8 Signs Your Freelance Web Developer Needs To Be Fired

“Are we going to fire the web developer?”

Everyone knows the importance of a good freelancing relationship. It’s almost like a marriage, except more interesting and usually more successful. Very few affairs of the heart go sour, but even fewer freelancer-client relationships prove successful in the long run. 

That is because both clients and freelance developers are people, and people have annoying, fascinating, and sometimes downright infuriating ways of behaving. This means that all too often we choose to stick with someone unwisely or ditch them prematurely in an effort to maintain order, or out of fear or spite. (Here are some signs that your SEO needs to be fired .)

5 Mistakes You Are Making As A Freelance Web Developer
Key Takeaways
Freelance web developers can be crucial for a business but knowing when to fire them is important
Signs that your freelance web developer should be fired include missed deadlines, lack of communication, and poor quality work
Before firing a freelance web developer, try to address any issues and give them an opportunity to improve
When hiring a freelance web developer, do your research and set clear expectations to avoid potential issues
Regular communication and feedback can help ensure a successful working relationship with a freelance web developer

1. The Freelancer Is Not Returning Phone Calls Or Emails

A freelancer who’s not responding to your calls or emails is a big red flag. Working with a freelancer can be challenging: you have to learn how to manage your time, find a way for them to understand your business, and make sure they’re on the right track with their work. But if you’re finding it difficult even to get in touch with your developer, that might indicate bigger problems down the line.

You want someone who’s easy to reach, especially if you have questions about what they’re working on. It’ll also help ensure that they finish projects sooner rather than later—developers who aren’t reliable will often take longer than expected because they weren’t focused on the job at hand.

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2. The Site Looks Like It Was Built In 1998

Your freelance web developer should know to avoid these signs of dated design:

Poorly formatted text. What do you think of when you see a blocky, poorly-formatted passage of text? You may have an image in your head of the kind of website that hasn’t been updated since 1998. 

Pages with large blocks of walls of text are off-putting and can be difficult to read. Instead, they should be broken up into multiple paragraphs with clear subheadings, bullet-point lists, and even bolded phrases to draw attention to important information. If a site has clearly not been updated for years, it may also have outmoded HTML formatting tags like or.

These tags were used as directives for how certain elements would look before the advent of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), which allow developers to keep all styling information in one place and separate from the content itself.

3. Lack Of Responsiveness

Responsive websites are those that adapt their layout according to screen size so that they’re optimized for viewing on everything from desktop computers to tablets and smartphones. In the past decade or so, it’s become standard practice for websites (and emails!) to be responsive.

Without this crucial functionality, people who access your website via phones and tablets will get a less-than-optimal experience which can mean they’ll turn away from your site altogether! If your freelance web developer is not implementing responsive design features on your site, then he/she needs to go.

4. Your Site Crashes Several Times Per Day

A website being down or offline is a big deal. Usually, that means none of your site’s content no product descriptions, no blog posts, and no shopping cart or checkout system is accessible to visitors. This isn’t just inconvenient for users; it also affects your search engine rankings and the credibility of your business.

If you’re seeing this issue often (like several times a day), it could be because of an issue with the hosting provider who hosts your server on its network. However, if it’s happening infrequently (once every few weeks), there could be a problem with how your code is written. Your developer should be able to fix this by optimizing certain aspects of your website’s performance and making sure it has enough bandwidth to serve all requests without crashing.[

Starting a freelance web development business can be a daunting task, but with the right strategies, it can be a rewarding and lucrative career. Our guide on how to build a freelance web development business offers practical advice on building a successful business in the web development industry.

5. It’s Been Months And The Project Still Isn’t Done

If you’re paying a freelancer by the hour, you should be getting monthly updates on the status of your project. If they’re not being upfront with you about what’s being done and when it’s probably because they don’t want to admit that they don’t have the resources or know-how to finish on time. 

Of course, if this is true, you’ll need to decide whether or not it’s worth it to invest more money in order for them to develop the necessary skills for completing your project. You might also choose to consider hiring a new developer who already has those skills in place but keep in mind that time is money and there will be more lost time (and therefore more money) on your hands if you start over with someone else.

6. You Start Getting Spam Or Other Weird Emails

If you’ve been getting spam or other strange emails from your website, you might have a problem. The issue could be that your site was hacked, which is bad enough on its own. But there’s also a chance that your developer installed a backdoor, which would give him access to anything he wants on your site including all of your company’s data and information.

This is serious business. If this goes unchecked, it could result in everything from loss of reputation to losses in revenue to potential legal trouble (for example, if the web developer were to sell your customer’s contact info).

The first step is changing all of your passwords and running a scan on your website with an anti-virus software program. After that, contact the web hosting company that hosts the server where the site is located and ask them for help investigating what went wrong and how you can secure any weak spots.

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7. You Get An Angry Cease And Desist Letter From Somebody Else Claiming Your Website Has Stolen Copyrighted Material

A professional web developer is more likely to be on top of legal issues such as these and can recommend an experienced intellectual property lawyer if needed. If you are the target of a cease and desist letter over copyright infringement, the freelance developer may try to sidestep blame by claiming your website was built using a pre-made theme or template that he or she had no control over. 

While this may be true (and there are some legitimate copyright issues related to website templates), it still doesn’t get the freelancer off the hook. As the creator of your site, he or she should have been aware that certain themes have been known for containing unlicensed content in their code. In general, it’s best to steer clear of these particular themes if you want to tread lightly when it comes to copyright law.

Even if you don’t receive a cease and desist letter from an aggrieved party, you may still want to do some additional research into whether your site contains unlicensed content especially if you plan on holding on to your copyright-infringing freelancer for any length of time.

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9. They Use Stock Images That Are Obviously Purchased

There are several signs that a freelance web developer is not up to snuff in terms of their development and design skills, but one of the easiest red flags to spot is the use of stock images. 

Stock images are photos or graphics that have been licensed out for multiple uses and can be purchased through online services such as iStockphoto.com or Shutterstock.com. As a client who wants to showcase your company’s originality and dedication to spreading the word about the work you do, you want graphics that reflect your brand identity and stock images don’t do this.

Not only do stock images fail at properly conveying your message, but they can also be jarringly mismatched with your site’s overall design. For example, let’s say you run an educational outreach program for kids focused on sustainability, but your website features a photo of someone using a computer keyboard (are you noticing how common this image is yet?). You want people to get excited about what you do by looking at your website; it should capture their interest and make them feel compelled to learn more about what sets you apart from the competition.

If you see stock images on the websites created by your freelancer development team members, consider firing them immediately and finding someone else who can deliver custom graphics that will serve as an asset rather than detract from what makes your business unique in the first place.

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10. The Freelancer Is Trying To Take On Too Many Jobs At Once And Doesn’t Have Time To Devote To Yours

You’ll be delighted to know that the freelancer has too many clients. Over time, the number of clients you have decreased because they all get taken care of by the same person (the freelancer), who’s only busy with one or two projects at any given time. It’s important to take note of this trend; as your project becomes more critical, you may need to switch to a different freelancer for it if this is happening.

Your project is not going well either. You’ve heard how important it is that you do background research on your web developer before hiring them, and yet despite their past work experience, it doesn’t seem like the quality of their code matches up with what you’re getting from them. Maybe it’s a lack of accountability they don’t keep track of what they’re doing or necessarily even understand why they’re writing code in a certain way.

Or maybe they’re just being lazy and not doing a good job at all; after all, no one expects you to lead every single aspect of a project yourself! Whatever it is, none of these things are making life easier on you so far and can only lead to more trouble down the road.

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Final Thought

There are so many factors that can contribute to a developer’s success – and failure – as a freelancer. From personality characteristics to technical issues, it’s hard to make a complete list of what qualifies one for the “top” of their field. However, the opposite could be said as well – there are also plenty of potential warning signs that indicate the time is better spent finding a replacement. 

Any freelance web developer should be able to do the work they promise, on time and within budget. But if they fail to do so without providing an explanation, then something very wrong is going on. If you need more convincing than that though, here are eight red flags that suggest your freelance web developer is not capable of doing the job he or she has been hired to perform.

We hope this article has helped clarify some key issues related to working with freelance web developers. Having a reliable freelancer on hand can save your business time and money over hiring someone full-time. Just remember: before firing one freelancer, make sure to have another lined up ready to take their place!

Further Reading

If you want to learn more about when to fire your web designer or freelance client, check out these articles:

Signs That You Should Fire Your Web Designer or Developer: This article provides a comprehensive list of signs that your web designer or developer is not the right fit for your project.

5 Signs That Will Let You Know When to Fire Your Freelance Client: If you’re a freelancer looking to identify problematic clients, this article outlines common red flags to watch out for.

5 Signs It’s Time to Fire Your Freelance Client: This article focuses on the freelancer’s perspective and provides actionable steps to help you navigate challenging client relationships.


What are some signs that my web designer or developer needs to be fired?

Some signs that your web designer or developer may need to be fired include missed deadlines, poor communication, a lack of attention to detail, and a failure to deliver work that meets your expectations.

How can I tell if a freelance client is not a good fit for me?

Some warning signs that a freelance client may not be a good fit include unreasonable demands, a lack of respect for your expertise, a failure to pay on time, and a history of difficult relationships with other freelancers.

What should I do if I need to fire my web designer or developer?

If you need to fire your web designer or developer, it’s important to be clear and direct in your communication. Explain why you are ending the relationship and provide feedback on what could have been done differently. Be professional and respectful, but firm in your decision.

Can I fire a freelance client even if we have a contract?

Yes, you can fire a freelance client even if you have a contract, as long as you follow the terms of the contract and any applicable laws. Review your contract carefully before taking any action, and be sure to document any issues that arise.

How can I avoid hiring the wrong web designer or developer in the first place?

To avoid hiring the wrong web designer or developer, do your research and ask for references from past clients. Look for someone with experience in your industry and a track record of delivering high-quality work. Be clear about your expectations and goals from the outset, and establish open lines of communication throughout the project.

 How Do I Find A Good Freelance Web Developer?

To find a good freelance web developer, you need to do some homework. Do your research. Ask around and see if anyone has any recommendations. Check out their online reviews and portfolio of work, and don’t be afraid to ask for references from past clients to that you can reach out. Also, make sure the freelancer is clear about what their costs are if they don’t clearly explain that upfront, it might be time to move on.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Freelance Web Developer?

The costs of hiring a freelance web developer vary widely depending on your project and the experience of the person you’re hiring. There are plenty of great resources online that can help you determine what a fair price is, but as a rule of thumb, if they’re charging you an arm and a leg in comparison with other developers in the same field, it’s time to look elsewhere!

How Do I Know If A Web Developer Is Good?

Good question! It’s hard to tell sometimes if a freelancer is legit. Here are a few things to look out for: responsiveness, communication quality, interpersonal skills, previous work samples, and a willingness to provide references. All of these factors should be taken into account when making decisions about who will handle your project.

How Can I Tell If A Web Developer Is A Scammer?

There are all kinds of people out there and unfortunately, not everyone is as trustworthy and honest as we would like them to be. If something seems too good to be true, or you see any red flags that might indicate that someone isn’t reliable or professional, trust your gut and find another freelancer.

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