You might find yourself in a situation where you have a working sports betting or trading strategy and you would like to automate it. Automation will help you to free up your time, take out emotions and ensure consistent results. Many bookmakers as well as betting exchanges such as Betfair, Betdaq, etc. offer API interfaces which allow to automate the process of placing orders on a betting market.
If you do not possess programming skills you might think about hiring a software developer to do programming tasks for you. A software developer could help you with the programming of a backtesting engine, coding and deployment of betting strategies as well as monitoring.
There are plenty of resources available online to learn programming skills - Python courses on edx might be a good starting point. However, it takes months if not years to become proficient and develop the coding skills to successfully automate and deploy betting strategies. Hiring a programmer might be a valid alternative, especially if you already have a working strategy and know exactly what you need.
Market Research on Configurable Betting Tools
There are already software tools which allow automated betting and trading available for you to purchase. As a user, you can define rules for execution of orders and the software places the order on the market when certain criteria are met. This means that an automated betting or trading bot can be created via configuration.
I don't want to get into the details of such automation tools and as always, there are pros and cons. I recommend you to do some market research on betting automation tools. Maybe one of the existing tools meets your requirements?
Step by Step Guide to Outsource Betting Automation
If there is no existing tool readily available on the market for you, you might consider to hire a programmer to develop a specific betting script or tool for you. The following sections could guide you through the process of outsourcing betting automation:
1. Prepare Yourself
Write a Specification
It will help to write down a specification for the betting or trading program that you want to hire a programmer for. The specification for the betting or trading script should include a summary of what you expect from the script as well as details as far as possible. You might want to think about any user interaction with the script? Is there a user interface required and how should it look like? Where do you want to run the script? Should it be fully automated on a virtual private server or do you require to run the script on your workstation? Is there any hardware or software requirement?
The process of writing your thoughts down in a clear an precise manner will help you to reflect what you actually want and need. It will later also serve as specification or requirements for the programmer that you intend to hire.
Costs of Developing a Betting Bot
Another important aspect to consider is the costs for the betting automation. You can easily find surveys online with daily rates of software developers, for a python programmer it is on average around 500-600 GBP per day. If you could estimate the complexity of your program and what know much time is needed to complete, you would roughly know the costs for the betting automation. However, estimating the effort might be difficult or almost impossible if you do not have any previous experience. Hence, it might be worth to look at the automation from a different angle: How much is it worth for you to have a specific sports betting or trading strategy automated? If you have a working sports betting or trading strategy that you would like to automate, you can maybe come up with an expected monthly profit for a certain time in the future before the edge of your strategy disappears.
It is essential to contact multiple programmers and get various offers for comparison. Make sure that the scope of all the offers is the same, otherwise it might be difficult to compare them.
I also recommend to agree on paying in installments: Maybe a first rate upfront once you come to an agreement with the software developer, a second rate once the code is handed over to you and a final payment after 2 weeks of using the script in production. This will help you to test the script under real market conditions and in case there are any problems with the script, you can still demand fixes to solve the open issues.
In the end your code gets written by a software developer who is a human being. Not all the developers have the same level of experience, it typically ranges from junior developers which just finished their degree up to senior developers with multiple years of programming experience. Obviously it also matters what the developer is experience in: Someone with previous betting automation experience might be a better fit for your job than someone with coding skills but no prior exposure to betting markets.
And as the experience level varies, so does the quality: I would only hire a programmer with previous experience in betting automation / bot creation and pay a higher price for it. I would also expect code that is covered with tests, has logging and uses version control. For me it would also be important to have the full source code - not only the binary file in case I want to hire someone else in the future to make some changes. If you buy cheap you might pay twice. And with twice I mean losses in betting or trading execution due to bugs in the code.
It might also be cheaper to hire a software developer or an agency abroad but there might also be a quality risk associated with it: Difficulties in communication could lead to quality issues and in the end you might not get what you asked for.
When do you expect to have the betting bot delivered to you? For a larger projects, e.g. a more complex backtesting engine with data acquisition etc. it would also make sense to define milestones.
Intellectual Property - Protect your Betting or Trading Strategy
If you have a working sports betting or trading strategy and hire a coder to program a betting automation bot, there is a risk that the coder simply uses the script and runs it against his own bookmaker or betting exchange account. This means that effectively you have shared your betting strategy, you are competing with your bot in the same market as the coder's bot. This would inevitably reduce or remove the edge.
There are various approaches to protect your intellectual property and strategies: You might consult with a law firm, attorney or solicitor regarding the option of non-disclosure agreements. I am not in a position to give legal advice - this article is no legal advice.
It might also help to not include all the details of the betting strategy in the specifications: Instead of specifying details on which markets, which filters, exit strategies etc. it might be wiser to hire a developer to create a configurable betting bot. With this I mean that you can use the bot but specify certain parameters when starting it up. When automating the Lay the Draw strategy you could for instance have a filter to select only certain football leagues - the coder would then not know in which leagues in detail you apply the strategy. Same might be for exits of trading strategies: You could close a position max after x minutes of holding it - whereby you as a user can specify the maximum time a position is open. In this case the coder does not no who you use the bot in detail, he would need to collect historical data himself to figure out which parameters to use to make the betting bot profitable.
2. Approach and Hire a Software Developer / Agency
Once you have prepared yourself it is time to get in contact with programmers or software developer agencies. I think it is mandatory to contact multiple, to compare offers as well as their services.
There are various market places available on the web to hire software developers. One example for such site is upwork where you will find various job postings when you search for "betfair" for instance. You would need to write up a job listing - again please do not disclose your trading strategy in the description. Once you have published your job offer, you will get various proposals, can compare them and then decide to hire a freelancer. I would say that the experience of developers on such platforms range from absolute beginners to more advanced. I would hesitate to hire someone to do any coding if no such work was done previously.
Another approach might be to check for betting scripts or a code base on github. You might be able to contact developers and ask if they are interested in doing freelancing work for you. When someone is maintaining betting and trading related code in public you can typically expect better quality.
For larger projects you might look at hiring a software development agency that can create a larger code base in shorter time. Again, I would contact various agencies to get offers for a comparison.
Once you have taken all the various factors into account such as costs, time, your first impression etc. it is time to make a decision and to place the order.
3. Communicate Efficiently
Whilst the software developer or agency is working on your task you should communicate efficiently. It is important to be responsive in case any questions arise. Typically it is not necessary to question the progress every day but it doesn't hurt to ask for updates every couple of days.
Whilst the programmer is working on your task the problem various issues can come up which you should be prepared for: Projects often run over budget and or might take longer than initially assumed. It is important to consider this risk and have good communication in place to resolve.
4. Putting the Automation into Production
The last step is then to put the code into production. I would recommend to do a thorough test whilst reducing the risk. If it is a trading bot I would certainly start off with minimum staking amount and only increase the stake after successful initial tests.
It pays off to maintain a good relationship with the programmer. In the future, you might want some maintenance or changes of the code.
Please do not hesitate to contact us in case you have any questions regarding hiring a software developer to automate sports betting or trading.