I operate a web development firm with an increasing volume of work. Rather than hire local developers as full-time employees, I've taken the approach of working with a network of remote developers who work as independent contractors. I've made contact with over a dozen developers, all of whom are well-qualified and seem enthusiastic. Here's what I do with each one:
We agree on an hourly rate which is pretty standard in the industry - not exorbitant, but most definitely not on the low side.
I let them know that they will be paid reliably each week for the work they have completed the previous week, regardless of whether the project is finished. No worries about collections or cash flow on their part. I also let them know that I can give them x number of hours of work per week on a regular basis - as few or as many hours as they want.
I prepare a packet of information on their first project. I don't mention this to them, but this first project is a test to see how reliable they are. I compile very clear documentation of requirements, a ZIP file containing all necessary files, and an indication of the expected timeframe. (never a rush job - always very reasonable turnaround expectations.)
I don't flood them with emails, because I know how hard it is to concentrate when emails are coming in every 2 minutes.
Once I send the initial project info, I get a reply back stating that the developer will start work on it the next day... Then, nothing happens. Two weeks can go by, and I hear nothing. At that point (or sometimes after one week) I email the developer to ask about the status. They promise they'll start it real soon, but never do. In the meantime, my client is fuming, and so after several weeks of nothing, I end up canning the developer and pulling an all-nighter to finish the work myself.
This same exact scenario has played out with 13 out of the last 14 developers I've tried. What am I doing wrong? What do I have to do, to get some reliable subcontracting help? Or do I really have to go through that many of them to find some good ones?