I have been trolling Craigslist and Kijiji lately in hopes of finding some additional freelance work to add to my portfolio before I become a full time freelancer/consultant. Read the advertisements has proven to be a terribly frustrating experience. Advertisers need to always remember that the more details they provide will lead to a much more realistic budget and a system that better meets their needs.
Advertisements need to be as detailed and as short as possible. If the programmer is expected to modify or write plugins for an existing application or website you need to provide details on how the previous system is implemented. Ideally, you will answer all of the following questions. What programming language? What database is it using? Who is hosting it? Is there any sort of documentation? Do you have programming guidelines?
Regarding the actual project or changes to an existing project require you to answer additional questions. Is it completely new project? Who will own the work (source code, graphics, etc)? What’s the timeline? What should the application do? What is the scope of the project?
Always remember that you also get what you pay for and that if you pay minimum wage or outsource to another country (China,India, Brazil, etc) you will likely get inflexible crap that will have to be redone if your site or application goes through some sort of expansion.