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I would like to make a website that has a lot of the same features and functionality of www.quibids.com. I need user accounts, payment processing, various products that will have a timer, packages of "bids" for a price, and I will also need a custom flash interface application that records data based on user input and a CMS system so I can update the products on a daily basis.

FYI this has nothing to do with auctions quibids is just a good indication of what I need. I'm trying to create the website as cheaply as possible, but at the same time, I want the end result to have a high end professional appeal (like quibids does in my mind).

I plan to get the front end via www.99designs.com (any better recommendations?) which is where quibids got theirs.

I have received some quotes to build out the rest, but they range from 30K to 150K (in the US). I stumbled upon freelancer.com and found some people who I think can get most, if not all, of the work I need done at a much cheaper price. So here are my questions:

  1. Am I off base or am I approaching this correctly?
  2. Where can I find someone locally (in the US) who would have knowledge of everything I'm trying to accomplish that could check the work that someone is doing on freelancer to ensure it's quality? I can see that it looks and works, but I don't know the interworkings of complex web design.
  3. How much do you believe I should be spending on a website described above?
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....lolz, good luck with your future ball of mud! – Mark Rogers Jun 14 '11 at 1:09

"1. Am I off base or am I approaching this correctly?"

I'd suggest that you're off base. Your current process:

  1. Make a huge feature list that results in a complex site build.
  2. Find someone to build everything as cheaply as possible.

A better process would be this:

  1. Set a budget based on what you can afford to pay.
  2. Ask several developers what features you can have for that amount of money.
  3. Be prepared to accept that their answer will mean scaling back on your vision.
  4. Tell your designers to create a template based only on the launch features.
  5. Hand the design to the developers to build those features.
  6. Launch the site.
  7. Add other features later based on testing, user demand, and profit.

This not only saves you money on a project you don't yet know will prove popular; it allows you to launch faster too. I recommend that you read "Getting Real" to learn more about this approach.

"2. Where can I find someone locally (in the US) who would have knowledge of everything I'm trying to accomplish that could check the work that someone is doing on freelancer to ensure it's quality?"

You don't save money by hiring a cheap developer to build a complex project and paying a more expensive developer to check their work. You save money by hiring the better developer in the first place and paying them to build the minimum number of features required to get your site launched.

"3. How much do you believe I should be spending on a website described above?"

Pay what you can afford. Build a simple site. Launch it. When you have more money, add more stuff.

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To add to Nicks point on point 2 - Its more than just not saving money. It would be more like having picasso overseeing my artwork, expecting a picasso original. Or even him watching my window cleaning. Its just a colossal waste of money that will result in neither good work nor cheap work. – Jon Jul 10 '13 at 11:19
  1. This is like any engineering project, for example, designing a new car. You want it to be fast, cheap and reliable. You can't have all three. Pick any two. You want cheap, professional-looking and presumably, reliable, so your customers don't have problems. Pick any two.

  2. It sounds like you want someone who could do the work themselves, or is experienced in managing people who do the work, to oversee the freelancer. As yours looks like a commercial enterprise they are probably going to want to get paid a bit too. Look for a web design company and ask just for project manager services. However be prepared to pay.

You also probably need someone to look after the servers. If you're successful, as you hope, then the servers are going to get overloaded and you want them to keep on working so your customers don't have problems. So you have to have a solution that scales up in the first place, and then someone to deploy new servers as needed. Alternatively you could pay more money to have a solution that scales transparently (new servers are automatically brought online).

3. Without digging into the precise requirements, that 30K to 150K figure sounds a bit high, but not totally unreasonable.

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If you are willing to spend money on cheap labor for this project on freelancer.com I would suggest you rather stick your budget on red in Vegas. If you win you can take a holiday. If you lose, you wont have a website - just like if you use your cheap labor - but you'll have far less of a headache.

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