Website Firm vs. Freelance Developer

many greater than one

many greater than one

I’ve been asked before whether it is better to go through a website firm to build a website or a freelance developer.  Let me start off by saying I’ve been on all four sides of this question.  I’ve built websites as a freelancer, I’ve built sites as part of a web firm, I’ve paid freelancers to build websites for me and I’ve paid web firms to build websites for me.  With that in mind, I do not believe it is better to go with one or the other as a stead fast rule.  However, I do suggest going with one vs. the other in different situations.

When is it ideal to use a freelancer?

If you do not have a strict deadline, your budget is small and your tolerance for risk is high then it is a good idea to work with a freelance developer.  Generally speaking, freelance developers are either new developer with little experience or they are skilled developers that do projects on the side.  If you work with a new developer, chances are their coding skill and experience is low, so whatever they give you will be poorly constructed.  On the other hand if they are a skilled developer, you might end up with a great site, but chances are they won’t have time to dedicate to your project and things (day job or personal life) will eventually get in the way of your project.  Therefore, if your deadline is flexible then working with a skilled freelance developer is fine.  One other major factor to consider is whether or not you need ongoing support because a freelancer may be free today, but six months from now he/she might not be around.

When is it ideal to use a web firm?

If you need a professional website, you have a firm deadline, a decent budget and your tolerance for risk is low.  When you hire a web firm you have to expect higher prices because they have overhead.  What you are really paying for is risk management because if you hire a single freelancer, you are putting all your eggs in one basket.  If you hire a small web firm then you are putting your eggs in a few baskets.  If you hire a large firm, then you are putting your eggs in a ton of baskets because if one developer leaves, you have a bunch more that can finish the job.  I’ve worked with web firms of various sizes and the general rule is the larger the firm, the higher the price but the lower the risk.  Please don’t get me wrong though, when hiring a firm yous till have to do your home work because like freelance developers, there are good firms and there are bad firms.  As a whole though, firms are typically more reputable and dependable, especially if you need ongoing support after launch.

Need help finding a freelancer or a web firm?

If you are looking for a reliable freelancer or a web firm let me know because over the years I’ve worked with both.  If you aren’t sure which you want to work with reach out to me and I can help you figure it out based on your goals, budget and overall needs.

Derrick Chan

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