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Custom Software Buyer Frequently Asked Questions:

1)  I have a program I’d like created or a technical question I need answered.  How does “Rent a Coder” help me?

“Rent a Coder” allows you to locate experienced programmers from around the world quickly and easily.  You just enter your program or question, along with the maximum you are willing to pay, and programmers will bid down the price in order to earn your business.

     You can quickly view the qualifications and resume of each programmer who bids on your project as well as their approval rating from previous customers.

2) What does this service cost?

     There are no service charges or finders fees for buyers.

3) How do I pay the coder?

     After you accept a buyer's bid, you submit the bid amount to an escrow account via credit card, PayPal or snail mail. Only after you receive the deliverables and approve them, will the escrowed funds be transferred to the coder. This guarantees that the coder will work his or her hardest to get you the results that you asked for.

4) How are buyer and seller disputes handled (arbitration)?

     Most transactions are completed harmoniously, but every now and then a buyer and coder cannot come to an agreement. If this happens to you then you can simply request one of the Rent A Coder arbitrators place the bid request into arbitration to determine if the contract was met or not. During a court-like process, the arbitrator follows the rules of arbitration to determine what has and has not been delivered, and may even test the final code to verify a buyer's bug list. (For complete details, see the complete rules of arbitration in either the buyer or seller legal agreements). To ensure fairness, all parties have already agreed in advance to abide by the Rent a Coder settlement.

5) What is mediation?

     Mediation is an optional 'first stage' of the arbitration process mentioned above. While arbitration is like a trial, mediation is like a negotiation and often results in both parties coming away with something positive. In mediation, Rent A Coder works with both parties to negotiate terms such that both parties are willing to change the contract (which includes changing the price, scope or perhaps even cancelling the work). Mediation is also used if the two parties have conducted their own private mediation, but neglected to document it on the site. In this case, Rent A Coder merely uses it to get both parties to formally agree to the new terms in a legally binding manner.

 6) What if I don’t know how much to bid as my maximum?

If you are unsure of how much your problem or question is worth, you can leave the bid blank and programmers will suggest different bid amounts to you.

7) What protections are there for buyers?

   Rent a Coder has a number of features that make the site an easy and safe place to purchase coder related solutions and services.

When choosing a coder:

1) To help you choose a coder, you can instantly check the reputation and history of all bidders. Ratings range from 1 to 10 (with 1 being worst and 10 being best). A comment log left by other buyers who have worked with the programmer in the past, is also available.  Additionally, if you feel uncomfortable and would like assistance in choosing the best  coder for your situation, a Rent a Coder
Facilitator with experience in project management is available to assist you in choosing the best coder for your needs.

2) To guarantee that your coder is motivated and committed to completing your project, you can require that they place a Coder Deposit Guarantee. The coder deposits a certain amount of money (which the two of you can negotiate) into a deposit escrow. If they fully complete the project, then they receive the deposit back. If they do not complete the project then they lose some or all of the deposit. This is the best way to find a Coder who is fully committed to your project. (Click here for full details on the Coder Deposit Guarantee).

3) If you need to protect trade secrets while selecting a coder, Rent A Coder offers a non-disclosure agreement feature for maximum protection of your intellectual property.

When working with a coder:

4) The "Safe Project Escrow" (tm): This Rent A Coder exclusive feature, guarantees a stress free transaction by putting you in control of releasing funds to the coder.

Before Rent A Coder, many companies had to make non-refundable up-front payments to coders to hire them. This often resulted in 'dead-beat' coders making off with deposits, and buyers being left with nothing but empty promises and empty wallets.

However, with the "Safe Project Escrow" (tm), you don't pay the coder directly, but instead deposit the funds into an escrow account. While giving the coder the reassurance that you have the funds, the coder also knows that they do not receive any funds until work is completed (or a work phase is completed if you are doing a phased project).

Upon completion of work (or work phase), you verify that you've received what you've asked for, and authorize the release of funds though the site. Since you are in control, you can guarantee that you'll get the deliverables that you're asking for!

5) Once your bid is accepted, you receive the coder's email information and may exchange phone numbers, addresses, etc. at both parties discretion. In addition to this, weekly coder status reports keep you updated.  (required only of Coders working on projects over $150). That way, if the coder is running into problems or getting off'll know right away rather than after its too late.

6) If you find yourself in a dispute with the coder, you can put the bid into
arbitration with a Rent a Coder arbitrator. They will determine what has actually been delivered (or not) and the coder (and yourself) has already pre-agreed to abide by their decision. If it turns out that the coder is unable or unwilling to do the work, you can also switch to another coder at no charge.  See the Rent a Coder Rules of Arbitration for full details on arbitration.

8) How is my financial and personal information kept safe?

   All sensitive information is protected via the highest level of SSL encryption (128 bit) to prevent it from being intercepted by unauthorized parties. Once the information arrives at our data center, it is password-protected in a datastore. The data store is additionally fortified by an ICSA Certified firewall that blocks out instrusion attempts. Additionally, we subscribe to vendor security notification lists, and install new vendor patches as promptly as possible...most often with 24 hours. Finally, 3rd party security experts go through all of our system on a routine basis looking for holes, and anything they find is promptly sealed and documented.

9) How can I accept more than one bid/coder on my bid request?

   Normally, each bid request can only have one winning bid/coder. However, we can accomodate you with multiple choices, just as long as you realize that all coders who deliver according to the bid request will be paid in full (i.e. this is not a method to get 3-4 coders to work for free and pay only the one who finishes first).

   To choose more than one, simply accept the bid on your primary choice and follow the prompts. This will log your payment information in the system. Then, when you are done, email the
facilitator your bid request URL, along with a list of your secondary choices (author and bid amounts). The facilitator will take care of the rest.

10) I need help choosing a bid/coder. Can you help?

   The best way of choosing a coder depends on whether or not you have a deadline that you need your project finished by. Put another way, the best way depends on whether you have more time than money, or money than time.:

If you have a deadline (more money than time)...

...then the single most important criteria in evaluating a coder is his/her previous experience on the site (followed closely by their job skills).

Narrow down your coders only to ones that:

1) Have done work on the site before in your price range. (click on their name to see their work history). Don't pick a $100/job coder to do your $10,000/job and vice versa. Make sure the coder has received favorable ratings from past buyers. If a coder has 2 or 3 or below average ratings (below 5) then that is a warning sign. You may wish to skip them and move on to another.

2) Have a resume that matches your project requirements. (click on their name to see their resume). The closer their resume is to the skills required to accomplish your current project, the better.
The #1 mistake that inexperienced buyers with time frames make is picking the cheapest coder. This generally means the coder has no work experience or history on the site. Then, when the project is not completed on time (or at all) by their 'discount coder', they are stuck in a bind. (The Rent A Coder escrowing process protects their money, however, their problem is that they want completed software, not their original money back.) So, if your timeline is important, don't make this mistake.

If you have NO deadline (more time than money)...

...then time is on your side and you should strongly consider taking a chance on a coder with little or no work experience on the site.

You can generally get quite a discount this way, and you can do it safely, since the Rent A Coder
Safe Project Escrow protects your money should they not deliver. In the worst case you can simply pick another coder at no charge, but in the best case you pick up your project for substanially less money. This can result in getting the project done for alot less money.
   Another issue that many English-speaking buyers have, is whether or not they should consider coders where English is not the country's first language. These coders can 50-75% less expensive and so this is a very good question. The answer depends on your situation. If you have a well defined project (meaning a thorough, well-laid out requirements document), then choosing this type of coder is a great way to save a lot of money. However, if you have a less well defined project, then you will be relying alot on the coder to communicate with you to 'flesh' out your program. If this is your case, you should strongly consider using a native English speaking coder. If you would still like to try a non-native-English coder...make sure that you can understand them and that they understand you in your correspondence.

   Finally, if you're still lost and need some help choosing a can always contact the facilitator with your bid request URL along with your 'short list' of coders (if any) and they can give you some advice.

11) How long do I have to accept a bid?

   You have until your self-specified bidding expiration date to accept a bid (which you can modify at any time). After this, the site will give you an additional week to further decide on a coder. If you still haven't selected a coder at that point, the system will close out your bid request so as not to clutter up the site with 'dead' bid requests. If this happens, and you change your mind and want to reopen the bid request, you can write to the
facilitator to have it reopened.

12) How can I protect my trade secrets/confidential information?

     The Rent A Coder 'Non-disclosure Agreement Protection' feature allows you to safe-guard any trade secrets you might have, by requiring coders who wish to bid on your project to sign a legally binding non-disclosure agreement before you reveal any confidential information about your bid request to them.

     Here's how the NDA process works:

  1. You select that you want your bid request protected by the 'NDA Protection' feature. (see screenshot...)
  2. The only information made initially public to the coder, is the bid request title, bidding type, project type, category(ies) and a pre-NDA public message of your choice. (see screenshot...)
  3. Coders who are interested in learning more, must first download your NDA, sign it, scan it back in and re-upload it. (see screenshot...)
  4. Upon receipt of their signed NDA, Rent A Coder will notify you via email (see screenshot...). You can then review that coder's background and choose to approve or reject them for further access to your confidential information...all from your bid request page. (see screenshot...)
  5. Once the coder is approved, they receive an email informing them of your approval (or not) (see screenshot...). If approved, they are given a link where they can see the full bid request information that you have setup including the bid request description, deliverables, platform, etc.
     You are in control of the release of confidential information at all times, ensuring you the safest experience possible.

13) Can I setup milestones and/or negotiate partial payments for milestones?

   Yes. Simply negotiate these with your coder before beginning work. When you accept work at each milestone completion, you can use the 'accept work' feature to accept a percentage of the entire payment rather than 100%.

14) Can you give me a summary of what the 'Coder Deposit Guarantee' is?
   The Coder Deposit Guarantee solves 2 sticky issues for both Buyers and Coders. How does a Buyer make sure that a coder is going to complete their project?  How does a Coder set themselves above the crowd of other bidders and prove to a Buyer that they are worthy of serious attention?  The "Coder Deposit Guarantee" solves both of these problems and takes the buying and selling of software to a new level.

    It works like this: When the buyer accepts the coder's bid, the coder deposits a certain amount of money to guarantee completion (the exact amount is negotiated between Buyer and Coder).  If the Coder completes the project as promised, they receive the deposit back.  If the Coder does not complete the project, then they
forfeit the deposit (or a pro-rated percentage of it...if only a percentage of work is completed).

    To protect a Coder from a Buyer who unfairly witholds approval of fully completed work, the bid request can be placed into legally binding arbitration (like all projects), where an arbitrator from Rent a Coder will determine if it truly was delivered as promised or not.

    To further prevent an unscrupulous Buyer from abusing this feature, the forfeited deposit is NOT paid out to the Buyer.  Instead it goes to:
  1. Offsetting the Buyer's cancellation charge (if any).
    (See the Buyer Legal Agreement for information on when a cancellation charge might apply.)
  2. 100% of the remainder is donated to charity.
   Please understand all aspects of the Coder Deposit so you can best use it to your advantage. Links to frequently asked questions and the detailed legal agreements are below:

Frequently Asked Questions: Buyer | Coder
Legal Agreement: Buyer | Coder

15) On what types of projects can I request a 'Coder Deposit Guarantee'?
   You can request a coder deposit guarantee on any of the following types of projects:

  • Large Business Project: $5,000 (USD) +
  • Medium Business Project: $500 (USD) +
  • Small Business Project: $100 (USD) +

16) How long do I have to wait for the Coder to make their Coder Deposit?

   The Coder has up to 3 business days to make your coder deposit, or decline the project. If this period expires we will notify you and explain how to switch to another coder at no charge.

17) Can you explain the security verification measures you perform on my payments?

   Yes. Please see the security verification page for more details on security measures.

18) I'm getting a warning about my Internet Explorer browser being old and possibly buggy. What is this all about?

   You are running an old internet browser (Internet Explorer v5.x) that Microsoft has found a number of bugs in. These bugs will not only cause problems for you on some of the advanced features of Rent A Coder (like posting bids and attachments), but also exposes you to security risks on all sites on the Internet.
      Microsoft provides new and upgraded versions of its software for no charge via download from the Internet, or via CD for a nominal charge.  You are highly recommended to take advantage of all the latest bug fixes and security advances by downloading the free newest version of Internet Explorer. To learn more click here.

19) What types of bid requests are not allowed?

   Here is a complete list of disallowed bid request types.

20) Is contact information allowed in bid requests and bids? How about in projects > $500?

   To protect our fee, contact information is never allowed in any bid, no matter what the project amount. However, to facilitate the requirements gathering stage of larger projects, the site "Information Release" system allows the coder to release information to you without having to post contact information. For complete information click here.

21) What information in my bid request and bids is private and what isn't?

       The Seller and Buyer may exchange one or more bids and replies on the bid request.  Exhedra wishes to make clear in this section exactly what is shown and what is not shown to other people on the site regarding bid requests and bidding.


Both buyer and coder profiles are publicly available.  Profiles are viewable by clicking on the person's name at various places on the site, including bids, bid requests and ratings.  3rd party search engines outside of the control of Exhedra (such as Google) may index and show these profiles on their sites.  If you wish to keep your identity private, you are advised to use the 'Screen Name' feature of the site and use a name different than you real name or company.

Open Auctions (with no NDA):

Project Details: (description, etc.)

Project details are viewable by the public


While the bidding is open, the auction is conducted as a 'closed auction' and bidders cannot see the bids placed by other bidders. 

Once a winning bidder is chosen, the top level bid made by the winning bidder and the top level bids made by losing bidders are made public and are viewable by the general public... to show that a fair and honest auction was conducted. (Everything else remains private...including all other bids and replies made by and to the winning bidder and all bids and replies made by and to losing bidders.)  The bid request page itself is removed from general public access on the site's search system.  However, the general public can view the title of the bid request on the winning bidder's resume.  Clicking on the link will allow a person from the general public to view the bid request itself and the information stated above.  Additionally, 3rd party search engines outside of the control of Exhedra (such as Google) may index and show this information on their sites.

If a buyer wishes to hide the details of their open bid request from the general public, they may choose to 'privatize' the open bid request once a coder is chosen. This converts it into a private auction (see below) which, as the name implies, is much more hidden. Click here for instructions on how to do this.  

Open Auctions (with NDA):

Project Details: (description, etc.)

Project details are viewable only by those Sellers whom the Buyer approves for viewing by accepting their NDA.   The general public or those rejected may only view the "Pre NDA" message that the Buyer posts for the public.


While the bidding is open, the auction is conducted as a 'closed auction' and bidders cannot see the bids placed by other bidders. 

Once a winning bidder is chosen, the top level bid made by the winning bidder, and the top level bids made by losing bidders are made viewable by those Sellers who had their NDA approved by the show that a fair and honest auction was conducted. (Everything else remains private...including all other bids and replies made by and to the winning bidder and losing bidders.)  The bid request page itself is removed from general public access on the site's search system.  However, the general public can view the title of the bid request on the winning bidder's resume.  Clicking on the link, however, does not allow a person from the general public to view the bid request itself.

Private and One-on-one auctions

Project Details: (description, etc.)

Project details are viewable only by those Sellers whom the Buyer invites to the auction.  The general public may not view the project details.


While the bidding is open, the auction is conducted as a 'closed auction' and bidders cannot see the bids placed by other bidders. 

Once a winning bidder is chosen, the top level bid made by the winning bidder, and the top level bids made by losing bidders are made viewable only to those Sellers whom the Buyer invited to the show that a fair and honest auction was conducted. (Everything else remains private...including all other bids and replies made by and to the winning bidder and losing bidders.)  The bid request page itself is removed from general public access on the site's search system.  However, the general public can view the title of the bid request on the winning bidder's resume.  Clicking on the link, however, does not allow a person from the general public to view the bid request itself.

22) Why would I want to privatize my bid request?

    In order to demonstrate to the public (or the invited coders in a private auction, or your approved coders on an NDA auction) that auctions are being conducted in a fair and open manner, the top-level bids made by coders on certain auction types are made viewable to them after a final coder is selected. (IMPORTANT: This applies ONLY to the top-level bids made by the coders. The private low-level/private bids made by you and/or the coder are NEVER shown. For a more complete explanation please see the open bid request privacy explanation section of your Buyer Agreement).

  In addition to top-level bid information, other parties may be able to see your project by clicking on the coder's ratings (again please see the agreement as their are major exceptions. The public may see project details on open auctions, but private auctions are more restricted, and NDA auctions do not allow any viewing of the project). When the public can see the project details, 3rd party search engines beyond the control of Exhedra (such as Google) may index your bid request page and show it in their search engine.

    Some buyers may not wish to have this information known.  If you wish to hide the details of your project from the public, you can do so by 'privatizing' your bid request.  This changes your auction from an open bid request to a private bid request to better protect you, while still allowing your selected coder and yourself full access.  This can be done on a bid request by bid request basis, or you can set a setting in your profile to automatically privatize every future bid request, the moment you choose the coder. 

23) How do I privatize my bid request?

   You can privatize individual bid requests from the control panel of your bid request.  Or you can choose to privatize all future bid requests that you will choose coder's on, from the 'My info/other' left hand menu item, under 'My Buyer Account'.

24) Can you give me more advice?

   Yes. Check out these additional articles for buyers...

25) What is a bulletin board auction and how do I post one?

The new Bulletin Board auction has more lenient posting rules than the Project auctions.  This bulletin board auction and is ideal for:

  • Job position postings
  • Hourly rate jobs
  • Announcements
  • Requests for completed software
  • Any other situations that do not involve the typical escrowing of funds for a fixed price project
For more information as well as information on posting a bulletin board auction, please see:  Bulletin Board Auction Info...

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