As a business owner or entrepreneur seeking to build a custom software solution, you might be having a hard time deciding between freelance developers and a full-cycle software development company. 

If that’s the case, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a freelance developer or a software team and help you decide which option is best for your project.

What are Freelance Developers?

As you might’ve already guessed, like all Freelancers, these devs are also self-employed and not committed to any employer in the long-term. They usually offer their development services on an hourly or daily basis and perform all required tasks remotely. 

Most freelancers are hired for a certain development project and are thus, expected to sign a temporary employment contract. Such developers can be outsourced from platforms like Upwork and Fiverr

There are some advantages and disadvantages to hiring a freelancer for your project. Let’s explore these in detail. 

Advantages of Hiring a Freelance Developer:

1. Lower Development Cost:
On average, most freelancers charge 20-30% lower than development firms. This is because these developers do not have to cover extra costs like office supplies, taxes, etc.

This can be really enticing if you’re on a budget. A freelance developer may charge you as low as $41–60 per hour.

2. Larger Talent Pool:
Freelance developers are self-taught in various technologies and often aim to master their expertise and skills in a single area.

You can easily tap into a large and diverse talent pool of more than 57.3 million freelancers on platforms like Upwork, Guru, Hubstaff Talent, or Fiverr, and choose developers as per your project requirements.

You can instantly hire the right candidate, provide your project terms, and sign a contract. If there are delays in your project or communication issues with your desired developer, you can terminate the employment contract. Not only that, you can even ask for a refund if the developer is unable to deliver on their promises.

3. Quick Project Delivery:
Since freelancers are self-employed, they are likely to be motivated to deliver quick results. It is in their best interest to meet and exceed your expectations and demonstrate they are reliable contractors.  

Disadvantages of Hiring Freelance developers:

1. Lack of Accountability:
As freelancers are self-employed, they’re mainly answerable to themselves, and this can negatively impact your project deadlines.

There is a chance that your hired resource may bail out on you before completing your project or disappear for days or weeks without any contact.

2. Inconsistent Project Quality:
Not all freelance developers care about work quality as a dedicated team might. Since most developers take multiple projects, they are not able to deliver high-quality services.  

Through freelancing websites, you might hire a developer that is more concerned about earning quick cash by finishing various projects rather than paying attention to minute development details such as UI, UX, best coding practices, etc. 

Furthermore, freelancers are not as bothered about risking their reputation as they can instantly create a new account on freelancing sites or even work anonymously. 

3. Confidentiality Risks:
Privacy can be a prime concern for you and your firm, especially when dealing with freelancers. To avoid risking your private data and sensitive project details, we recommend you always sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before hiring a freelancer. 

Similarly, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can protect your privacy if you’re located in the EU. This regulation emphasizes data protection and privacy in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). 

4. Support and Maintenance Issues:
Although freelancers may develop your desired website, app, or game, they often do not provide additional services like post-development maintenance and support. 

Thus, if you ever need to fix a bug or add a new feature, you might need to outsource another freelancer. This can open you up to a whole host of new challenges like if the original developer didn’t follow best coding practices, this can prove problematic for the person you hire for support and maintenance.

Full-Cycle Software Development Company:

A software development company has a dedicated team of developers, business analysts, project managers, designers, quality assurance, software architects, and support teams. You can find top software development firms using platforms like Clutch and GoodFirms

Going this route gives you access to full-cycle services. They often follow the Agile methodology and their whole process is divided into small stages (sprints/iterations) to ensure quality development throughout.

Advantages of Hiring a Software Development Firm:

1. Flexible Engagement Models:
Top software development firms offer various engagement models to cater to a wide clientele. These two most commonly offered options include Fixed Price and Time and Materials. The former with its fixed timeframes, budget, and work scope is recommended for short-term projects, while the latter offers great project flexibility and you only pay for time and resources used. 

At App Wow Zap, we go beyond this by enabling our customers to work with us through our highly cost-effective Revenue Sharing model. In this model, we waive off a percentage of the development fee in return for a stake in your project.

2. Diverse Expertise:
Software development companies tend to have an industry-rich portfolio and an in-house team with expertise in various tools and technologies for both mobile app development and web development. 

Unlike with freelancers, you don’t have to worry about outsourcing the right candidate with relevant talent since an in-house team inherently possesses diverse talent. Additionally, these firms are adept at dealing with projects of all sizes and complexity, and can even recommend technologies and tools that best suit your project. 

3. End-to-end Services:
Unlike freelance developers, software development houses offer additional services such as consultation, support & maintenance, Quality Assurance (QA), Deployment, and Marketing services. 

They provide extensive maintenance options such as regular updates, bug fixing, among many others to ensure that your web or mobile app has optimal functionality. Additionally, the QA team conducts frequent code tests to guarantee your apps meet industry standards. 

Moreover, their deployment services ensure that your app releases on Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store without any hassle. Not only that, their in-house marketing services help you target the right audience for your product. 

Related: How to Choose the Best Development Company for Your Project

4. Use Latest Technological Stacks:
Most development firms are up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. In addition, they are well-versed in the latest tech stacks, due to intense competition within the industry.

5. Organized Development Process:
Experienced software development firms lay a huge emphasis on customer satisfaction as it affects their reputation. Therefore, they have a well-organized development cycle along with exceptional work quality. This means that you as a customer do not have to worry about constantly monitoring your hired firm’s progress. 

Moreover, to get a clearer idea of how organized they are, make sure to check out customer reviews and past projects.

6. Clear Project Deadlines:
Top-rated software firms provide weekly/daily/monthly progress reports according to agreed terms. You can carefully monitor your project’s progress. Additionally, they also meet the agreed deadlines by ensuring a smooth workflow.

7. No Legal Issues:
Software development firms ensure reliability, stability, and legality. Unlike freelance developers, you don’t have to design a contract. You are only responsible for reading and checking the agreed terms on the contract, and finally signing it. 

Similarly, detailed financial records, contracts, and relevant documents are provided by these firms so there’s very little hassle at your end.

Disadvantages of Hiring a Software Development Company:

1. High Development Cost:
Software firms charge higher than freelancers due to their work quality along with sustaining the whole team. The development rates are highly dependent on the region. 

It is recommended that either you hire an offshore software firm or a company with flexible engagement models to stay on a budget while getting the best services for your project.

Final Verdict:

A freelance developer is a better option if you:

  1. Need to make improvements on your project
  2. Have few project tasks that need to be completed

Conversely, you should consider hiring a software development company if you:

  1. Have a complex project
  2. Want to develop an app or website from scratch
  3. Need in-depth assistance on your project 
  4. Require additional services like consultation, support, deployment, marketing, and QA

If you’re in the market for a reliable, full-cycle mobile and web app development company, look no further than App Wow Zap. We leverage the best industry practices and the latest tools and technologies to deliver phenomenal solutions for all our clients. 
To learn more about our app development process, book a FREE Consultation today.

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