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Freelancer vs Web Development Company: what to choose?

Freelancer vs Web Development Company: what to choose?

Hi! My name is Julia and I’m part of the 2muchcoffee development team. Having worked for 10 years with freelancers, dev teams and clients, we have accumulated a lot of experience dealing with startups (developing MVP from scratch) and serving enterprise companies on a variety of projects. In this article, we will give some of our advice and experiences that may help you decide whether a freelancer or a dev team is right for your project.

Short description of the article

  • Intro
  • Checklist for the business owner to choose between freelancer and development company
  • Short plan to hire the best staff
  • Additional things to consider
  • Conclusion

Intro

Having a new startup idea is great, but do you know who will be able to go along with your project until the release?

Product owners may consider whether to choose a freelance web developer or a development company based on the scope of tasks, complexity and deadlines. It’s important to find a reliable, responsible and skilled partner that will follow your expectations and actual budget.

Actually, nowadays product owner with the detailed specification is like a unicorn — quite impossible to meet. Due to the fact the world is full of different bright opportunities, it might be overwhelming for business owners to think every little detail through it. Practically, it is a real pleasure to work with such projects, that is why freelance developers and dev companies are ready to assist those startups to implement their truly great ideas to life.

Before making a decision you might consider all the pros and cons of each option. It is crucial to mention that there is no “bad” or “good” choice, therefore, you should evaluate these options from different perspectives and decide on your own what will suit you the best.

So let’s say you have a great idea for the new product. What is the next step?

Checklist for the business owner to choose between freelancer and development company

Checklist for the business owner to choose between freelancer and development company
Having a great idea is perfect but without the thoughtful planning, the new-coming task or suggestion might have a fatal result.
Checklist for the business owner to choose between freelancer and development company
  1. You already have detailed specification for business tasks

Let’s be honest, it’s a long and exhausting process. Furthermore, it has to be done from the very beginning of each project creation. Having a great idea is a start. But without thoughtful planning, any new task or suggestion might have a fatal result for the further development of your project. You should know — developers might do everything exactly with your requirements, but will it bring your project closer to release without detailed specification?

Here comes your first decision — do it on your own and provide separate freelancer with daily upcoming tasks or provide what you have at the moment to the dev company and ask for estimations or suggestion on the tasks flow.

2. You have a technical background (CTO, architect)

The architecture, as well as the other technologies for your new project, are an equivalent of the building’s foundation. It should be as strong as possible from the very start, in other way, it will negatively affect you as a business owner. Sooner or later you realize that it is impossible to scale the application due to errors. Having an architect in the team is “must have” for the high-skilled development company, so you will be able to get sort of tips and tricks for your project. But it is also possible that a freelancer has such experience on this or similar platform.

3. You already have UI/UX design

Do you? If you don’t you can decide whether to hire separate freelancers both Web, Mobile App developer as well as UI/UX designer or to have all in one solution with the development company. Surely you will save your time just hiring professionals from dev company rather than searching for freelancers with the required level of expertise separately.

4. You have MVP scope

Have you already cut your tech specification to make the early release of your BETA product? If you haven’t, we recommend you to do so before hiring any dev team or a freelancer. Cut, cut, cut and then start development. The time is a valuable and irretrievable thing, therefore while trying to make the perfect product you might lose time and market advantage. Make your MVP as simple as possible and indicate only really needful functions and several killer-features. This move will bring the attention of the public and make your product viral. Spend more time testing your BETA with featured part of your early followers, get their responses, opinions, suggestions. It will show the strengths and weaknesses of the new project and subsequently will shape your future actions. So, weaknesses will be improved and strengths will become the core feature that will show that you are on the right way!

In that case, the team of dev company will be able to suggest your idea different variations that will suits you the best, while the freelancers will probably not discuss this issue in its full scope due to the fact his main area of expertise is coding.

5. You have a project manager on your side to go through the task

In case you feel comfortable with technical terminology or you have a project manager on your side — your new project is safe. If not, you really should consider a dev company to assist you in the most tricky questions related to your new product. Do not underestimate the role of project manager that acts as a link between developers and you. In addition, the project manager is responsible to follow deadlines and main features of detailed specification for business tasks.

In that regard, not every freelancer could perform the main responsibilities of the project manager that could lead to misunderstanding and misinterpretation between you, as a product owner, and a freelancer, as an executor of your new project. In order to achieve the best implementation of product development the crucial place allotted to the communication — from the knowledge of foreign languages (e.g. English) to cover the international market to tech languages (e.g. Javascript) to build a unique product.

6. You got a limited budget

Your ideas and choices have a direct correlation to your budget and time. Implementing the MVP strategy will have a beneficial impact on many levels. At the very beginning, you need to be sure that your new ideas will have a demand in the market. Surely, MVP will tell you this before the final release of the product. That is why a lot of your financial expenses will be saved. Unlike freelancers, the dev companies can help you to shape your MVP strategy as well as to assist in framing monetization strategy before your product is developed.

7. You have a running business and need additional staff to complete it

Both freelancer and dev team have the same opportunities within this category. The skills are the most essential currency in the contemporary world. The fast-changing innovation and development of new technologies make a perfect environment for the multiskilled and multitasking professionals of today.

No matter who you chose you still need the best brains.

Short plan to hire the best staff

Short plan to hire the best development staff

As a product owner, you should consider additional points in order to make your work easier that subsequently lead to the success of your new business.

Short plan to hire the best development staff

The freelance or B2B platforms and Marketplaces for legit vendors (YouTeam, Upwork, SourceSeek, Aciety) are the first places that you should visit in order to make a decision about your potential staff. Nowadays there are a wide variety of such platforms where the FAQs, terms, and conditions are described.

You should carefully familiarize with the development opportunities and decide on the tech stack for product development. After those steps, you could write an open proposal or sent an invitation to the precise person/company. We recommend that you look through a portfolio of candidates and familiarize yourself with the job success level of each candidate, as well as feedback from their previous employers. We suggest you check out Clutch where the above-mentioned information could be found.

Another piece of advice from us is to schedule Skype calls to collect more information about the potential candidate. To create a clear vision about the qualification of potential candidate you could ask to do a test task or look his profile through Github. It is needless to say that the responses to your proposal should be put under scrutiny.

Just several things more

Just several things more
  • Cost of services
  • Reliability
  • Project involvement
  • Replaceability
  • Full-cycle solution

Cost of services

Web companies are usually more expensive compared to freelancers. However, you need to take into account the diversity of skills and qualifications of the people who will be working on your project. While a freelancer may be qualified in a specific area, a dev company can present a wide variety of designers, tech and marketing managers that all together contribute to the development of your idea. The latter may be a better option unless you are looking exactly for a skilled professional in a particular field.

As the saying goes: “Buy cheap, buy twice”. You should realize that with a relatively higher cost of dev companies’ services you buy the guarantees of the high-quality product developed by collective expertise.

Reliability

You need to be sure about the responsibility and competence of the staff you will be cooperating with. While freelancers quite usually have temporary goals, the dev companies pursue a long-term plan.

Project involvement

There is a certain level of professionalism when it comes to cooperation with a dev company. The whole team makes the contribution to your product, consequently, produce a better version of the previous ideas by listening, discussing and suggesting different solutions for your new business. On the other hand, direct communication with freelancer might create misunderstandings.

Replaceability

Availability is a crucial element in this business. As an owner, you need to have guarantees that the staff that you hired will be accessible during the whole period of development of your product. The dev team is great in that regard. In case a hired developer could not exercise his duties anymore (for some reasons), there is an opportunity to replace your current staff to another one with the same level of expertise and skills.

In contrast, working with a freelance developer you risk the sustainability of your project’s development for the obvious reason — a freelancer is not able to delegate your project to no one, therefore it might result as refuse to continue working on the project. For you, as an owner, it will be time-consuming to find another freelancer (with the relatively the same level of expertise) who will be willing to finish the development of your product. However, it will not guarantee the successful release of your product with all mention changes and shifts in schedule.

Full-cycle solution

It is not a secret, that for the startups and big projects the dev companies is a perfect choice. The company can offer a full cycle of services such as professional consulting, business analysis, and business idea evaluation. These stages are very important, especially if you’re a young entrepreneur trying to build a startup.

Conclusion

It is totally up to you to chose either freelancer or development company for implementing your next product. Surely, the first difference that comes to your mind in favor of a freelancer is a cost of the services. Nevertheless, as the saying goes: “Buy cheap, buy twice” you should realize that with a relatively higher cost of dev companies’ services you buy the guarantees of the high-quality product developed by collective expertise. Depending on the complexity of your project you might have access to the broadening scope of professionals in different fields (design, architect, programming, video and content writing). Therefore, the product’s required level of expertise is concentrating in one company which is time- and budget-saving option for every business owner.
 
In addition, having a detailed specification for your future business is a must-have requirement that will lead your product to an easier process of development and successful release. Dev companies are here for you in case you do not have a technical background but always want to release your idea in IT environment or you do not have a skilfull project manager on your side to assist you with that. The professional dev team will help you to implement MVP of your idea and the further analysis on that regard as well as implement a full-cycle solution that is the best option for startups and large-scale business.

Got a bold idea for your next project? Let’s do it together!

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