A Developer’s Time at Codeable: Retrospective

The ups, the downs, and the recent changes

A developer’s perspective on the Codeable platform

Mr. WPress joined Codeable in 2020, but we’ve recently left the platform, and no longer bid on jobs from the site. For most of the time, we had a good experience with the site, with nearly 150 projects under our belts and a consistent 5 star rating. You can see our old page on their site archived. Recent changes over at Codeable though made it clear it was time for Mr. WPress to leave. We thought the overall experience, a developer’s perspective, and those recent changes were all worth sharing.

Exciting methods at the start

At the start of the process, Codeable drew our attention for many reasons. One of their main goals is to prevent a “race to the bottom” mentality. Often, other boards like Upwork or Fiverr are all about cutting costs and offering the cheapest price possible. Almost always, this also results in a cheap end result and a dissatisfied customer. This was something Codeable wanted not only to discourage, but outright prevent. They agreed with one of our favorite sayings: “if you think a good developer is expensive, try hiring a bad one!” The platform still has a minimum hourly rate that developers are allowed to charge, and encourages breaking down big projects into small tasks so that both sides benefit. Developers get a consistent cash flow, and customers know exactly what they’re paying for along the way. The prices were undoubtedly higher than a more unregulated board like Fiverr, but the end results were consistently high quality.

That consistency was also due to the Codeable vetting process. As a developer, you can’t simply sign up and then start bidding on jobs. You’re required to work through an extensive process of both coding ability and customer relationship evaluations to ensure you’re a good fit for the company. All of this made us very excited to join the platform!

The end of the honeymoon phase

But as so often happens, nothing is ever as perfect as it sounds. Codeable is structured in public workrooms, where any developer can jump in and start asking questions to put together a bid. With several hundred developers all eager for work, and a five-developer maximum per workroom in Codeable’s policy, the competition was fierce. Oftentimes too, this led to developers skipping any initial discovery to ask basic questions about budget and timeframe so they could mark their place in the workroom. Codeable says that its developer work in friendly “coopetition,” but most customers could see right through this with the workroom behavior at the start. Rather than seeing expert developers asking informed questions related to their site, they saw developers scrambling to get in line, often asking about money straight away through the budget. Not a great introduction to the platform.

The actual team at Codeable too, who handles customer relations and managing developers, both was and is fairly small. The ratio of developers to “case managers” puts too much on any one case manager’s plate, making it difficult to consistently enforce the policies that Codeable tries to stand by.

The changes that led us to leave

All of this was manageable for a while though, as evidenced by our project history. We found initial success in the platform, both because of and in spite of various policies and practices at the company. But over time, the cons started to outweigh the pros. The couple hundred developers on the platform has grown to more than 750, without enough demand to match. This only exacerbated the two main issues we ran into with the platform previously: case managers now had an even more untenable load, and the swarm of developers to any ticket with promise became even more frenzied.

A new problem was introduced as well, specifically due to the influx of developers from countries like Nepal, Slovenia, Pakistan: where the currency exchange rate and purchasing power parity are heavily in their favor. This is great for these developers, as they can make incredible rates on their work. But it makes it very difficult for American or European developers to compete. For example, Mr. WPress would get into a workroom and end up making an estimate of 10 hours. Other developers, who have a different cost of living, make a bid for much less time, with a vague description of how they can cut costs. But in reality, they’re taking a similar amount of time, but charging at the Codeable rate only for those few hours. Yet because of the currency exchange, they’re still making a great rate for their own economy. All of this to say, it makes it incredibly difficult for a company like Mr. WPress to compete. It’s unfortunate, but Codeable has become a race to the bottom after all, they just hide it better than other boards.

Skip the fees by going straight to the developer

What we haven’t mentioned yet either is that Codeable charges fees. They charge both the developer a fee as a sort of finder’s fee, and the customer a service fee. Codeable can be handy for certain circustmances, but if you know what you’re looking for (like a custom theme or a custom plugin), it’s better to come straight to a developer like Mr. WPress. You skip the fees, and you get connected one-on-one with a developer who will take the time to learn your business goals and your site to provide a truly individual experience. Ready to get started on your next WordPress project? Reach out to us for a free quote today!