The job market at the outset of the third decade of the 21st century is extremely fluid. People don’t stay in one position or indeed in one location for long. They look for better working conditions or payment, move to a region with a more agreeable climate or healthier environment, pick up new skills and professions, drift to countries with a more lenient tax regime, or even downshift.
Companies have to trim their sails to these volatility winds, trying not only to stay precariously afloat but thrive and expand. Their flexibility in finding workforce results in the across-the-board advent of the gig economy – the system essentially reliant on temporary employment for short-term and one-off commitment.
The vicious onslaught of the global pandemic with its imperative of switching to the remote working mode has reinforced this drive turning it from a nascent trend into a widely leveraged practice. Modern businesses juggle assignments between independent contractors, part-time or temporary hands, project-based workers, and freelancers. The latter proved to be a viable labor pool that is increasingly drawn upon in an ever-widening roster of industries – from accounting and finance to education and design, with transportation and construction in-between.
The IT industry turned out to be most susceptible to adopting freelance recruitment, often leaving CEOs on the horns of the dilemma: should they set up an in-house IT department or outsource software development to freelancers?
Perks of hiring freelance developers
The freelance model promises a number of boons to enterprises that have a software project to implement.
Cutting down on cost
- This consideration very often outweighs all others in the cash-strapped post-COVID world. Keeping an IT department of your own isn’t only about paying a regular salary (which is bigger than the freelance charges anyway) to a bunch of guys to do the job for you – or twiddle fingers expecting the next assignment.
- In addition to direct payroll expenses, you will have to rent accommodation, pay for utilities consumed there, buy hardware and software (and hire cloud facilities to boot), cover medical insurance and vacations, furnish a recreation room or a gym, pay for their professional (and sometimes linguistic) training, etc.
- With freelancers, you have none of that costly bother. You just pay a fixed price or an hourly rate and don’t worry about anything else. Besides, by wisely choosing freelancers, you can save even more, engaging experts from the regions (like Eastern Europe) where a competent labor force is very affordable.
- Working on a nine-to-five basis, in-house personnel call it a day on Friday evening and will turn up on Monday morning come hell or high water. Moreover, you will have to learn to make do when a developer calls in sick or is enjoying rest on a vacation or holiday whereas you have a situation.
- Freelancers are a totally different story. Their working schedule is very flexible as they personally decide how much they’re going to work. This usually results in getting the job done ultimately faster. And it is usually no problem for freelancers to attend to some emergency issue outside working hours.
- It takes months to find a developer on a permanent basis that will suit you to a tee. And then, they will have to undergo a lengthy onboarding process and hope that the assembled team will suffer from no compatibility problems.
- A good freelancer can be found in a matter of days, especially if you address specialized freelance sites. Plus, ready to oblige specialists can get their noses dirty almost at once. And as they are going to stay with you only as long as the project lasts, the adjustment process and internal conflicts aren’t relevant.
- Once hired, your in-house staff will stay with you for a longish span since you aren’t likely to trade them ever and anon hoping to find a better fit. To make the matters worse, they may lack some narrow skills you need for a specific use case.
- But if you opt for enlisting a freelancer, the entire global pool of talents in the realm is at your service. You can avail yourself of a specialist with the requisite expertise and professional background that will be a perfect match for the project you have in mind. Plus, freelancers try to keep abreast of the latest high-tech developments, given the cut-throat competition in the domain.
No learning curve
- The in-house personnel needs regular training to hone their existing mastery and acquire new competencies that will have to be paid for and is going to take a certain time to sink in, too.
- On the contrary, freelancers are a sort of off-the-shelf solution that can be put into commission instantly because you engage an expert who already knows what to do.
Excellent remote skills
- Accustomed to the office routine, in-house teams are yet to learn how to manage their time and collaborate working from home (in case we are in for another lockdown). This fact gives a serious edge to freelancers for whom remote modus operandi is a bread-and-butter practice.
Simpler legal handling
- Working with freelancers requires much less paperwork and specification of legal issues.
Sounds appealing? Well, while being generally a great option for most software development endeavors, employing freelancers is just what the doctor ordered in some cases.
When hiring freelancers works remarkably well
Freelance software development is your best (or even only) choice under the following conditions.
- You are a startup on short commons. You have just launched your business project that so far includes several employees (who are co-founders, as likely as not) and most of your assets are big-time aspirations. Naturally, maintaining on your payroll half a dozen IT specialists who will take care of the site is unreasonable and unaffordable.
- Your business is an open-platform e-commerce venture. In this case, you will need a geek who will adjust the platform’s settings, themes, and parameters to your needs and tastes. Another one is necessary to look in from time to time to fine-tune the webpage or fix minor issues. Both can be enrolled from the freelance pool.
- You work on a one-time project. Let’s say you have a contract with a client that has particular goals to achieve and a strict deadline (around a year) for completion. The situation requires enlisting the services of specialists suitable for this task only who will be dismissed after the project is over. Hiring them permanently has no sense, so think freelance.
- Your workflow is prone to fluctuate. You have a seasonal (say, agricultural or touristic) business, so your workload waxes and wanes throughout the year. Paying IT staff salaries in shoulder season is unsustainable, and you will do perfectly well by inviting freelancers who can get at it hammer and tongs when the tide comes. The same applies to startups that aren’t sure about the amount of work they will face.
- You own a remote company. If you hail from a region where local talent is hard or impossible to come by, you have only two options – either to move your business to a place rife with qualified IT personnel or engage freelancers who will work remotely for you. If the first one is out of the question, you are left with the second.
- The local developers’ rates are outrageously high. This is a typical problem for companies based in North America and Western Europe. There, IT markets are overheated so enterprises have to pay through the nose for such services, which adversely affects the revenues and product manufacture costs. Yet, there are plenty more fish in other IT seas that have requisite expertise and experience but will cost you much less.
In the early third millennium, when the globalization drive and the ubiquitous digitalization reign supreme, entrepreneurs aren’t any more constrained by the limits of their neighborhood, city, or even country in their manhunt for high-profile software developers. By hiring freelancers, they can get access to a worldwide IT expert market and choose an appropriate offer with the best price/quality ratio.