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Freelance vs. agency web development - which one should you choose and why

The freelance vs. agency web development debate is still going strong. So far, with how many web developers are there at the moment, there is no scarcity of them whatsoever.

26 September, 2022
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The freelance vs. agency web development debate is still going strong. So far, with how many web developers are there at the moment, there is no scarcity of them whatsoever. Both remote and local, you can technically find backend and front-end development and design professionals with any budget and skill set requirements.

This leads us to the issue of actually finding the right one for your project and to the discourse itself. To make it easier, we’ll list the pros and cons of the freelance vs. agency options, where to find suitable specialists, and which ones to choose for your case.

You can find more information on how to hire a web developer and the average web development costs on our blog, along with other practical articles and guides.

How to choose a web development company?

More often than not, when you search through loads of different articles on the “top best front-end web developer for hire,” a professional web development company, startup, or agency is what you’ll find first. The reason for that is dependability.

A web development agency is a team of experts, each in their own area of expertise and with their own technology stack. An agency will take care of your product, from initial requirements to deployment, and often with post-deployment maintenance as well.

To choose a web development company, determine first the type of web solution you’re aiming for and then look for similar expertise. Yet, your compatibility goes beyond just matching projects. The next thing is going through reviews and testimonials.

And last but not least, check their industry experience and what type of methodologies they frequent. You’re looking for an elegant and timeless product, right? In order to create one, web dev agencies shouldn’t use outdated methods and must regularly brush up their skills.

How to hire a freelance developer?

A freelance developer, on the other hand, is usually self-employed. By not strictly belonging to any company or agency, they have a distinct way of going about their work. All their projects may come from different clients, and they may commit to several tasks at a time.

The easiest way to hire freelancers is by browsing platforms like Freelancer, Upwork, Fiverr, Guru, etc. Between Upwork vs. Fiverr, for a more long-term partnership, visit Upwork first. If you want to know how many freelancers are on Upwork, the number is close to 12 million.

Those who work independently are reachable through social media or references. Another way to spot the right fit is to check out websites with established professional communities showcasing their portfolios. Examples: Dribbble, Behance, GitHub, StackOverflow.

However, hiring a freelance developer requires more than just browsing through platforms or websites. It is essential to have a clear understanding of the project requirements, the scope, and timeline of the project. The hiring process should also include reviewing the freelancer's past work experience, client feedback, and their expertise in the specific technology or programming language required for the project.

It is also important to have a written contract that outlines the project details, payment terms, and deadlines. By having a clear and concise communication plan in place, you can ensure that both you and the freelancer are on the same page and working towards the same goal.

Freelancer vs. web development agency: pros and cons

Both the agency vs. freelancer options have their advantages and disadvantages. Here’s what you should consider.

Pros of hiring freelancers

Affordability. Freelance web developers generally have lower rates than their agency counterparts. If your budget is tight at the moment, they will definitely come in handy.

Flexibility. Freelancers rarely adhere to traditional working hours, knowing well that this is one of their trump cards. They show extreme flexibility in trying to meet the needs of clients.

Short-term collaboration. If you just need a brief redesign, quick website mend, or any other temporary task - freelancers are the way to go.

High quality. Trying to establish and then maintain a decent reputation necessary to obtain great clients in the future, freelancers are eager to impress with the high quality of their work.

Pros of hiring a web development agency

Reliability. If you hire an experienced development agency, you can certainly expect a high level of quality and reliability of their services that also abide by legal contracts.

Continuous partnership. Agencies and companies usually offer a complete cycle of development services spread out over a long period of time.

A full range of expertise. A professional team has people with various sets of skills, so whether you want the design, development, quality assurance, etc., they’ve got you covered.

Steady management. Communication and management are more straightforward in such teams. Plus, agencies often have project managers that assist with overseeing the project.

Cons of hiring freelancers

Lack of monogamy. Freelance developers often work on multiple projects simultaneously, making the partnership challenging for those clients who want their utmost attention.

Risks. By hiring independent workers, there is a chance of getting ditched. Freelancers choose what projects to work on, and irresponsible ones may drop your project mid-way.

Harder to manage. Freelancers don’t come with managers in a package. You cannot fully manage their work, so the organization leaves much to be desired.

Cons of hiring a web development agency

Cost. The only significant downside of hiring a professional web development agency is higher prices, which inevitably come with better quality, dependability, and expertise.

Lack of flexibility. What’s great for workers (fixed hours, maintaining work-life balance) may not be so great for clients wishing to get everything done here and now.

Pros and cons of hiring freelancers
Pros and cons of hiring freelancers
Pros and cons of hiring an agency
Pros and cons of hiring an agency

Which one should you choose, then?

The biggest argument for selecting a web development agency over freelancers is that you get a full range of services for your project. One company works on UX/UI design, front-end, back-end, etc.

Plus, all team members work together harmoniously to make the end product well thought-out and balanced. So, for projects made from scratch, we will advise you to choose a professional company.

Freelancers, however, are an excellent choice for quick fix-ups, redesigns, or simple short-term projects that don’t require regular updates.

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