Freelancer vs Web Development Firm
Freelancer is an individual person who is self-employed (also known as “Independent contractor”) and is not necessarily committed to a long term employment contract. Freelancers are today prominent in fields like computer programming, content writing, web design, graphic design, and website development, etc.
A WEB DEVELOPMENT FIRM on the other hand is a group of skilled individuals working together under a common company brand name (registered as a legal entity). This is a more organized and accountable form of service setup.
Some of the common decision making parameters which any client hiring a freelancer or web development firm should consider are as below:
- Service Quality,
- On time delivery,
- Cost effectiveness,
- After sale services,
- Past experience, etc.
Some basic pros & cons to help you in your selection process
- Are less expensive
- Great when you are developer and need some senior freelancer professional to help
- Great when you are short on budget and have an outstanding freelancer available full time
- Might lack in complete knowledge and experience required to add value to your overall requirement.
- Limited to the imagination and experience of one person
- No guarantee of service quality and project completion timelines as initially committed
- Break in continuity of project if persons falls ill or sudden stoppage of work if person become unavailable.
- Unless you hire a fulltime freelancer their primary focus would remain their permanent job or other work which would be their main source of income.
- Unless you know the guy personally for a year or more, you will always need to have a ‘Plan B’ for emergency.
Web Development Firms
- Tend to offer some sort of customer satisfaction guarantee.
- Are more aware about current web trends and programming languages and can provide an up-to-date solution
- You can benefit from a full team of developers and designers
- Have registered office address where you can meet the developers face-to-face for solutions.
- Expensive than freelancers
Now let’s look at some recommendations based on the client category.
Cost / Investment are usually the major decision making factors for an individual. Hence hiring a freelance would be more recommend in case of requirement like blogs, static information or brochure websites. However in case of a more complex project requirement a freelancer might not be the best option. Complex and big projects requires more organized and diversified skillsets, therefore a web development firm can be better option in such cases.
For small & medium size companies / institutes:
Quality and cost effectiveness are two important criteria for companies falling under this category. As branding is an important factor for a company hence quality plays an important role. Freelancers are usually specialize in certain skill only and it is very rare to find a freelance who has all skills required to complete any end-to-end project. Hence it’s advisable for small & medium size companies to go for a Web Development Firm who looks into all factors of project development starting from design, coding and after sale services.
For big size companies / institutes:
Quality, on time delivery and after sale services along with web and database security are important parameters of decision making. These companies are usually in need of web applications tools, ecommerce stores, or mobile applications, enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications. A freelance would not be able to provide such in-depth and complex solutions alone due to his / her skill limitations. Hence a Web Development firm is the recommended solutions to these kind of project requirements.
Attributes to Look for While Hiring a Web App Development Company
Business Model, Operations, and Practices:
The first thing to look for when hiring a company for a web application development project is the business model that they follow. There are many companies who only believe in starting and ending a project, and they would not provide any support or maintenance. If you are seeking support for the web application, it might be better to consider a company that does provide this service. Other aspects of the development company’s business model to consider are:
- Policies regarding ownership of the final code
- Type of work done: Custom or Standard
- Domains served
- Type of services offered: offshore or in-house
Experience is the most significant criteria while choosing a company to take the reins of your web application development project. You can judge the experience shown in the portfolio by checking the past applications that they have developed or upgraded. You need to rate the application on the parameters of coding, programming, development, manageability of the code, usability, design and marketing, performance delivered, load balancing capabilities, etc. If you are satisfied with all the aforementioned attributes of the application, you should keep the profile in consideration.
Although qualification plays an important role, it is not necessary that the more qualified the development outsourcing company is, the better the results will be. All that should matter is a company’s capability to keep up with the complex programming practice, and the consistency and neatness of code. The biggest advantage behind this is that even if a company could not continue on the project for some reasons, the next one would not find any difficulty in taking forward a project.
Coding Standards and Frameworks Followed:
An outsourcing firm that will take up the task of your web application development should have sound knowledge of the programming language and related tools that the software requires. The more structured the framework and the organizational coding system, the better will be the code maintainability. Also, it would lead to efficient utilization of an application’s library, components, and tools.
Extent of Services:
If your particular business requirement is for a web application development company that will deliver all the steps of the software development life cycle (SDLC), then all related capabilities should be validated in a potential outsourcing partner
Best time tracking apps for freelancers to help boost your productivity and track your work:
Price: Free for Life
Due is an extremely unobtrusive app that allows you to track time with automatic idle time detection. Simply start the timer, and a new session will start immediately. As you proceed with a project, you can use Due time tracking to generate invoices based on the hourly rates you set. This time tracking app also makes it easy to organize clients’ information by name, address, hourly rates, or even different currencies.
Price: $12/month for Solo; $49/month for Basic; $99/month for Business
Harvest is another great time-tracking option for freelancers, since you can use it to track a number of different projects at the same time, even if they contain different tasks and charge different rates. If you’re working with a team, you can even assign various tasks within a project to specific team members. Additionally, it’s extremely easy to integrate if you’re working with other apps that help with remote work, like Basecamp.
Besides the hefty pricing, Harvest’s only other major downside is that the app doesn’t include desktop monitoring options like active application or URL tracking.
TopTracker earns the number one spot on this list, since it was built by a top freelancing network specifically with freelancers in mind, and isn’t tied to any job platform. Unlike other time-tracking apps, TopTracker is completely free (without any version limitations) and gives freelancers complete control over what gets tracked and how often.
If you’re confused by the wide price range, Tick’s price depends on the number projects you have open at any given time. So if you’re a one-project-at-a-time freelancer, you can probably get away with using it free. But let’s be honest: If you were working on one project at a time, would you really need a time-tracking app? (And would you really make a livable salary?) Tick is simple, straightforward, and can be used across devices, but be wary of pricing if you’re the kind of freelancer who keeps a large number of projects open at once.
Price: Free for RescueTime Lite; $9/month for Premium
RescueTime is great for individual freelancers who want to know how they’re spending their time but don’t necessarily need to report back to any manager. Like other time-tracking apps on this list, RescueTime will give you detailed reports and an accurate picture of how you spend your days, but only to quench your own personal curiosity. The app does not send information to managers or clients.
Tools to communicate with Remote Clients
Last month, Asana underwent a major makeover. This collaboration tool transformed their visual identity, upending their old look for a fresh and quirky design that mirrors their core values. I’m a big fan of their software — as a freelancer, I can separate my work into different projects, tasks, and subtasks, while also viewing my work cohesively in one calendar. Asana makes it easy to invite freelancers to company projects, as well as assign and oversee projects. If you want to infuse your collaborations with a bit of play, turn on their flying unicorn hack!
Google’s applications work like magic because of their seamless integrations. You can talk face-to-face on a Google Hangout while you edit a Google Doc and send relevant links over Google Chat. A lot of freelancers already rely on Google to share information — its’ universality make it a no brainer for external projects.
Time magazine describes Trello as, “A web-based sticky note system that can be viewed by multiple users on desktops, tablets, and smartphones…” Not sold yet? Their visual formatting system makes tracking progress an intuitive rather than analytical process. As you move through each step, you shift the post-it notes into different columns until they pile up in a “completed” column.
Most people think of Slack as an intra-office tool, but it works just as well with external contractors. Slack’s an old-fashioned instant messaging tool rebooted for the modern workplace. It aspires to eradicate email with project-based chat rooms. Just in case you miss a conversation, Slack’s snazzy interface keeps track of each conversation. They make it easy search hashtags and keywords without fumbling through your email.
Mobilize is an emerging tool that connects companies to external networks. It helps you to communicate with groups of contractors through a single platform that incorporates targeted emails, polls, and files. Do you work with large groups of on-demand workers? Mobilize might be your best bet. Sign up for early accessto check it out.
Collaboration not only requires clear communication, it also depends on effective processes. Evaluate your current payment system — is it too tedious for you and independent contractors? With painless payments, Payable can save you time and turn your independent contractors into loyal contributors.
Non-disclosure Agreement(NDA) Template Contract for Freelancers
In the course of setting up a client or project, freelancers may come upon the “nondisclosure agreement.” This agreement generally asks that the writer not divulge certain information to the public. For example, websites may ask that you not publicly talk about their pay structure, or authors may ask that you not talk about their book or plot. This request is designed to protect the interests of your client; they want to make sure that their ideas, trade secrets and so on aren’t used by competitors.
Some specific points to look for in nondisclosure agreements include what kind of information, exactly, you’re not to disclose. For example, in the course of my writing, I sometimes talk about pay rates. Yet, many of my clients have asked that rates not be shared. So, I have to curb that. In this instance, think about your use of blogs, social networks and so on-these would generally be considered public exposure. In addition, check for time limits. Is it “forever”? Or, could you discuss the work or project after it comes to fruition (for example, of course you’d like to talk about the plot of a book you’ve edited after it’s already been published, right?).
Tips for writing effective invoice payment terms
1) Invoice Wording
It is important to come across as polite and professional while wording your invoice. Friendly phrases like ‘Please make the payment on time’, ‘Kindly pay your invoice within XX days’ and ‘Thank you for availing our service’ can increase the payment probability by more than 5 per cent. Politeness creates a positive image of the company and increases the likelihood of getting paid on time.
2) Itemised Layout
A detailed description of the invoiced items e.g. Date of goods receipt, description of goods delivered, price per unit, total price, tax amount etc. will ensure that that the vendor is clear about what he or she is paying for and the invoice has a better chance of getting paid on time. Likewise, it is important to ascertain with the customer as to what all details are mandatory and should be mentioned on the invoice to avoid invoice rejection and payment delay. Many vendors have specific requirements like provision of Purchase Order number, invoice to be made attention to a particular person or department, bill to / ship to addresses etc. on the invoice copy. Non-adherence to these specifications can adversely impact timely payments.
3) Days vs. Net
While terms like net 30 or net 45 are common in business parlance, yet they are less popular amongst those who have limited understanding of finance terminologies. Terms like ‘Due on receipt’ are vague and subject to one’s own interpretation. Usage of words like ‘days’ instead of ‘net’ and inclusion of specific payment terms like ‘Due in 60 days’ have a better prospect of getting through to the customer with increased chances of timely payments.
4) Hint of a late fee
It is a good idea to re-iterate the impact of late payment by putting a note on the invoice regarding the applicability of a late fee in case the payment crosses the due date. This adds urgency to the invoice and puts the onus of timely payment on to the customer. Adding a late fee caveat can influence faster payment by educating the customer about the repercussions of paying late and facilitating the prioritisation of these invoices over other pending bills.
5) Payment policy with short terms
While longer payment terms are feasible for few clients, yet it is advisable that you negotiate with clients for shorter pay terms like 15 or 30 days while establishing your relationship with the clients. A shorter pay term will ensure faster cash flow and adequate working capital to meet your business requirements.
Optimal Payment Terms
While different businesses have their own customised payment terms in accordance with their business type and capital requirements, yet there are few common invoice payment terms that are considered as industry standards. Check out these payment terms and their meaning.
- Net 7 — Payment due in 7 days from invoice date
- PIA — Payment in Advance
- Net 10 — Payment due in 10 days from invoice date
- COD — Cash on Delivery
- Net 30 — Payment due in 30 days from invoice date
- CIA — Cash in Advance
- Net 60 — Payment due in 60 days from invoice date
- Net 90 — Payment due in 90 days from invoice date
- 1% 10 Net 30 — Customer is eligible for 1% discount if payment is received within 10 days. Full payment is required after 10 days and the overall due date is 30 days from the invoice date
- Contra Payment — Payment from customer being offset against supplies purchased from customer
Agile & Waterfall Methodologies –Comparison
There are several ways to develop software, two of the most prominent methods being waterfall and Agile. And as anytime there are two ways to go about something, a debate rages about which is best. Does it matter really? Doesn’t either way give you a product (or, well, a skinned cat)?
We’ll let you decide. Today, we’re arming you with information about both waterfall and Agile methodologies so that you can make an informed decision as to what you think is best.
What is the waterfall methodology?
Much like construction and manufacturing workflows, waterfall methodology is a sequential design process. This means that as each of the eight stages (conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, implementation, and maintenance) are completed, the developers move on to the next step.
Advantages of the Waterfall Methodology
- The waterfall methodology stresses meticulous record keeping. Having such records allows for the ability to improve upon the existing program in the future.
- With the waterfall methodology, the client knows what to expect. They’ll have an idea of the size, cost, and timeline for the project. They’ll have a definite idea of what their program will do in the end.
- In the case of employee turnover, waterfall’s strong documentation allows for minimal project impact.
Disadvantages of the Waterfall Methodology
- Once a step has been completed, developers can’t go back to a previous stage and make changes.
- Waterfall methodology relies heavily on initial requirements. However, if these requirements are faulty in any manner, the project is doomed.
- If a requirement error is found, or a change needs to be made, the project has to start from the beginning with all new code.
- The whole product is only tested at the end. If bugs are written early, but discovered late, their existence may have affected how other code was written.
Additionally, the temptation to delay thorough testing is often very high, as these delays allow short-term wins of staying on-schedule.
- The plan doesn’t take into account a client’s evolving needs. If the client realizes that they need more than they initially thought, and demand change, the project will come in late and impact budget.
When should you use waterfall methodology?
- There is a clear picture of what the final product should be.
- If clients won’t have the ability to change the scope of the project once it has begun.
- If definition, not speed, is key to success.
What is Agile?
Agile came about as a “solution” to the disadvantages of the waterfall methodology. Instead of a sequential design process, the Agile methodology follows an incremental approach.
Developers start off with a simplistic project design, and then begin to work on small modules. The work on these modules is done in weekly or monthly sprints, and at the end of each sprint, project priorities are evaluated and tests are run. These sprints allow for bugs to be discovered, and customer feedback to be incorporated into the design before the next sprint is run.
The process, with its lack of initial design and steps, is often criticized for its collaborative nature that focuses on principles rather than process.
Advantages of the Agile Methodology
- The Agile methodology allows for changes to be made after the initial planning. Re-writes to the the program, as the client decides to make changes, are expected.
- Because the Agile methodology allows you to make changes, it’s easier to add features that will keep you up to date with the latest developments in your industry.
- At the end of each sprint, project priorities are evaluated. This allows clients to add their feedback so that they ultimately get the product they desire.
- The testing at the end of each sprint ensures that the bugs are caught and taken care of in the development cycle. They won’t be found at the end.
- Because the products are tested so thoroughly with Agile, the product could be launched at the end of any cycle. As a result, it’s more likely to reach its launch date.
Disadvantages of Agile Methodology
- With a less successful project manager, the project can become a series of code sprints. If this happens, the project is likely to come in late and over budget.
- As the initial project doesn’t have a definitive plan, the final product can be grossly different than what was initially intended.
When should you use Agile methodology?
- Rapid production is more important than the quality of the product.
- Clients will be able to change the scope of the project.
- If there isn’t a clear picture of what the final product should look like.
- You have skilled developers who are adaptable and able to think independently.
- When the product is intended for an industry with rapidly changing standards.
The article gives you some insights about Freelancers and Web development firms,We discuss pros and cons of both of them and what should you check before hiring them.We also discussed tools for communication and tracking process.In another section we discussed NDA templates and tips for making payment templates.In the end we discuss about agile and waterfall model of development. If you want to hire web developers, checkout Ontoborn
Ontoborn provides on-demand remote web/mobile and server side developers. Our developers are available at hourly, weekly and monthly rates. We help startups, universities and individuals with their development efforts.
Here is what a few of our customers got to say about us
- Founder and CEO of a healthcare product
Flexibility — the willingness to work with many different languages and frameworks is very helpful. Communication on technical matters is very strong. Generally good quality work.
- Dr. Rajiv Ramnath, Professor, The Ohio State University
OntoBorn has demonstrated an impressive breadth of skills with respect to mobile and web development. Very responsive to queries and feedback.
- Dr. Balaji Rangarathnam, East Carolina State University
Everything was great. Jith was very helpful and was patient to understand our needs. He was also very professional and demonstrated a thorough understanding of our expectations and the technicalities behind what we were looking for. The experience was great and I would certainly hire them for projects of similar nature in the future.
So, If you are someone who is
- Working on a cool product idea that needs help to be built
- Looking to quickly build your MVP and get it out there to your customers
- Done creating your backend APIs and now you need a team that can quickly build your IOS and Android clients
- Looking for a hybrid solution that helps you in establishing your web and mobile presence instantly
- Looking to build your application extremely fast with a Rapid Application Development tool
If you had answered “yes” to any one of the above, then we’re lucky — we’ve found each other!
Come talk to us here — Ontoborn
You can also checkout our pricing here — ontoborn.com/pricing