So, you have a dilemma. The global market is vast and it offers an infinite number of ways to go, but the issue comes down to the choice between hiring a freelancer or a development company. Like in life, there is no such thing as a simple choice between “good” and “bad”, so let’s see the main properties of these two options — hiring a freelancer or a development agency.
Let’s start with freelancers
In most cases, freelancers are a cheaper option, unless of course, you hire a top-of-the-game freelancer that can turn out to be more expensive than some of the development agencies. Also, the market offers a huge number of freelancers, so there are plenty of choices. The good thing about freelancers is that if you maintain a fair and decent attitude towards them, you can almost certainly be sure that you will keep them.
With so many freelancers available, you need to have a good recruiting process to ensure you choose the right one. There are some freelance platforms and networks that help you with this matter, such as Toptal and others, but also bear in mind that working with these platforms can be more expensive compared to working with agencies.
Sometimes you need just one freelancer on the project, let’s say a graphic designer, so the process should be pretty simple, but sometimes you will need more people involved. Perhaps you will need a website developer, or mobile app developer, QA tester and such… For each of these roles, you will need to search for a new specialist and recruit them the way you did with previous freelancers.
If you have a team of freelancers, one thing that you should take into consideration is organizing them to be efficient. If you are experienced in this matter or you already have a functioning team working for you, this won’t be a big problem. If not so, you will soon realize that YOU have to synchronize their work, their communication between themselves and with you. This can turn out to be quite a nightmare…
One thing that can be problematic is legal issues. Working with a freelancer can produce some troubles in terms of legal aspects. For example — if a freelancer violates the non-disclosure agreement, the possibility of getting a compensation is much smaller than it is the case with stable development agencies.
Now let’s talk about the development agencies
When you hire a stable, professional development agency, you have a possibility to hire a team of professionals that have been working TOGETHER for a while. Compared to the situation with freelancers where you have to deal with people working remotely in different time zones, here we have a crew of people that can do the job very efficiently, a crew that is experienced and strong all-round. The reason for this is the fact that this team of people worked together for some longer period of time, their communication is on a high level since they share a working space, they aid each other and very importantly, they know each other. Development companies also maintain a strong team spirit and cultural barriers are smaller than when working with freelancers.
An agency can add various resources to the project — backend programmers, frontend programmers, QA experts, designers, etc… This can mean very much to you since the development company will professionally solve many problems in the process that otherwise you would have to deal with.
Development agencies have a worked-out way of doing things and take the burden of organizing on themselves — so you don’t have to do it. If you are not an expert at organizing — this will mean the world to you.
Hiring development companies opens some new possibilities — such as pair programming, and knowledge sharing is instantly included. If someone comes across a problem, they won’t have to waste the time on research or take the risk of making a mistake, they will just ask a colleague who is an expert in the relevant field — a colleague that is probably sitting next to them. All this leads to much higher efficiency and better quality of the final product.
Of course, there are downsides of hiring a development company too. They are often more expensive than freelancers. Also, there is a solid number of fake agencies. Others are simply not good enough — they lack quality or experience. If you are not careful enough you can lose a lot of money and time by choosing a bad development company. So yeah, when you come across a good development agency, stick to it!
In the end, the final choice is completely up to you — it’s not easy, but if you know what your NEEDS are, if you understand the nature of the project and all the aspects of the process, you are on the path towards making the right choice between a freelancer and a development company.