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I am the owner of a start up business that sells on eBay, but I've been working a lot with the Magento back end setting up a store with a template. I got tired of the template after a time because I felt that it didn't have the specific functionality or look and feel that I wanted. So I created a PSD with my theme laid out and am looking for someone to perform PSD to Magento services.

It seems that everywhere I look, I get very different quotes or answers, and now I'm more confused than ever. Some companies tell me that Magento is definitely not the choice for me because of how small my business is, and that I will not be able to afford the maintenance Magento will require. Other companies want to say they can do everything I need and the price they quote is excellent, but then I become dubious of their quality of work due to their cheap prices and online reviews. I have also looked at solutions outside of Magento and they don't seem to offer the functionality I want or need.

I guess my question is, does Magento really require too vast a cost for a small business to consider? And if not, how would you recommend seeking a developer and looking into the quality/worth of their work? What would you say is a good range for the cost of a PSD to Magento theme before any custom functionality has been implemented? $2,000-$5,000? $5,000 to $10,000? More?

Thanks for your time!

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    When you find where to obtain reliable Magento developers, let me know! They're hard to come by :) – philwinkle Aug 28 '13 at 20:14
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    The appropriate way to answer your question depends on the levels and significance attached to the three cost dimensions: money, time, and opportunity. – benmarks Aug 28 '13 at 21:03
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    I was expecting a lot of answers like "Pick me, pick me". :) – Marius Aug 29 '13 at 14:44
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There's a lot to unpack in that question, and no easy answer. Also, standard caveats — you're asking a community of people who make (at least part of) their livings developing Magento systems so the answers are going to reflect that.

The way you find a good Magento developer is you stop treating technology in your business as a cost center, and start networking and looking for partners who can help grow your business. You get to know the people who are handling the technology side of your business, you ask them for references from previous clients who are in a similar business to you, you ask your network of business owners similar to yourself who they'd recommend. Like everything in business, it's all about the relationships you build. Magento is a platform you invest in for the future of your business.

As far as a good range for the cost of a PSD to Magento theme — the reason you're having trouble finding a consistant quote for that sort of thing is there's no long term business, even for an independent freelancer, in providing that sort of service. A PSD converted into a standard Magento site with no customizations has no business value, and there's not enough demand for custom e-commerce development for a standard price to emerge from the market. The developers offering you lowball quotes are either inexperienced, using this as a loss leader to sell you additional services later on, a volume based shop that will say yes to anything and then shift the risk onto their contractors, or some combination of all that.

If you feel your business is too small to build the sort of partnership I described above, or build an internal technology department, or you don't have enough experience to manage anonymous freelance resources yourself via freelancer sites (which I'm assuming based on your question) then no, Magento or any self hosted solution is not the right thing for your business. Stick with cloud based providers that handle the technology for you.

Put another way — the days of going online, spending $10,000 and getting a $500,000/year - $1,000,000/year business out of it were a market fluke. Those days are long over.

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    This, this, a million times this. Props for saying it like it is. – philwinkle Aug 28 '13 at 22:00
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    Thank you, this was a very thorough and informative answer. I appreciate the honesty and the effort. It makes a lot of sense when you say it that way. Best answer I've gotten in many weeks! Thanks again. – Trillian Aug 29 '13 at 0:16
  • Also, I do want custom functionality and want to form a relationship with my developer because I want my website to grow with my business - and I would much rather that occur with a developer who knows my business and who I am comfortable with having a long term relationship with. So I am definitely going to do some research and try to build these relationships you mention. :) – Trillian Aug 29 '13 at 0:49
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This question is totally off topic for Stack Exchange – an entirely opinion based question that has nothing to do with code. What a great question though, I can't resist offering up an answer :)

Your question title is 'How to find a reliable Magento developer?'. Well this is only part of your problem of course, but a bit of due diligence will stand you in pretty good stead. Freelancer websites can be an experience. There are some really talented developers on them, you could get lucky and find a gem (depends how good your nose is), but there are also so many pretenders and cowboys to keep expensive developers in western countries with plenty of work on their hands. Don't rush in with anyone would be the best advice here, and remember you can always test them out on a small change request first before having them redesign your entire website as their first task.

The second aspect to that - not only do you have to find a reliable Magento developer, you have to persuade them to come on board with you and work with you. And then retain them.

The answer to that is 'Be a good client'. From the fact that you've taken the time to come here and ask this question, and then obviously read and digested Alan's answer (you listened to advice, hoorah!) - my spidey sense tells em you would likely be a pretty good client. Being a good client is subjective and this rolls into your main question 'does Magento really require too vast a cost for a small business to consider?'. It is a very good question and the answer to that is 'It depends on you'.

Clients who understand that they can't have everything they might want (if budget is limited), that Magento is a big beast, that some (seemingly trivial requests) can be very tricky and expensive to deliver. These clients can make Magento work for them.

Clients who listen to their developer, compromise when needed, adapt their expectations. Accept that they might have to resort to a clever use of commercial modules rather than having everything hand rolled for them. These clients can do pretty well.

A few bullets on how to be a good client and not have your developer groan inwardly (or outwardly) when an email drops into their inbox from you;

  • Pay quickly for work done well.

  • Get prepared and organised so you can get work/change requests in with plenty of notice ( not 'we need this live by Friday!').

  • The odd 'well done' doesn't go a miss. Really - focussing all the time on what's not right, what you need done next, what you'd rather have had. That can be pretty draining.

I know much of this will be common sense to you, but bear it in mind anyway – a reliable developer is likely to be busy, and money isn't everything. You might not be the biggest client out there, but there's nothing stopping you being the best.

  • Sorry about being off topic - this is one of my first times using this forum so I wasn't sure if I was in the right place! But thanks for taking the time for your great answer. I think a change request and getting a "feel" for the right developer and the way they work with me is an excellent suggestion. I certainly want someone I can retain. I have definitely learned that what seem like simple requests end up being more complicated than I thought, so your advice on making Magento "work for me" - as well as making use of pre existing extensions for my needs - is also great. Thank you so much! – Trillian Aug 29 '13 at 18:15
  • No problem at all, my pleasure. I was being tongue in cheek about being on topic, I love questions like this :) I think its fantastic you came here to ask for this advice - best of luck with it! – McNab Aug 29 '13 at 20:20
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    Pay particular attention to the last sentence of this answer. – musicliftsme Mar 26 '14 at 13:51
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There are a lot of very detailed answers, however the simple approach is that IT Spend is 5% of revenue, hosting is 20% of IT Spend, Consulting around 25-35%, platform around 10% (for Micro Enterprise under $2million revenue per year and less than 10 employees). The general rule is Magento Go (including osCommerce, Prestashop) for under $100,000 revenue per year, for CE $100s thousands to low $millions revenue, EE above $3million to low $10s millions (Hybris takes over from here and then to ATG/WebSphere).

That is the top down approach employed by less 5% of service providers, the bottom-up approach is used by 95%. The difference, quite simply time, bottom-up service providers use time (hence are cheap), top-down use knowledge (hence expensive).

So once you have your budget, you can then see whether you want time based, knowledge based, or a combination. There will always be that tradeoff, no matter what you do, unless you are very lucky and someone has undervalued their skills. The problem with the time based is that the longer it takes the more risk you introduce to the business. We normally work on a top 20% and top 5% basis, but link with people who are top 5%, top 1% and top 0.1% (Large Enterprise experience for you).

The problem is 90% think they are in the top 10%, so how do you tell the real top providers, time. The people who supply time have no time to wait, the people who supply knowledge will happily wait for as long as it takes, and will go off and do something else in the meantime. Funny how it works, you just need to decide whether you want time (cheap and months to years) or knowledge (expensive and days to weeks), and at what combination taking in to account risk (Google moved to top-down recently hence the rapid decline in rankings).

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    Dude...you have a lot of answers here where you throw a lot of numbers (amounts and percents). Care to explain how you got to those numbers. – Marius Sep 24 '13 at 10:16
  • He makes it all up. The only time he cites a source, is when the source is himself. Best thing is to ignore him, he's nothing but a troll going round making up fictional statements. – choco-loo Oct 11 '14 at 19:35
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Go to Magento certified directory, and find the user in your country/locality. Their are no contact details given, but a quick Google search of the name will land you somewhere. Here is the link of directory: https://www.magentocommerce.com/certification/directory/

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