tl;dr: screw your price driven decision making strategy. If the only thing you’re interested in is the price of someone doing contract or project work for you, please don’t call again.
I can see that a daily rate is one of many criterias for selecting someone to do a job. But if it’s your only one, you should neither expect that the result of this narrow search function has anything to do with quality, nor should you wonder why the good people are not interested in working for you. If there are no people in your organization who can actually, well, screen candidates and figure out who might be a good fit, that’s unfortunate and quite telling. Since I assume this is how you’re hiring process is generally designed I don’t expect too much talent to be around.
A contractor or consultant is more than just an employee with frequently changing employers. We have to choose technologies, stay up to date, market ourselves, manage finances and, most importantly, do a great job all the time. There’s a certain number of days in a month I can sell a number of days that still allows me to get all the extra stuff done and stay on top of things. This also means that I sometimes research some problems I encounter in a project I’m helping you with without billing any of it – sometimes while taking a shower, sometimes while running.
It’s okay if you have budgetary constraints that need to be adressed: but that’s something you have to take care of. I’m not doing this job for free because I like programming so, so much. Of course I like to do it a lot but if you want me to work for you that’s still called, well, work. And work needs to be paid. And if your first idea while talking to me is to lower my rate so you’re getting a better deal, that’s pretty much all I need to know about you.
Oh, and while we’re at it: I’m going the extra mile more often than not, and I don’t have a problem working weekends or nights if pay is appropriate and there’s a goal we need to reach. If you make me fight for my money afterwards, I’ll think about that next time when it comes to deploying a server fix at 1am.
In case you’re wondering why I’m so upset about this whole topic is that I get hired to fix projects that were originally developed by rather “inexperienced”, yet cheap developers. There’s a German saying that, literally translated, goes like “buying things cheap means buying them twice”, and in the end, it stands true.
I still wish you the best of luck with your project – call me if you need anything. Just don’t expect me to sell you a BMW for the price of a KIA with me coming up for the difference.
Thanks to Marc and Lukas for proofreading.