Before you try to make a choice between a software company and a freelancer there are some things that you have to do first. Sit down and imagine what kind of app or web design you have been dreaming of. Ask yourself some basic questions about it, such as: is my project something that requires any particular skills and great expertise, such as an interactive illustration or a perfect graphic design? How complex is my vision? Do I want it to be finished within a one-off service or would I rather engage in long-term cooperation? What is my budget? Is there any time pressure?

While building a world-class project one person will not be able to do it all for you, you would rather need a team of skilled and compatible developers that specialize in various fields and programming languages. However, having a rather small or compact project in mind, you can with clear conscience entrust a freelancer.

Hire or not to hire... And whom to hire? These are the questions!

Even though each and every case is different, once you think through all these questions, it is much easier to make a choice. Especially so after reading our quick and painless high-level comparison and contrast of freelancers and outsourcing software companies.

HIRING FREELANCERS

Costs

Freelancers are famously known for their rather down-to-earth salary expectations. However, if your project is big and you need more people to work on it, hiring a few freelancers may turn out very expensive. And, in the case of such bigger needs on your side, hiring a freelancer - just one - may make the development process longer. And the sooner you finish your project the sooner it can be used by your clients AND the sooner you will start earning money!

Services

As freelancers tend to specialize in particular skills or niches, you may not always be able to find a freelancer that suits all your needs at a time. This is especially true in the case of some bigger, more complex projects. You may often need separate people to take care of the wireframes, UX, UI, Backend, etc. This, to make the long story short, means that the whole process will take more time and, overall, will end up more complex - you will have to complete a team of your own totally by yourself, having to invest in it a lot of your own time.

Flexibility

While hiring a freelancer we cannot really talk about a ‘team,’ which can be both a good and a bad thing. However, freelancers usually are highly flexible with their time. As private entities, they are not limited by their office hours and often can work in the evening or even on weekdays if something unexpected ever happens. You should definitely consider this while hiring someone as a contractor for an urgent software development project.

Reliability

Working with a freelancer, no matter how skilled, nice and friendly, you put yourself at risk of them not being there for you when you need them. Sometimes we all end up in a situation when we simply need to put our family or health first. Sadly, because of the fact that freelancers work alone, there is no one to substitute them, unlike in a team provided by a development agency.

Moreover, despite the fact that we entrust the freelancers and find their work valuable, it is still believed by some that they may vanish anyway…

As freelancers work alone, they usually are too busy to be able to track all the new technologies and programs that pop up on the market out of the blue all the time.

It is in the agency’s and company’s best interest though, to ensure that their employees get the certificates and necessary qualifications right in time to be able to provide you with the best up-to-date services.

Many brilliant people possess the above-mentioned skills but cannot effectively create a world-class website on their own.

Andrew Kucheriavy

HIRING SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT COMPANIES

Costs

Software development companies are in general slightly more expensive, especially when it comes to simple projects. However, if you need to work on a bigger thing or fancy long-term cooperation, they will prove of great value for the money you have paid. It is also not a problem to have them working for you full time, unlike self-employed software developers who may have to divide their time between two development services.  A software development company will usually have project managers of their own - willing to help with keeping up with the schedule and not exceeding the costs - and the whole team ready to work for you, share their expertise and fix any issues you may come accross.

Services

Such outsourcing software development companies tend to rely on teamwork to a huge extent. It is of great importance when you want your project to be delivered quickly, smoothly and to be perfectly polished. They share their knowledge within the team - how to fix bugs, what solution to choose for a particular problem, how to decrease the overall cost of development and maximise the benefits for the users and many more. This is a giant advantage of software development companies that allows them to specialise and provide services in different fields of software outsourcing.

Flexibility & replaceability

Working in a team means a great deal of flexibility when it comes to one’s skills and availability. Coworkers can easily help and substitute for each other in times of need.

Sometimes the main drawback of choosing development agencies lies within the fixed working hours, traditionally 8 am to 4 pm. Happily, the very most modern companies have recently changed that system to suit the needs of their clients and give their employees more of a choice. Thanks to that, contact with an offshore software development company during your working hours will not be an issue anymore.

Support & continuity

A great side of cooperating with software development companies on a bigger project is, for example, receiving feedback on your app with somebody running tests throughout the whole period of your cooperation, which will allow you and your hired developers to improve the project on the way and in the future (during further maintenance). Another nice ‘pro’ is the possibility of being assigned a project manager who will oversee the whole process and make sure that everything is done on time.

Unlike freelancers, agencies focus on keeping their clients ‘aside’ for a longer period of time and, what is more important, – happy. Why? It is simply more beneficial for both sides, a full cycle of software development, together with business analysis, further professional maintenance and care of your idea is something that makes you and them happy. You will not have to waste time introducing a new team of software developers to your project and documentation and the software company will have a happy client and income continuity.

Readiness & time saving

While hiring someone from a development agency you can be sure that the work will start quickly, usually within 2 days. You save a great amount of time on reading applications and interviewing people that may not be even qualified for the job. Just take a look at a few already prepared for you inside-CVs of professional developers of this particular software development company you choose. You can be sure that each and every person you are being offered is reliable, has great expertise and have proven themselves many times.

To conclude...

It is necessary for you to remember that each case is different and that there is no right or wrong choice. Both hiring a freelancer or an outsourcing software company means a great dose of assets but sadly, both of these options also come with a certain amount of risks. You should weigh the pros and cons thoroughly and see which kind of cooperation (with freelancers vs software development companies) better suits your needs so that you easily reach your advancement goals and get the best software with no legal issues and with great hourly rates.