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2. When you post your project, ensure that you detail EXACTLY what is required. The more information better. If you start adding to brief after a freelancer has placed his/her bid, expect price to rise....
3. Try and keep brief as simple as possible. Remember that English may not be first language of some of freelancers and whilst I have never had any communication problems (in fact, most of programmers I have used have a better standard of written English than majority of my fellow countrymen!), it makes sense not to over-complicate matters with slang etc that may not be understood.
4. Don't always opt for lowest bid. All of freelance sites listed below allow you to view feedback ratings for freelancers and I usually base my decision on this rating. I would rather pay a bit extra and use someone with a superb rating than save a bit of money and use a new freelancer. They may be great at what they do but unfortunately when you are dealing with people at a distance, you have no way of knowing and in my view, it isn't worth risk and potential extra hassle. Go with someone that has already proven themselves.
5. If your project is to create something that you want to resell (for example a software product or an eBook) make sure that you stress in brief that at end of project, you will own copyright and will have access to source code/files. Obviously you want to ensure that freelancer doesn't come back to you in future complaining that you are selling his/her work and that you can edit product if you need to without having to find original creator. It would also be wise to include a condition stating that freelancer is not allowed to use your product in future for someone else or indeed sell it themselves.
As for which freelance site to use, there are three that I recommend but my absolute fave is http://www.thetraderonline.com/scriptlance.html and this is definitely my 'site of choice'.
Alternatively, try www.eLance.com or www.Rentacoder.com
Richard Grady has been helping ordinary people earn online since 1998. He writes a free newsletter which is published every two weeks. To subscribe (and claim your free gifts), visit: http://www.thetraderonline.com/newsletter.html