I made those comments from the point-of-view, of course, from that of the business owner, and BTW not for advertising purposes. But I also made them from the perspective of a guy who knows that he has no business whatsoever in a Home Depot store. No, every time I bought something from that place, I used it to screw-up something until I finally learned my lesson ... and, for all the years I lived in Phoenix, my lesson’s name was Paul Stringer. (Yeah, you can take that as an endorsement, to this day, if he’s still in business.) I could tell Paul what I wanted, and he would quote me a price, and he and his team would do the work as-promised and give me a warranty on the result. I never forgot that lesson. Instead, I structured what is now a prosperous twenty-plus year-old business around those principles.
Another guy whose name now escapes me caught me flat-footed with a busted water pipe, quickly fixed the problem, checked the rest of the piping in the house and found it good, charged me fifty bucks and left me a stack of business cards. Smart man. I would have had to pay him whatever he demanded, and I would have regretted it ever since, but he didn’t. (And, yep, the busted water pipe was courtesy of another weekend “Homer,” my predecessor owner of that place, who apparently didn’t know that it’s a no-no to fasten a galvanized pipe fitting to a copper piping system in a place with hard water. The HD price-tag was still on it.) I still don’t know how to braze two pieces of copper pipe together with a blowtorch, but I have the business-cards of several local people who do, and their pipe-joints don’t leak or break off in my hand. “Guaranteed. I Like That.™”
Know what you want the result to be, then shop for a professional corporation who can give you both a written specification of the results that you will obtain, and that can warrant in-writing that this is what you will receive. Then, check their references carefully. Be aware that, just as you find yourself sorting-through workers who are not qualified, they could find themselves sorting-through prospects who are not qualified, if they allowed it. The businesses of construction, home repair, and software engineering really are not that different, in many ways, and even there, the “Home Depot analogy” once again holds true.
You will find, lit up in bright lights on almost every street-corner, the companies who will merely sell you brightly packaged stuff and let you go home and screw-up with it any way you like. The pros don’t go there. In my experience (Your Mileage May Vary™), they rarely, if ever, accept work from those places, because they know that those stores will take work from anyone anywhere an shovel it off to them to figure out. (Prospects, like suppliers and subcontractors, must be carefully vetted, because the name of this game is to come away with both a satisfied customer and a profit.) They’re discriminating as to who they buy from, who they subcontract work to, and who they engage as clients. They by-and-large don’t advertise anymore. They operate by word-of-mouth and their own reputation. They charge more money than anybody else does, and you can see why at a glance.
And, where do you find those people, in the Perl community? You find them right here, and BTW some of the very best ones rarely comment at all. AFAIK, this is The Place.
In reply to Re^3: How do you find good perl programmers to hire