I recently had a very bad experience with someone in the community (and, a VERY nice experience! Someone came in and totally saved us!).
As an entrepreneur of over 20 years, I value due diligence tremendously. Doing ones homework helps make informed decisions, reducing liabilities and expediting progress which are fundamental for startups/early stage companies.
There is no “feedback” system related to our experience with freelance developers here, so when I talk to someone who offers to help, I used the “search” feature to read their previous messages to get an idea if they’re a good culture fit and seem to know what they’re talking about / help others solve challenges.
I did hire this guy to help me and he basically took my money and did no work on my project for about 9 days before I fired him and he was very rude about the whole thing. I have screenshots of our Telegram chats and I feel compelled to share them because I want to allow others to be aware of my experience!
That being said, I thought to ask the community first of your thoughts on the matter. I’m not into public shamingt hat’s not my goal here. I’m genuinely trying to be a value add and help someone dodge a bullet I unfortunately did not have the information needed to do so.
Grateful for you sharing your perspective on the matter.
Looking forward to some responses!
A few months ago I had a similar experience and shockingly, the culprit was one of the most senior plugin developers on this forum.
I contacted him to have a custom plugin built for my app in early February. I was given a timeframe of 5 weeks for completion. 5 weeks stretched to 10 weeks and he had a whole lot of excuses but zero work. When I asked to cancel the project and refund my deposit he started working on the plugin but the outcome was not what we had agreed to.
After 5 months waiting I contacted Bubble support to report this member and to suggest a review system so people don’t lose their valuable time and money and fall victim again. Bubble simply said sorry cannot help there.
Had to call my bank to initiate a transaction chargeback and after 6 months of wasted time, I finally got my money back. Found another developer who totally made up for everything.
I didn’t name and shame the culprit here as no one would have believed me due to his seniority on this forum.
Biggest lessons learnt are:
Have all your requirements and expectations documented in one DM/Email thread in case you need to file a PayPal/Bank chargeback.
Have a clear exit/termination clause written up that will cover you in any such situation.
Pull the plug as soon as the second redflag/excuse.
Talk to as many freelancers as possible. You will find some hidden gems.
Sounds like there’s an opportunity for somebody to develop a site that allows for proper marketing of bubble freelance services with profiles, work examples, ratings and reviews… Something that Bubble really should do themselves but probably won’t (until someone else does!). And I would add to this an escrow service…
I agree - and perhaps for those who gave a great experience, give the contractor public kudos…share the positive experiences publicly? Much better than naming the negative experiences (as incredibly frustrating and costly they are).
I’m surprised to hear it’s someone in the forum with a lot of experience. Of course, if the initial agreement is not defined properly, it is a very difficult situation for both parties. It is necessary to clarify the minimum and maximum fee and the maximum period with the possibility to stop everything. I’m not a big fan of hourly rates but a price for the whole project. I have hired programmers who said they were very good, but in the field, their concentration was barely worth 1 hour per day… In the end, the hours just add up and so does the frustration. I never experienced that again with Bubble.
It’s interesting that you mentioned a very senior plugin developer, @S2294, because I ran into someone not long ago who described an experience that is exactly the same as yours, and when they told me who the developer was, I was, indeed, shocked. It just goes to show that you never truly know who you’re dealing with, eh?
As for your situation, @cnacci, sorry to hear about it, but I would definitely advise against publicly shaming the person. I have seen literally everything there is to see in this forum, and going down that path simply won’t end well.
I think the only thing you can really do is provide any lessons learned, and let this thread serve as another reminder to folks that the Bubble landscape is the Wild West these days, and it’s buyer beware.
One thing I do think is interesting about your story is you gave the person the money (or at least what sounds like a significant portion of the money) up front. Quite frankly, I would never do that. If a freelancer isn’t willing to show you some value before money changes hands, I would walk away in a heartbeat. Folks may disagree, of course, but it has always been a red flag for me when it’s all about the money. At the very least, I would only pay a small amount up front and then pay more as milestones are met. That way, if the person flakes, you are only out a small amount.
Anyway, sorry again to hear about your situation, but as I said, I wouldn’t go the public shaming route because it won’t result in anything positive.
Yes, having the initial agreement written up clearly is very important. Specially if it ever gets to the stage where I had to go, straight to the bank and have mastercard do a payment chargeback. Luckily I had everything documented in Bubble messages hence the bank sided with me swiftly.
Completely agree about avoiding hourly rates where possible.
@mikeloc I have a very good hunch its the same developer - think it was a lazy bank run attempt for him to slowly transition away from this forum. When these things happen on this very forum, it leaves us with no trusted place to turn to. Such a shame because we bring a lot of business.
As you said, its the Wild West these days and I hope something can/will be done to reverse course.
Project fees or a retainer with scope is key! Not that I mind letting people pay me hourly, in fact they charge more for that, I greatly prefer doing projects or retainer fee is over individual hours of billing. It gets really messy and usually doesn’t turn out well for either the client or the freelancer. It only works out in favor of one of them most of the time and I’d prefer a win win.
Win/win: I make the money that I deserve to make and you get an excellent product that fits all of your expectations
I agree, Mike, that this is not the place to publicly name the person. However, telling the story and not naming them casts aspersions on every other senior developer here trying to help people and earn some money because everyone knows it is one of them but doesn’t know which one.
I’m not freelancing so it won’t affect me but would love to see Bubble figure out some type of solution here.
Thank you everyone who contributed their feedback, experiences, and recommendations. Leaving this thread open for a week so I could fully absorb and digest as many perspectives as possible was a good idea.
Even though I wrote clear requirements, I failed to have a thorough exit strategy and I’ll make sure to have one moving forward.
You’re right! @p.daponte saved our ass and now we’re talking about an extended working relationship, I’m grateful!
I’m surprised this does not exist yet?!:
Love the “escrow service” idea. but, surely a pain in the ass to handle. Make sure to require contracts with exist strategies
Thanks, @mikeloc , I feel you’re right. Although I do still feel it’s good to put a warning label on this person for others to be cautious of; and the saved screenshots clearly show unprofessional actions from this developer, it’s will consume more of my precious time and a more proactive approach is to share what I learned (above) from the experience.
respectfully, I disagree. keeping this person anon means the rest of the community suffers because when new people come, and they hear “senior people have been grifting” but no names are offered, it’s worrying knowing if you end up getting a DM from the “wrong” one.
That being said, fundamentally I still don’t feel the solution is public shaming, it’s smart relationship management:
Explicit details of the work needed
Get some work done / pay-as-you-go / reduce up front economic liabilities.
Have a clear exist strategy with dates and expectations that if not met, justify the disillusion of contract
Thanks everyone for your contribution, wishing you all lots of love and good fortune!
Name and shame as ugly as it is saves the rest of us pain. Just put ALL correspondence up and don’t post a single reply when people start slinging mud. Everyone is free to draw their own conclusions as to which party was the cause for the issue. People who do not know what they want or write poor specs are just as bad as the devs you talk about.