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Companies that need software development done often face a critical decision: should they hire a freelancer or a specialized software development company? In this blog, we go through some of the advantages of using a specialized development company over freelance programmers.
While software freelancers offer single services such as programming or design, it is often a professional team of programmers, with different specialized skills, that perform the various tasks in software companies. This gives software companies an edge due to the efficiency when multiple developers and designers work together on a project.
For many businesses, choosing between a freelance programmer and a professional software company is easier said than done. A freelancer can deliver quality but often has limited resources. On the other hand, a well-renowned software company can provide access to a wide range of expertise, robust support and scalable solutions—all under one roof, which results in maximum flexibility and security.
Software companies typically have a more mature development process, including testing and quality assurance. They can also adjust the calculated time and price and scale the team when needed. This gives software companies a better chance to deliver the projects within budget and on time compared to freelance programmers.
Software companies are typically also better at doing maintenance updates and support—many times with instant response during working hours.
What happens when a freelancer cannot work?
When a freelance programmer is prevented from working, it can result in serious problems for the customer—especially if the project has a deadline. Therefore, it is important to have a backup solution ready so that the transition from one programmer to another does not create problems potentially resulting in financial losses.
The downside of this solution is that it is costly as one must have a backup programmer who stays up-to-date with the development so that the transfer from one programmer to another goes smoothly.
The art of finding a freelance programmer
Before hiring a freelancer, one should review their CV, contact former customers/employers, view examples of the work they have done, and obviously test to see if the chemistry between both of you is good.
One should also check their technical skills by asking the right questions or, even better, give them a programming task and then see how they solve it. The problem is that it can be very difficult to check how well a task is solved unless one is also a programmer.
Potential problems with Freelance Programmers
Many companies choose to hire freelance programmers for their software development projects without thinking about how difficult it can be to work with a freelancer.
Often these companies are smaller, with limited resources and the screening process does not extend beyond an email or a phone call.
One of the biggest problems is that freelance programmers have their own agenda and therefore prioritize their time as they see fit. Sometimes, this means that companies get de-prioritized as a result of an issue with another customer, or when a larger customer puts pressure on the freelancer, or offers more money.
Furthermore, customers often have less influence on the technology choice when working with freelancers. Often, a freelancer will use the platform or programming language they’re familiar with without taking into account what is best for the customer.
This is especially a problem in smaller companies that lack knowledge and resources to assess what is best for them and therefore go with what the freelancer knows without asking too many questions.
This is less of an issue in bigger companies because they usually dictate which technologies should be used and hire developers accordingly.
Last but not least, freelancers must constantly find new tasks to ensure steady income since they are not tied to specific companies. This can mean a lack of commitment and motivation towards the end of the project, and in some cases it's necessary to stop the collaboration. In that case, you have to find a new freelance programmer to finish the project—which means additional expenses and delays.
It should also be remembered that if a freelancer decides to cease the collaboration then the customer must search for another freelancer with the risk of it not working out.
By using a software company, many of these headaches can be avoided.
If you would like to know more about hiring freelancers then read our blog “Freelancer vs onshore and offshore software development company”.
At 1902 Software you pay less than most freelancers in the western world, but you get all the advantages that come with using a software company. If this sounds interesting to you then start out by viewing our prices here.