptian in first place. All what I mean is that we're still not compared to many other countries in development.

Also the statistics you sent changes every month and it's related to RAC criterias. You can't use it as a measure for the software industry in the world.

kamen said...

With serious projects rentacoder staff is INCREDIBLY STUPID and they are proficient to blame someone else
They lie even with the slogan of the site
Perfect examples at said...

The famous insulter "kamen123" has been banned from RentACoder.

“kamen123” spoil perfect site in revenge.

kamen said...

Mental abilities of Sergey/TakeReal do not allow him to understand that I’m right and rentacoder staff is paying him to bark in silly attempts to hide the truth

It is fair to warn everyone about the pitfalls with rentacoder said...

Kamen's "mental abilities" don't allow him to work:

he hasn’t any completed projects at all.

Kamen, please, help yourself to find your 1st real job, rather than pollute Internet with new examples of you morbid imagination.

kamen said...

Sergey you are excellent example of the way of working with rentacoder staff

I have PERFECT evidences that I’m right but your mental abilities do not allow you to understand
And you try to hide the facts with barking and silly statements

The same is rac staff: they are not able of understanding the PERFECT documentation of ASP/IIS and they think that Microsoft are responsible. Also rac staff think that I’m responsible for their incredible stupidity

Yes I have years international experience outside rentacoder. Yes I can show you projects. But actually you need brain in your head. Only with more brain you can understand me. You are making patches and you call them projects in attempts to hide that your mental abilities do not allow you to make projects. So please do not speak about projects because you do not have such experience. You have 0 projects in your experience

Your behaviour is obvious. You are excellent source of fun. Your stupidity is obvious. Your barking is endless. But barking can not change facts. You silly excuses and lies do not matter.

It is time the dummies in rac staff to deeply regret their incredible stupidity

:-) said...

I ask you many times: Please, show projects(links), completed by you.
You still can't show anything, but insults.
Fairy tales about your "experience" is fun for me.

Please, help yourself to find your 1st real job.

I hope your dole is good.
$100/montly is OK for Bulgaria

kamen said...

Sergey I sent to you several projects by emails.

Your behaviour is obvious. You are excellent source of fun. Your stupidity is obvious. Your barking is endless. But barking can not change facts. You silly excuses and lies do not matter.

Just go to bark at rentacoder said...

Kamen, you didn't send me anything, because you haven't any completed projects.
When you complete your 1st project - please, send link to this project HERE.

You lie is PUBLIC and link to your 1st completed project should be PUBLIC too.

Have a nice dole!

kamen said...

Sergey your stupidity is incredible. I sent to you several links by email. Again you do not understand obvious facts

In order to understand better please contact me. I'll help you to find real job with real company. And you will see projects completed by me.

How much do pay you the dummies in rac staff to bark?


kamen said...

Sergey perfect link for you

TASK TITLE: outline major mistakes of rentacoder staff during years
ACHIEVED GOAL: created perfect evidence
EVIDENCE OF: the dummies in rentacoder staff do not understand more than several words plain English and they are proficient to blame someone else
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: the dummies in rentacoder staff can not understand the PERFECT documentation of IIS/ASP during years. And they blame Microsoft. But the real problem is the endless stupidity of rentacoder staff
SIDE EFFECT: this task proves that I have much more skills and experience than the liars in rentacoder staff
RECOMMENDATION: if someone tries to make serious project he will stumble in the incredible stupidity of rac staff. People interested to make serious projects have to go far away from rentacoder.

Sergey I can show you many other completed tasks not related to rentacoder. But there is no reason to involve third parties in your barking. Please contact me to help you find real company and real job and you will see projects completed by me. You are on age when is time for you to have serious job. Earning with barking and lies is not suitable for your age said...

Kamen, you didn't send me anything, because you haven't any completed projects. No links, no executables, nothing, 0, ZERO.

Your lie is public, I don't want any private contacts.

Please, help yourself to find your 1st real job.
Or - have a nice dole! :-)

kamen said...

Sergey actually there is nothing in your head, you need brain but your head is empty
Sorry but there is no way to explain anything to people like you
If some day you start thinking you will see that there is more than enough to prove that I'm right

You follow the pattern of rentacoder staff:
Rentacoder staff think that Microsoft are responsible for their stupidity.
You think that I'm responsible for your stupidity.
You and rentacoder staff are proving your opinion with silly barking.

You and rentacoder staff are excellent source of fun

happy barking and have a nice dole, you do not deserve more

:-) said...

"dole" is your own personal choice.
I prefer $20/hour
I have:
909 projects completed via RentACoder
115 projects completed via GetAFreelancer
35 projects completed via Scriptlance
My link

Kamen, help yourself to find your 1st real job.

Ty said...

I'm a freelancer with lots of online experience and I always welcome online work. I've tried both RAC and Odesk but I've never got work on Odesk yet. RAC is definintely has ups and downs but you can find projects there with a lot of patience.


kamen said...

Sergey I know that your primary skill is silly barking. But please try to read and understand the obvious facts that I posted above
Sergey actually only you and rentacoder staff are on the dole. Because you make only patches, barking and lies and you do not deserve more. Sergey please do not spam with your silly barking. Please spend your time studying the text.:-) said...

Please, send link to your 1st completed project.
Oh, I am sorry, I haven't _any_.
Please, help yourself to find your 1st real job.
Have a nice dole, meanwhile.

kamen said...

Sergey please note that when you show 1000 patches this does NOT mean that you have experience with projects
You are just famous patcher because your mental abilities do not allow you to make more than patches(for several dollars)
You are hired by the dummies in rentacoder staff
And they pay you to bark in silly attempts to hide the truth about the incredible stupidity and lies of rentacoder staff
Sergey, you and rentacoder staff are excellent source of fun with your silly barking
:-) said...

Please, note: you still can't earn even $1 :-)))
Please, help yourself to find your 1st real job.
Have a nice dole, meanwhile.

Mohammad Nour said...

I would appreciate if we stop insulting each others this way. I am sorry for that but I won't allow these kind of comments anymore.

bastian said...

its encouraging.....really good.i would like to know more..

Anonymous said...

Nice article & nice to know that there do exist examples like you.

so why didn't you think in building a complete applications and selling them online . so instead of earning once you get a recurring profit ?

btw i am Egyptian and the owner of this website

Mohammad Nour said...

Thanks a lot! For creating a product and selling it online, this is actually in my plan. But still not applied yet.

Anonymous said...

Mohammed -

Thank you for your comments. They were very useful.

Do you have any experience with or They are similar to RAC.

Mohammad Nour said...

No, I didn't have the chance to make projects there. But I hear about Guru and I know people getting work from it.

T. Hill said...

The way I understand it, RentACoder is very useful for supplementing your programming work. Overseas programmers, like those in India or Egypt, seem to be able to compete for very low wages--which, of course, saves money for the businesses and entrepreneurs in need of programming.

Mohammed Nour said...

Yes, exactly. Small businesses and entrepreneurs want to compete in this harsh market. Outsourcing their work to countries like Egypt, India and Eastern Europe help them get things done in a low budget and in time. However, the output sometimes is not a high quality but again this is in most of the times acceptable comparing to the cost.