5 things to consider while selecting a development partner

Most of the founders of technology startups would face the dilemma of choosing between a Freelancer and an Agency during the early days.

Obviously as a startup you would have limited funds, would need enough flexibility and get to market soon. The obvious benefit of going with a freelancer is the cost benefit, but when you look at the long term picture,you really wonder if it is worth it. We come across the same question again and again,”Why should I work with a web development company instead of a freelancer”. We have written this blog to touch the different areas that would explain the difference between working with a freelancer and an agency. This in-turn would help you make a well informed decision for your startup.

Here are 5 major things to consider while selecting a development agency or a freelancer.

things to consider while selecting a development partner

Past Projects

It really helps if the service provider has developed similar software or can showcase deep development expertise. This would give you some reassurance about their expertise and the capability to develop your application. It is ideal that you ask for reference links and access to demo environments, so that you can get a first hand feel of their work and quality.

Client Testimonials

There is nothing better than hearing from other clients like you about their experience working with the service vendors. This does help you set expectations before you start the engagement and also identify issues that may not be evident from a first level interaction with the vendor. You can also utilize third party review platforms like Clutch and GoodFirms to source unbiased reviews from past clients to know about their experience.

Communication

Project communication is a critical aspect with the power to make or break your project. It is essential that the service provider walks you through their communication process for you to assess how well they are organized and structured. Ensure that there are  meetings set at predefined intervals and the communication channels clearly laid out. Also that the POC at the service provider is assigned and available all the time for your project.

Ownership and Accountability

Confidentiality and IP become a big concern when outsourcing, especially when the idea is unique or confidential algorithms etc are involved. Hence it becomes important that your service vendor can enter into a legally binding contract with you. And you are able to exercise your legal control and rights at full length, which becomes a deterrent for any mischief.

Areas of Expertise

Just having good development capabilities isn’t enough to launch a good product nowadays. When selecting a vendor it is important to vet the vendor’s capabilities around design, business analysis and testing along with their development capabilities. Though it is natural to place the highest importance on development, it is equally important to launch a product with good UI/UX.

How does hiring a software development agency compare against hiring a Freelancer:

Multi-technology and Functional Versatility

Software solutions now involve multiple technologies rather than be based on a single technology. Though there are full stack developers available in the market, it is best suited to have specialists who can help you develop a better optimized and scalable solution. 

A web development firm is better equipped to provide you end to end product development services compared to an independent resource. Starting out with a product, it helps to have guidance around creating product roadmaps, the user experience, end to end workflows etc. Given the different skill sets needed to deploy even the smallest of an application, it is very rare to find an individual resource with the necessary expertise. Another aspect is domain expertise, usually agencies can get you a better coverage due to the accumulated expertise across a wider range of domains compared to hiring one resource.king for Mobile App Development Se

Long Term Reliability and Continuity

Software development is seldom a one time affair, it is a longer term process and needs commitment from both sides. As a startup you need a service provider who can be a part of your product journey in the long run. Compared to a freelancer who may drop your project anytime based on other engagements or commitments, agencies provide you a better sense of business continuity. Also another aspect is that agencies tend to be more careful about their reputation and would go that extra mile to give you a better solution for good reviews. Agencies usually have refined development methodologies and processes that help you better predict the timeline of your project and also deploy a robust solution.

Long And Short Term Costs

At the first look, hiring a freelancer always looks cheaper, much cheaper than an agency. But if you consider the longer terms costs around

  • Maintainability
  • Extensibility
  • Code Quality
  • Time to market
  • User Experience

Then going with an agency would be cheaper in the long run. 

There are a number clients who come to us burning their fingers with bad code that cannot be maintained and need to be rewritten causing a huge upsurge in the costs 

The conclusion?

There isn’t a one size fit all solution here as the decision between a freelancer or an agency based approach has to be evaluated on a case to case basis. This not only depends on the type of the project and the available budget, but also on the technical proficiency of the founder as well. Working with a company gives you peace of mind owing to a structured approach and multi-functional expertise, and you get to centrate on the core business activities than having to spend all your time managing the project. Also from an output perspective agencies have dedicated teams for design, development, testing etc which assures you of a quality product. 

But having said that, choosing a development company for a proof of concept project expected to last for a couple of weeks, might be an overkill and is probably a better fit for a freelancer.

So in short, either of the approaches might work for you depending on the size of the project and the expertise it demands. Feel free to drop us a message if you would want to brainstorm on your idea or understand how much it might cost to build your application. 

Bizmindz can provide you with a no obligation quote for developing your solution. Feel free to say Hi.

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