Freelance Developer vs. App Development Company

Choosing the developer to bring your business app idea to life is a bit like dating – you’ve got to have chemistry with your development partner, whether they be a freelancer or an app development company, in order for the relationship to work.

An awkward dynamic between you and your business app developers will only end in disappointment, with you feeling like you can’t communicate what you really want to say.

While a freelancer may give you a significant amount of face time, they might not always like the frank feedback of their handiwork. On the other hand, a relationship with an app development company is likely to be slightly more impersonal, but any feedback will go through an intermediary (an account manager), which should make for something more long term with proven communication paths.

You must decide, then, whether you’re best matched with a freelance app developer or an app development company. Let’s look at a few more of the pros and cons to help you decide:

Freelancers

Pros

  • There are some fantastic freelance app developers out there – it’d be remiss not to point this out. Often, it’s their reputation for producing high-quality output that’s provided the platform for them to go freelancing.
  • Freelancers are invariably the cheaper option. Less overheads mean freelancers are able to put a smaller cost on the price of the build, which will please your superiors, no doubt.
  • Closer collaboration on the project. Freelancers might be happy to work on-site with you, which could help them to better reflect your business in the app.

Cons

  • Availability could prove a problem. Freelancers can only work on one project at a time. While this could play into your favour initially, it could go the other way should the project run over time.
  • You’ll have to lead the project. This is something of a given regardless, but a freelancer will look to you for answers should the project run into problems. The issue being, you might not have adequate answers to offer.

It is virtually impossible to find a freelancer who can do ‘the lot’: write the code, design the user-interface, test for bugs, etc. If you manage to find such a Unicorn, then let us know, because it’s extremely unlikely that you will. Chances are, you’ll end up hiring multiple freelancers to get the job done. This often means you effectively take on the role of app development project manager, something you may not have the time, or inclination, so to do.

App Development Company

Pros

  • You’re dealing with more than just one person. You’ll have access to an entire multi-faceted team that’s able to carry a project from start to finish (and beyond, probably, business apps need updating).
  • You’ll be benefiting from a culture of competition and collaboration. This can help ensure that strict deadlines are met and yield an extraordinary end product.
  • Peace of mind. App development companies have project managers whose job it is to make sure your project is progressing as it should, saving you the worry.

Cons

  • It’s typically a bigger investment, but you are hiring the services of a team of developers, their project management systems and crucially their Quality Assurance process - rather than an individual.

That’s about it as far as cons are concerned. However, we do understand that for most businesses, budget is the biggest factor in deciding whether to hire an app developer via the freelance or the agency route.

At the end of the day, if you’re looking to keep costs to a minimum and feel confident that you could lead the project through its peaks and troughs, opt for a freelance app developer. However, if the primary objective is to get your app thriving on both the iOS and Android platforms before your competitors get there, it might be worth making the case for an app development company. Sure, it will absorb more of your budget, but remember you’re paying for the privilege of expertise and project management. That’s something you might not be able to put a price on as you walk in to present your CEO with the finished product…

Want to find out more about app development? Download our free PDF on building the best app for your business.

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