The Freelance Developer’s Dilemma

As many have probably known by now, I do freelance work after office hours and during weekends. In other words, I moonlight. I do all sort of things, from developing websites to managing and installing Linux servers.

I have done so many web development jobs, but I can’t really disclose anything with the fact that I am always hired by web design companies or bigger companies who claims they do everything themselves. Because of this, I have an empty portfolio.

While puffing some cigarettes last weekend I thought of asking my current client, a graphics design company whether it is alright if I list them as my client on my official business website. Something like this:


XXXXXX Management System – Company X Sdn. Bhd.

They refused to provide me permission to do so; one of the reasons being that they don’t want to be called an “Ali Baba” company. In my opinion, companies have certain expertise areas and can’t possibly cover all the grounds. Since they require my service to develop the system, they are our client. I don’t intend to put their client on my site, and I am not even asking them to include my company name on their client website.

What I have seen so far with design companies, they have a footer that looks something like this:

Copyright 2009 The Real Client Sdn. Bhd. All rights reserved. Website designed and developed by Company X Sdn. Bhd.

In my opinion, the word developed should not be there because they are not the one who developed the website (in my case). Heck, for the last project I even had to build the CSS from scratch because what they provided were screen shots.

Hey wait, the previous system didn’t have the word developed but the new mock designs include the word. Hmm…

Anyway I can’t escape from feeling unappreciated when this happens, especially with the amount of support I provide, and the technical knowledge I pass to them when they ask even if it’s not related to the work at hand. I know I will still get the money, but similar to regular day job money alone is not enough. Humans require appreciation and credit for what they have done. That’s why I love my current day job so much.

Although “learning how to design” has crossed my mind a thousand times, I felt that I don’t need to step on other people’s toes and it is much better to collaborate. But I do feel that design companies are being too stingy to share the proper credits (and link). Perhaps I should stop thinking like that and get the proper credit I deserve? How do other developers promote their services other than word of mouth?

Note: If you guys from Company X are reading this, I still respect your decision but this is my personal space.


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