Got my first offer. Not sure if it's above my level or not

I just got a freelance offer today to work on a restaurant website. But it’s more on the admin side of things. Rather than just showing the menu for the customers, it’s keeping track of all the orders made, all the customers making the order, their address and so on.

I know we don’t have to know everything about coding before we accept a job offer. But that’s why I’m not sure I should turn this back down or not. I have experience in HTML CSS JS React.js and to a lesser extent, Node.js.

The person who offered me the job found me on facebook. I don’t have my resume up, but I have posted some of my projects there.

In a situation like this, you probably don’t want to build something from scratch because then they would need a permanent dev team to keep it running and updated. Probably what you would do is research which platforms currently exist for restaurant websites + ordering, tell the person who hired you what the ongoing cost would be, set everything up for them using managed platforms, and then teach them how to maintain and update it. You might do some custom styling, but you wouldn’t want to write a ton of custom code.

Actually, this site is prebuilt. He asked me to fix some bugs instead. It’s a MERN website and there’s a lot going on in the backend, so I’m not sure where to begin. I don’t mind learning, but the guy said he needs his website up by next week

What projects have you built using MERN?

Just my portfolio right now.

1 Like

Are you going to be paid by the hour or by an upfront determined lump sum when work has been completed?

The guy said he had a budget of 100 dollars. I did say that I would work on it for free, since it was the first offer I’ve gotten and my node.js knowledge is of yet, limited.

There are a lot more node files in this project than in my mern portfolio.

Sounds like a lot of extra work (learning on your part) for $100 or even worse for FREE. It is your life, but I would not touch that project. Will you be allowed to show the code you write to prospective employers? If not, then that is another reason to stay away from the project.

If you do not feel comfortable enough to charge a respectable rate for your time and work, then you may regret taking on a project that is significantly beyond your current experience (especially since there is a 1 week deadline involved). Never sell yourself short of what you are worth. In the end you will have worked hard with no money to show for it. If you are doing this work for a charity, then that might be a different scenario. The person reached out to you, so assess the work to be performed and if it is too much work for too little pay, then walk away.

It’s your choice but the minimum I’d charge is 50 an hour and I wouldn’t work for free.

This project seems above your skill level anyway. I advise against consulting/freelance gigs for juniors as it’s not lucrative (at that level) and hard to give estimates. Once you’re more experience you can charge a fair rate and will know what you’re doing.

Back in 2001, one of my first freelance clients was a friend of a friend who heard I had started a business working on websites and databases. They asked me to work on a small project using an almost obsolete database at the time. The work was supposed to be converting the almost obsolete database into an Access database plus making significant changes to the forms that interacted with the database.

At the time, I was very comfortable building Access and MSSQL databases and creating forms in Access as a front-end to MSSQL databases. I was definitely not familiar with the almost obsolete database. I told the client that if he would pay for my flight out/back (Tennesee to Calfornia), that I would give him 16 hours of work/consulting. I put together a contract that stated as such and he signed it. In the contract, it was stated that if at anytime after arriving, I determined the project was going to take more than the 16 hours, that I would inform the client and the most the client would end up paying over the flights, would be any hours worked.

It was very evident about 2-3 hours into working with the client, that the client did not have a good understanding of how the almost obsolete database worked. Also, the client did not really have an idea about how he wanted the new forms in the Access database to function. I ended up telling him that I would work on setting up a new Access database (without any data from the old system being imported) and build him a few forms to get started (total of 3 hours work). I then told him that I would give him 5 hours of training on creating other Access database forms, so he could build them as he figured out how he really wanted the new system to work. I got paid 8 hours plus a flight to/from my home. I spent an extra day there seeing some sites, so it was kind of a paid vacation.

I knew once I got to working with the client, that it would be a waste of my time and his money, so we parted ways amicably and we both still got something out of the experience.


Will you be allowed to show the code you write to prospective employers?

No. The repository is private. I did say that I’ll add a library for him before going on my way. I think I’ll move on after that, however. I can’t open the project on VSC anyway because of the dependency conflicts. It’ll be better for the both of us.

You think I should go to full time jobs for now?

Did you take another freelance job after that?

Do you have any hobbies that you are passionate about? If so, could you create an app or website around those hobbies that others might be willing to pay for? When you have a vested interest in a project, you will be able to create something very unique and more than likely learn much more about development. Best case scenario is you are able to make a living selling the app or subscription to the website (like I did for about 17 years) or worst case scenario is you have a great example of a real-life project to showcase to prospective employers.

Only a few others. I ended up starting my own SAAS in a niche market and did quite well with it for a long time. At some point, the market became overcrowded with competition and I got out of the business all together.

Actually, there’s an app that I was working on since I was in Nursing school just last year. I won’t say what it is, but the goal of the app is to drastically reduce the time it takes to make the study material. Of course this is for subjects outside of nursing as well. I need to rework the redux code and design. But I’m proud to say I’m halfway there at least!

One thing though. Is there anything legal wise I need to know before releasing that app? I’ve looked on Google Play for apps just like and found none.

You don’t. Take the money, and learn what you need on the job.

1 Like

Do you mind if I ask where you work now?

Find an attorney that specializes in app development/releases. A few hours with an attorney could save you lots of $$$ in the long run.

1 Like

Wouldn’t a shift at McDonalds pay this?

Turn it down.