Should You Hire a Freelance Web Developer or a Full Time Web Developer?

Many businesses need great websites to offer their goods and services, interact with customers, and build their brand. This may lead you to hire a web developer. Easy enough, let’s hire one. Well, hold your horses… It’s not that simple. You may want to hire a full-time web developer to join your team for the long haul. However, you may just need a freelancer to get you started, and your team may be comfortable managing the site after that. Let’s discuss all the benefits and drawbacks to each one and ultimately help you decide which one is right for you.

Why Hire a Web Developer in the First Place?


While this won’t be a point of contention for most of you, some may wonder, “Do we really need a web developer?” Well, sometimes you don’t need a dedicated developer, but if you have thousands of customers creating accounts on your site, it’s pretty important. You can go a long way with low-code website builders like Wix and Squarespace, but you’ll have a lot more flexibility for how the site operates, and much stronger security options. If you’re anything bigger than a company of one or small family business, it’s probably best to hire a developer.

Freelancer Vs. Full-Time


So, the two most prominent types of web developers are freelancers and full-time employees. Freelancers handle projects individually, working for many different clients. Sometimes they’ll stick around to support a project, but other times they’ll build something to your approval, and that’s the end of it. Full-time web developers would be hired on as an employee, and would be your source of in-house web development. They’d likely follow the project over a long period of time, installing changes and maintaining the site regularly. Let’s talk about the advantages of each of these web development styles, from the client’s perspective. We’ll start with the pros of hiring a freelance web developer.

Advantages of Hiring a Freelancer


Flexibility and Convenience


When hiring a freelancer, you can start the project at any time, and there’s usually an option to pay a little bit more to expedite the project. It’s definitely the most convenient way if you need a one-off project to be completed quickly. Once it’s built, you can also reach out to the same freelancer to commission them to make changes or repairs to the site, or you can always go with somebody else!

Possibility of Faster Project Completion


It’s no secret that one of the fastest ways to get something done is to pay a top-notch freelancer to do it. As mentioned above, it’s usually also possible to expedite your project for an additional fee. While this may sound expensive, it’s still possible to save money when compared to hiring a full-time employee.

Reduced Costs


As touched on before, hiring a full-time employee is generally going to be much more expensive than hiring out a project to a freelancer, at least in the long-run. This is because you’re paying only for what you need, not 40 hours per week regardless of your company’s web needs.

Availability of Specialized Skills and Experience


It’s also quite likely that you can find a freelancer with specialized experience in the type of site you’re trying to create or work on. If you know you want an ecommerce website, you can find somebody with several years of experience building ecommerce sites! That’s not to say this isn’t realistically possible with an employee, but they’ll tend to be more well-rounded with a lower level of specialization.

Advantages of Hiring a Full-Time Employee


Complete Control and Supervision


One of the most obvious benefits of having an in-house web developer is that they can be fully supervised. All their work can be done on a computer within the company’s network, and they can be asked questions frequently. It’s easy to keep control over the project when your own employee is spearheading it!

Consistent Communication and Collaboration


An employee is likely to have a company email, and be in all the relevant group chats and meetings pertaining to their job. This gives everyone ample opportunity to communicate and collaborate, making severed or delayed communication much less likely.

Increased Reliability and Accountability


While it’d be unfair to say that all freelance web developers are unreliable or unaccountable, full-time employees definitely have an edge in this department. They’ll be available much more regularly, and they will be focused on your company’s work exclusively. Freelancers might drop you as a client if your needs get too excessive, or they may need extensions on their work.

Long-term Investment in Skills and Experience


Unlike a freelancer, your employees can build skills and experience that will directly benefit your company down the road. For example, the projects you task them with at the beginning of their time on the team will give them valuable experience they will be drawing from for years. In addition to this, you can invest in training, courses, and tools that your employees can use to get even better at their job.

Factors to Consider When Making The Decision


The truth is, the decision of hiring a web developer depends on a lot more than just a couple of basic pros and cons. You should also consider the situation of the company and the project before making your decision.

Budget and Project Scope


If all you need is to get a website up and running, and your team already possesses the necessary skills to maintain it to a reasonable degree, a freelancer is probably your best option. Likewise, if you don’t have the budget for a competitive salary for your web developer, you should probably stick to a one-off development project. However, if your project’s scope extends far outside the short-term, and your team isn’t equipped to handle it, you probably need to strengthen the team by hiring a web developer.

Required Skills and Experience


Similarly to the first factor, it’s possible your team members already have the bits and pieces of experience needed to handle your website. Either they are capable of building it, taking control once it’s built, or perhaps neither of those things. The more your current team can handle, the less you’ll have to hire out. This may include building the site in-house without a dedicated developer and then hiring out site maintenance, or, more likely hiring out the initial creation and handling maintenance within the company. Some teams will be stuck hiring out for both, which is a good opportunity to bring on a dedicated web developer.

Timeline and Project Urgency


If your biggest priority is having a site built in the span of days or weeks, you’re going to need a freelancer. It just doesn’t make sense to try to hire and onboard a fully fledged team member in that timeframe. However, depending on how much expansion the site will need in the long term, a dedicated developer might be called for.

Company Culture and Values


It may be well within the company’s value system to hire out work in a freelance fashion, and it’s also possible that the first freelancer you find shares the team’s values as well. However, a more surefire way to make sure your web developer is on the same page in as many ways as possible, is to properly vet them as a long-term addition to the team.

Conclusion


In conclusion, hiring a web developer is an important decision for any business that wants to establish or enhance its online presence. Both hiring a freelancer and a full-time employee have their own advantages and disadvantages. Freelancers offer flexibility, reduced costs, and specialized skills and experience, while full-time employees offer complete control and supervision, consistent communication and collaboration, increased reliability and accountability, and a long-term investment in skills and experience.

When making a decision, business owners and managers should consider factors such as budget, project scope, required skills and experience, timeline, and company culture and values. It is important to make an informed decision that aligns with the company’s needs and goals. Our final recommendation is to carefully evaluate the options and choose the one that suits the business best. Whether it is hiring a freelancer or a full-time employee, working with a skilled and reliable web developer is crucial for a business’s online success.

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