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Why should startups hire freelance developers?

To set oneself up for success, the importance of having the right team has been established time and time again. Top companies, big and small, consistently attribute success to their teams. It only makes sense then that firms everywhere spend an inordinate amount of time and money to build their dream teams.

Clearly, it’s not disputed that assembling the right team is critical to achieving goals. The impact of having an in-house team v/s hiring freelance developers, though, isn’t debated as much as it should.

In recent years, this has changed - freelancing and remote working have caught on to the imagination of forward-thinking startups. Even visionary corporations, always on the lookout for a new lever of growth have warmed up to freelancers. And rightly so, as the benefits of a flexible and distributed workforce are too good to ignore.

Let's look at some reasons why hiring and working with full-time and in-house developers can be limiting for some companies:

The problem with in-house developers

1. Long time to fill a position

Companies spend a lot of time in hiring a quality developer or designer. Here's the lowdown: “Time to fill” is the number of days between the publication of a job and getting an offer accepted. According to industry benchmarks, this metric is 55 days for Engineering & IT talent (for developers across all geographies).

Also, commitments, such as notice period, delay the time taken for the developer to join the firm by another month or two. This makes the entire process an intensive 3 to 4 months ordeal. Reports indicate that this duration has been increasing in recent years.

Of course, while you grapple with the slow hiring process, the loss in opportunity costs cannot be ignored. Unfilled positions in the US Tech industry alone account for a loss of $20.1 billion per year. Not being able to hire developers fast can hamper a startup’s growth, and cause considerable problems for larger companies as well.

2. Dipping employee-employer loyalty

For the millennials in today’s workforce, job-hopping has become the “new normal”. According to a recent report by Gallup, over 21% of millennials have changed their jobs within one year, which is 3 times more than their older counterparts.

Talent managers and recruiters cite a large portion of resumes filled with job stints of a year or two. This is concerning for companies, since after spending many months training their developers, losing them in less than a couple of years is a huge waste of their resources.

Studies show that it costs a business 6 to 9 months’ salary on average every time they have to replace a salaried employee.

3. Not enough flexibility

Often times, situations arise where the team has to be scaled fast to solve a particular problem, owing to the lack of relevant expertise in the in-house team. In such cases, going through the painstaking process of hiring a developer as a full-time employee doesn’t make sense.

In situations like this, the developer’s expertise is usually only required in the short-term. So, once the particular task is completed, companies can’t afford to have the developer on their payroll without further work. Hence, some companies prefer to have flexibility in terms of hiring. Hiring freelance developers can greatly increase this factor of flexibility.

The Solution: Hire Freelance Developers

Using freelance developers to augment your core development team represents an ideal solution. By hiring and working with freelance developers, you’ll be able to bring about fast turnarounds in your product development goals, and also have the flexibility needed to adapt to the changing needs of the market.

Having a core tech team with full-time developers to build around is important and ensures that your company has a proper structure in place. However, multiple startups, even with a single founder, are able to grow quickly by working with a team of freelance developers.

This highlights the incredibly high versatility of freelance developers. Freelance developers can be hired to work closely with the founder, or as a specialist extension to the tech team. Or even, for augmenting the team when there is an urgent requirement with the current team’s bandwidth limited.

The future of work involves each individual building their own brand and possibly firms being entirely run by freelancers located in various parts of the globe.

With platforms such as Flexiple providing not only vetted but also specific recommendations to your developer needs, building your tech team can’t be any easier.

Benefits of hiring offshore developers

Having understood why hiring in-house developers might not be the right solution every time, let’s understand the benefits of hiring freelance developers and the use-cases they solve:

1. Take advantage of worldwide talent

When hiring in-house developers, companies only have access to a finite pool. They must either be located in the same region or be willing to relocate on short notice.

Hiring freelance developers can offer a company game-changing competitive edge by giving it the ability to leverage worldwide talent.

Skills, technical expertise, and costs to hire freelance developers can vary across the geographies. So if a company is ready to embrace remote working, it increases the odds of finding the best-suited developer for the job significantly.

2. Reduced overhead costs

There are a lot of factors that influence freelance developers’ rates, including:

  1. Geography
  2. Demand for the skill in the market
  3. Expertise in the skill-set
  4. Past Work Experience

Hiring freelance developers may or may not be cheaper than hiring in-house developers. However, it can definitely save overhead costs like benefits, office space, and supplies.

Especially, in a volatile funding climate, making the decision to hire offshore developers can be a boon. To adapt to a tough market, companies might need to take challenging decisions such as a hiring freeze. Using freelance developers to supplement the team can be the required solution to keep up the growth.

3. Bring about fast turnarounds – Meeting product goals

For the 3-4 months that it takes to hire permanent employees, a firm’s work can’t be stopped or postponed. Hiring a freelance developer to augment the team in such a setting ensures that the targets and deadlines don’t have to be compromised upon.

Vetted tech talent platforms enable companies to hire offshore developers within a week or two. Additionally, the personalised recommendations by experts reduce the chance of a bad hire and the need for iterations. Quality freelance developers, mapped correctly to requirements, hit the ground running. They generally require no training and have a very low ramp up time.

4. Niche technology – bringing in experts when they’re needed

At times, knowledge in a particular domain may be limited in a team of developers. Finding permanent hires in these niche technologies might be very hard. Furthermore, such a skill might not be needed by the firm on a regular basis.

Therefore, hiring a freelance developer who is an expert in the field allows the company to take advantage of the contextual knowledge they bring to the table. This would be more beneficial economically and also more efficient from a productivity perspective.

5. Higher flexibility – increasing the ability to adapt to the market

Hiring freelance developers allows the company to have a more flexible team, which can be scaled fast and modified as the need arises. This equips the company to easily adapt to the changing needs of the market.

This is invaluable to smaller companies that are looking to grow fast. Freelance developers allow them to keep up the pace on their build, while not having to take up the additional costs of hiring permanent developers. Our next point elaborates on this concept.

6. Instantly grow the development team’s bandwidth

Certain times might call for an immediate need for more manpower. This includes situations when the development team’s bandwidth has been maxed out, with opportunities being missed if there’s a long delay in getting more developers into the team.

Hiring freelance developers for such situations can prove to be a great solution. Freelance developers can start work almost immediately, resulting in fast turnarounds. This further allows them to act as extensions to the in-house tech team and ensure the pace is kept up through the high demand.

Looking to build your dream tech team? We’ve put together a comprehensive review of the Top 7 online services to hire freelance developers across the globe.

Discussion (1)

lukemiller profile image
Luke Miller

Hi Varun. Great post!

I especially like your point in preventing overhead. Being a freelancer for many years, many of my clients are startups. Startups often do not have a fully developed process with contracts and paying regularly. Therefore, I think that it is especially important to find efficient ways to save time, especially from a freelancing perspective. When it comes to administrative work, that can become a barrier from spending more time with customers.

I prefer to use AskFora when freelancing because it does a great job with handling the administrative aspect of freelancing that helps avoid overhead that is unnecessary so that I may spend more time with more of my clients to be focused and innovative.