There are many things to consider when choosing an IT services provider, whether you are looking for an actual IT company or a freelancer. In this blog post, I share some advice that you can keep in mind when making your selection.
For the purposes of this post, the following definitions apply:
- A freelancer is a person who designs or develops websites, webshops or apps, but does not work as a dedicated or regular staff of any company.
- An IT company is a company that offers the same services as freelancers, but the services are performed at the company's office and by its in-house employees.
- A consultant is a person who provides professional advice on how a task should be done e.g., an SEO consultant who advises a customer on how to achieve a better ranking in search engines.
- Freelancers can only provide well-defined solutions if the scope of the work assigned is within their expertise. Asking a freelance WordPress developer to do Magento development will not work in the long run.
- Freelancers have other clients besides you so they can sometimes get very busy. This can have consequences on how long your task can be completed since the freelancer is the only one working on your tasks as well as tasks from other clients.
- Freelancers also need a vacation - who will carry on your tasks when your freelancer is offline?
- Many freelancers end up getting regular jobs. Who will continue your development or IT support if your freelancer stops with his services?
- Find out whether you are dealing with a reputable company with an in-house team or a company that only distributes work to freelancers. If it’s the latter, remind yourself of the challenges mentioned in the previous section.
- You should only work with one project manager. Insist on having only one project manager per project type.
- Unless you are technically proficient yourself, do not work directly with the developers. This will only lead to misunderstandings and in turn result to a waste of your time and money.
- Find out who exactly has administrator access to your system. If your IT supplier sends your work to a freelancer, make sure that you have contact with the freelancer and know how his/her relationship with the IT supplier works.
- If the IT supplier is not willing to provide you with that information, don’t get them as your IT supplier.
- Find out if your IT supplier has a backup staff in place for when the person working on your project gets sick, goes on a vacation, or leaves the company.
- Does your supplier have a support system in place? Unless you are a technician or have your own technical staff, you will need a point of contact in case you need assistance after the project has been completed.
- Observe your IT supplier’s response time both during and outside normal working hours.
More important notes
- The fewer suppliers that you have to work with on your IT project, the better. For instance, avoid getting web development services from one company, then app development services from another, and design services from a freelancer. It complicates project management and guarantees delays, heavy costs, and misunderstandings.
- Check the IT supplier's client testimonials. Talk to their clients, and learn about their experience working with this IT supplier.
- Check the IT supplier’s social media profiles e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Check out their activity level and see what other people are saying about them.
- Meet the project manager that you will work with. If possible, call up some clients that he/she has previously worked with.
I previously wrote a blog entry titled "How do you find the right IT company?", which I recommend you to read as well so I could share more of my insights in choosing the right IT provider.
You may also contact me if you’d like to know more about the IT solutions that 1902 Software can offer.