You wake up at 3 in the morning. Your heart is pounding — your mind is racing. You’ve just come up with the next big idea for an app or website that is going to change the world. ‘This is it!’ you tell yourself — ‘my big idea!’ The only problem is, your background is in something other than tech. Maybe you’re a physician, or perhaps a collegiate coach. Maybe you’re a contractor, teacher, or a full-time caretaker…all professions that require unique skill sets and expertise. But you don’t know a thing about apps or websites or block-whatever. In this blog, we will go over the risks of hiring a freelance developer.
The temptation of ‘cheap’
If you’re looking for a developer who can help you make your dream a reality, it may be tempting to prioritize your budget during the process. You may want to hire a freelance developer who charges low prices and is easy to access online. They all do the same thing, right? So why pay $100 per hour when another person charges $25?
Today, around 10% of all developers identify as independent, freelance, or self-employed. Since a tech expert can be expensive to work with, freelance sites like Upwork or Fiverr are appealing, especially since they present you with many more affordable labor options.
However useful these sites can be, there is a hidden risk. If you want to create a site or program that is successful in the long run, it can pay to invest in more expensive help upfront. A real, qualified developer with experience can be essential for making or breaking the results of your product. Here’s why you should consider it.
Top-talent developers can work faster
A budget freelance developer you find online may be able to offer you a low fee per hour. However, if the freelancer isn’t especially skilled at programming, it may take them many hours to finish the job. In the end, this extra time actually cancels out any financial benefit you could enjoy from hiring someone who is low-cost.
If your budget developer charges you $25 per hour but takes 5 weeks to finish a project, you are better off hiring an expert who charges $100 per hour that can finish the job in one week. Not only can a top-talent engineer work faster, but they can also consistently produce higher-quality work.
Quality work is super important
A developer who works freelance may have basic knowledge of how to build websites or apps. However, since they are working on their own, often times no employer has verified their competence or skill level. On the other hand, a developer working for a trusted company or agency got hired because of proven talent.
When you hire an experienced tech expert, you know their skill level and ability has been verified. When choosing a developer, to skimp on the budget is equal to skimping on quality, which can result in a product that will ultimately fail.
There are some on these sites who also pose as developers, but who actually are just there to make a quick buck. When the budget is small, you run the risk of hiring a scammer who will take your money, but not your calls. You need someone who will be accountable for their work and not disappear midway through the project.
You want someone who understands the industry
When it comes to creating a tech product that’s going to succeed, you need to have the knowledge and an awareness of the existing market. The people helping you create your project should understand what competitors are doing, what trends are popular, and what new developments to expect.
When you work with a freelancer, you won’t necessarily be able to rely on someone who understands the bigger picture and can help ensure you’re creating a product that meets a real need. On the other hand, when you hire someone from an agency or tech company, you’ll be working with someone who understands the business and who knows what it takes to succeed in the field.
Freelancers might require extra work on your part
A freelancer isn’t wedded to working with you. They could work with you on a project, then go work for your competitor the next week. So, to keep your information safe, you’ll need to take legal precautions, like drawing up non-disclosure agreements.
Freelancers may also require more time to understand your project. This work on your part could end up costing you a lot of precious time and money.
How to safely and effectively hire a freelancer
If you simply don’t have the budget to hire an expert, or you want to give a freelance developer a shot, there are some steps you can take to ensure your experience is as successful as possible. First, find a freelancer’s portfolio to review their work and make sure they have the proper skills to create what you need them to. Next, if they work for a freelancer marketplace like Fiverr, read their reviews and make sure that other people have had a positive experience working with them.
Check to see if you can find former clients of theirs, and check their references. Hearing firsthand that they know what they’re doing is a good way to verify they’re a good choice for your team.
Get some help hiring freelancers if you’re overwhelmed
Finally, if this feels overwhelming to you or you’re not sure how to vet the freelancers you find, consider hiring someone with experience overseeing projects. A solution architect can help you understand the individual needs for your project and a project manager can help ensure the quality of the product. These experts can also handle the process of putting together the right team, so you can be sure you’re relying on pros to make your dream for an app or site a reality.