Should You Hire Web Development Freelancers, or a Remote Web Team?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Pros and Cons of a Remote Web Development Team
Web developers are a key asset and important ally in software development projects. Whether you’re a small business or large corporation, the web is almost certainly the key gateway between users, clients, customers and the services you can offer.
Implementing web services well means hiring a web development team to bring your vision, goals, and values into reality. Deciding who to hire and how to bring the right web development skills, experience, and expertise into your firm is one of the most significant challenges you’re likely to handle, as we’ve talked about in our piece Hiring Web Developers - Best Practices & Job Description Template.
Here, we outline the best options to consider and the necessary steps to take when evaluating the web development teams you intend to bring into your firm. And if you need help finding the perfect team, just tell us what you need. We can do the work for you and connect you with up to 5 companies within 72h that match your needs—all for free!
Things to Consider
In choosing between web development freelancers and a remote web development partnership, the first step is to ask the right questions of your project. Knowing these facets of your design is the only way to guarantee you’ll get the results you need from the team you decide on.
By evaluating what you want to create and understanding the technology and time frame you have to implement it, you can go a long way to highlighting the path you need to take.
Technical Requirements and Goals
Identifying the technical details of your services will illuminate the depth of technical expertise and project management your projects are likely to require. Are you looking for a simple website with a handful of linked pages, or a complex multi-user experience with data visualisations, media streaming, and high degrees of user interaction?
Complexity and scale will have immediate impacts on planning and will ultimately determine the number of skilled developers needed for the task. With impacts on project management, testing, and verification, deciding on the technical requirements is perhaps the most critical step in implementing any service.
The fastest, most effective, and most efficient way to get a complete understanding of your technical requirements and goals is to discuss your goals with web development technical leads. Experience and knowledge in these areas are assets to rely on to outline accurate and detailed requirements and come up with a reasonable timescale to achieve them.
With a more complete understanding of the technical tasks at an early stage, better decisions about how to achieve them can then be made going forward.
Another critical aspect of implementing your project, the budget available for your teams can dictate which development options will work best for your requirements.
A small budget project limited in scope and scale should often prioritise efficiency and value. Typically, such projects are ideally suited to a skilled and proven freelancer who can accommodate more flexibility and provide maximum return on minimal investment.
If, on the other hand, the budget exists to demand guarantees and support on delivery, then a dedicated remote team may be ideally suited to ensure your project hits its targets.
Business-critical comments, ones that can’t afford downtime or failures, deserve more budget and greater assurances. Plan for both long-term budget considerations such as maintenance and support, and short-term costs to ensure you’re getting the most value out of the entire project.
Each of the previous considerations plays into our third major deciding factor. Determining how vulnerable your service should be to delays, slip, failures, and downtime are vital to choosing a path forward. While the ideal amount of each of these factors would be none at all, they have to be realistically considered on any project.
The ways to minimise the chances of each are already well-documented and understood. Extensive planning, preparation, management, testing, and verification are the solutions to many of software development’s most pressing problems. Dedicated web development firms often have developers experienced in each of these and possess a depth of knowledge that often comes unparalleled.
With their additional technical guidance and expertise, outsourcing companies can be a great boost towards accelerating any firm in its intended direction. On the other hand, not every project needs the same levels of assurance. If you don’t need the guarantees that come with a fully vetted and tested system, then a freelancer may deliver more value fast.
Pros and Cons of a Web Development Freelancer
Freelance web developers are very often experts in their field. Freelancing generates a great deal of knowledge and experience in implementing solutions for a wide variety of clients across multiple industries. A freelancer often delivers a low-cost rapid method of onboarding web development talent into your organisation.
Finding the ideal freelancer with experience in technologies and frameworks similar to your own should be a relatively simple task. Evaluating a portfolio of related projects and applications will give you an idea of a candidate’s abilities and provide an initial preview of the look and feel of your future application.
Hiring a freelance web developer often provides maximum flexibility and lowest short-term development costs. The right freelancer should be able to talk through your project, draw up a rough timescale, and work collaboratively to land on a solution that works for you. For more tips on the hiring process generally, read our article A Comprehensive Guide to Hiring Web Engineering Teams.
- Low cost. One of the cheapest way to onboard web development talent in a short time frame
- Close collaboration. Able to build up a strong working relationship over the duration of the project, similar to onboarding a new employee
- Fast turnaround. Ideal for short-term solutions, occasionally leading to long-term employment in cases that suit both parties
- Flexible billing. Freelancers can make budgeting at scale far easier by accommodating fixed price or hourly billing over the duration of a task or project
- Lead time. While the time taken to find a freelancer is short, the necessary vetting of their work and personal skills is more time consuming than other options
- Vetting. Without a strong technical background in web development, it can be hard to gauge a web developers skills and abilities
- Communication. A sole freelancer has to pause one task to pick up another. This means there’s less time for both development progress and project meetings. One typically has to take priority over the other
- Variable skill sets. Web Development projects contain more variability than most technologies. Evidence that a developer has implemented previous projects well in the past, even in the same framework, is not a guarantee that your project will go as smoothly. Some unknowns in freelance development will inevitably remain until the final product is delivered
- Maintenance and support. Returning to a web development project for maintenance and support in the near future can be more difficult. There’s little guarantee that the same freelancer will be available for work, or even still in the same field in the short or long term
Pros and Cons of a Remote Web Development Team
In comparison to onboarding a freelance web developer, bringing in an outsourced web development team offers a more complete package of expertise, management, and project delivery.
With extensive experience in delivering similar projects, now tried and tested in production, a remote team can provide further guarantees over quality and delivery that is difficult for others to match. Here at Pangea, we have a plethora of qualified remote web development vendors who can be sure to deliver; just tell us what you need. We can do the work for you and connect you with up to 5 companies within 72h that match your needs—all for free!
Some of the most significant advantages of a remote team come, not from their technical expertise, but from the close business relationship that firms can depend on to implement future changes and undertake new projects.
- Communication. An advantage that comes with additional developers and added expertise. In outsourced firms, communication and project management can be made a top priority without sacrificing time-on-task
- Expertise. Professional web development teams often have a greater depth of expertise in the tasks they undertake. This may include a team of developers dedicated to data visualisation, media streaming, testing, or user interaction. The result is typically a higher quality of work in less time than it takes for a generalist developer to discover the ins and outs of a particular piece of technology
- Safety. A by-product of experience, outsourced teams are typically the go-to option when uptime, reliability, and scheduled delivery are high-priority targets
- Low-risk. A remote team is less susceptible to project slip, missing deliverables, or vastly underestimating the scope of a project. When timescale and quality are high-priority, then the remote team is often the go-to choice.
- Remote management. Managing an outsourced team can feel like a daunting task to undertake, particularly if you’ve never done it before. Time-zone conflicts and geographic barriers can feel larger than they really are. These issues take time, patience, and a little insider know-how to overcome. Our article on The Do's & Don'ts of Managing a Remote Web Development Team has some simple tips you can implement to help
- Maintaining control. Giving over your next major service to another company to develop can be just as daunting. Management are often concerned about retaining control and direction as the project progresses. Regular communication and consistent check-ins are required to overcome these challenges
Web Development Freelancers or Remote Web Development Team
Choosing between the two primary options for onboarding web development talent into your firm is a choice entirely dependent on the unique technical challenges, priorities, and future direction of your projects.
Do you need quality assurances, future support, project management, and formalised processes? Do you need a single web developer hired in person with minimal notice?
The right choice delivers a service you will be happy to deploy to the web and reach the world at large to represent the services and quality your firm can offer.