Freelancer vs Outsourcing Company: Which One Is the Best for Software Development?
When you seek professional web development or mobile app development, there are several options you can consider. Firstly, and most obviously, you can do the job yourself. But that would presume a certain level of skill and lots of hours of commitment. A second option is to hire an app developer who would do it for you. And here is where things get tricky. What to choose: freelancer or company for app development?
There are people who claim they can handle the job of website or app development single-handedly. Such freelancers have decent portfolios, and their previous works may look pretty good, indeed. On the other hand, there are these web development agencies, companies with several dozen staff and multi-thousand dollar budgets. So, what’s the catch? If one person can do the job, why hire a whole bunch of people for it? Or maybe the question is vice versa – if agencies exist, can website development be really handled by one man?
In this article, we will try to figure out the benefits of hiring a freelancer, and compare them to the benefits of hiring a company. We will try to identify pros and cons of hiring a company, and see which cases each type of contractor suits best.
Benefits of hiring a freelancer
Let us start with some undisputable benefits of hiring a freelancer.
- Communication. When you deal with just one person, that person is responsible only for themselves and their own scope of work. This fact simplifies communication drastically. A freelancer will not have the option of telling you they are late on schedule because of someone else.
- Flexibility. Freelancers are fine with working odd hours. They don’t have to operate during business hours. They can update your website late at night, write code anytime or post social media feeds early in the morning. You’ll just need to be clear about what you want done, and they’ll pick the time to do the work optimally.
- Affordability. The freelancer will charge for a full range of their services, but in the end you are paying only for the work itself. The company will always include other expenses on the bill. That is why, in the vast majority of cases, hiring a freelancer will be less costly than hiring a company.
- Swiftness. Freelancers are motivated to do a good job, fast. They know it’s in their best interest to exceed your expectations and be reliable. They want to get the job done, and don’t have time to waste on gossip or office politics.
Disadvantages of hiring a freelancer
We almost hear you saying ‘why not go for a freelancer, then?’ Well, there are always two sides to the coin. Let us look at some disadvantages of hiring a freelancer.
- Availability. A good, reputable freelancer will always work on multiple projects at the same time. it is quite possible that the freelancer of your choice will be unavailable when you need them. With some negotiation and planning on both sides, you can often find a solution but if you desperately need somebody immediately, don’t presume they are free.
- Dependability. While most freelancers strive to get the job done as fast as they can, they will never consider themselves your employee or subordinate. This means that they may drown in their personal matters without feeling obliged letting you know. And you won’t really be able to do anything about it.
- Confidentiality. In the IT business, confidentiality often means survival on the market. Of course, you can ask that your freelancers sign a non-disclosure agreement, but you’ll still have to weigh up the risks. The same freelancer working for you today may be teaming up with your competitor tomorrow.
Now that the pros and cons of hiring a freelancer are clear, let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of hiring an outsourcing software development company.
Benefits of hiring a company
First of all, you have to admit: one person can only do so much. A company will always be able to provide a wider range of services, and present more than just one solution. A company also has access to all of the tools and resources required for not only building a website, but keeping it up and running as well. So, let us quickly summarize the pros of outsourcing company:
- Collective expertise. You will receive services from more than one professional. Your end product will be made by professionals with expertise in more than one area including design, programming, video development and content writing.
- Versatile back-end. Without the right coding, your website may not display or function on all platforms equally well. The back-end created specially for your website’s needs will guarantee smooth performance and make possible further fine tuning easier.
- Continuous support. A web design company won’t abandon you as soon as your site is completed. They will be around to provide you with ongoing support. By comparison, a single developer may not have all of the time and tools necessary to help you keep your site running for a long time.
- World-class product. There rarely are any award-winning websites among those designed by freelancers. All elegant, swift, smooth and appealing solutions are made by teams. If you want anything other than a spiced up template, hiring a freelancer is probably not your option.
Disadvantages of hiring a company
Needless to say, the option of hiring an outsourcing company has its drawbacks. We tried to outline the major ones below:
- Higher expenses. As it has been mentioned, employing a team is nearly always more costly than hiring a single person. A company will also have to bear expenses other than service itself (e.g. office rent, taxes, utilities, etc.).
- Extended timeframe. Companies don't do things quickly - and it isn’t because they don’t want to. Internal processes and communications simply take more time. While being able to deliver a better end product than a freelancer, the company will most likely work on it for twice as long.
- Miscommunication. If you hire a company, you will probably communicate most of your ideas through a single manager, while the actual work will be done by people you’ll never meet. This naturally increases the chances that something can be interpreted wrong. Written roadmaps and documents can help here, but the chance will always remain.
Freelancer vs company
Now that we are familiar with pros and cons of both freelancers and outsourcing companies, let us draw up a quick comparison chart, to see who wins in each perspective of web development.
Range of services
Which one is best for website development?
Designing and developing a good website is a complex and multi-staged process. The question of whether to hire a freelancer or a full-scale web development company depends greatly on what you want the resulting website to achieve. Do you want a website that serves merely a presenter purpose? Do you wish to test your business idea with it, to see how market responds? Do you need to launch a website quickly and keep the expenses to a minimum? Well, then hiring a freelancer may be your choice.
However, you have to keep a few things in mind. A website made by a freelancer will only serve a strictly defined purpose. It will not be able to expand, extend or update. It will not receive continuous support and will not be able to adapt to evolving web standards. That is why we recommend hiring a company. By investing a little more in terms of time and money you will receive a product capable of fulfilling various objectives of your growing business for years to come.
Which one is the best for app development?
The scope of app development may seem a bit smaller than that of a website. An app is developed to function only in a specific environment, and will not require optimization for every browser, platform or operating system. And, contrary to websites, there are examples of successful apps developed by freelancers. So, in outsourcing app development, you have nearly a 50/50 choice. If you need a simple app and expect shorter delivery terms, go with a freelancer. If you are aiming higher and want your app compete with market leaders, then turn to a company.
So, what is more popular now - freelancers or companies? Hard to say. Growth of freelancer businesses around the world is perceived by some as beginning of a ‘new era’ of contracting. But we wouldn’t be so sure. There are tasks that only a team can successfully accomplish. In your craving for the best end product, which would fully suit your business objectives, make sure you realize if your task is one of such.