What You Need to Know if Your Web Developer Does a Runner

What You Need To Know If Your Web Developer Does A RunnerWeb development is a highly competitive field. A web developer runs the spectrum from very competent all the way over to completely inept.

Some might give you a great sales pitch, and not deliver the services promised. Meanwhile, others might appear socially challenged but offer an excellent product that will last you for a long time to come.

Stereotypes aside, the point here is that you might not know when someone’s done a runner on you until it’s too late. Try as you might, tracking them down could prove difficult if not impossible.

Here’s what you need to know if this happens to you.

You Hired the Wrong Person for the Job

It was an accident, no doubt, but you must face the facts. The person you hired wasn’t the right fit for the project. You’ve been burned, but not acknowledging the reality of the situation is only going to set you back further.

There are several reasons why they might have abandoned the project. Here are some of the more common ones:

  • The project appeared too difficult. Businesses sometimes ask for the moon without knowing it. Even a skilled developer might have trouble delivering what you asked of them, depending on the nature of the project.
  • No synergy. Web development is a process of collaboration. If your contractor didn’t have enough information to go on, if you were slow in replying to them, if project parameters were vague and unclear, there’s a good chance they abandoned the project due to these factors.
  • Too much red tape. The developer may have sensed that the project could quickly turn into a “design by committee” type situation, where every little change must go through multiple layers of approval. Developers – especially freelancers – can lose a lot of money on incessant edits and revisions they’re not even been paid for.
  • They weren’t legit. Sadly, some people know how to sell a service they have no clue how to perform.

Figure out What Went Wrong

It isn’t necessarily your fault that your developer ran out on you. But if you don’t take the time to understand what went wrong, you could end up making the same mistake all over again.

Here are several questions you must ask before hiring your next developer:

  • Is the project too complicated? Are you asking for too much? Talk to several developers – preferably people you know – and get their opinions. Remember that not all of them are going to give you an upfront and honest answer (especially if they want the contract), so dig deep.
  • Are you able to provide developers with the information they need? Is there someone on your team that knows how to communicate with developers and give them the instructions they need to complete the project in a timely fashion? Can you provide them with the tools they need to succeed?
  • Are you able to simplify the approval process? If there’s a lot of red tape in your business, would you be able to put just one or two people in place to oversee the entire project? Is there someone on your team that understands business objectives and has your best interests at heart?
  • Can you find online reviews, or get a recommendation? Check to see if the developer you’re looking to hire has a good reputation online. Also, if you have connections in other companies and industries, see if you can get a recommendation from them. But first, check to see that their website is actually up to snuff.

Start Over

You might not get your money back on your initial investment. Plus, any progress you already made on your web project could be lost. After all, you have no guarantees that what the first developer did is up to your standards, given that they made a deliberate choice not to work with you anymore. A loss is difficult to accept, but you must.

If you learn from your mistakes, and you choose prospective contractors more carefully, you won’t go through this ordeal again. But remember that you should examine both sides of the equation. You must ensure that the developer is skilled and trustworthy, and you also must make sure that you’re able to give them the instructions they need, and that you’re not asking for too much.


Mistakes happen. The key, moving forward, will be to avoid careless mistakes. After all, you can’t fault someone for trying something based on the best information available to them. But if you keep doing things without thinking, you won’t learn anything from what went wrong.

Have any of your web projects gone awry? Have you had any bad experiences with web developers?

Let us know in the comments below.

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