If you don’t have the personnel on-site for a project, you need to find them from somewhere. There are plenty of websites out there promising to connect you with the best freelance talent around the world. Certainly, you can find a freelancer developer who will do a fantastic job; but finding the right person can be a bit of a lottery.
There are drawbacks to using independent contractors for your organization’s projects. If you haven’t considered them before, here are some of the most common issues with using freelancers.
1. Spoilt for Choice
There are a number of sites for finding freelancers. Many of them operate like a marketplace, where you post your role and ask for quotations. Because most sites open their books to international workers (and having access to the global talent pool is a great thing) it can mean that your inbox is flooded with developers eager to undercut each other. That can be overwhelming.
2. Quality Assurance
It can be really tough to know if the freelancer you’re hiring will do a great job. Although some sites do allow previous customers to give reviews, it can be hard to know whether they’re genuine. You can always ask for contact with prior clients, but of course those will be picked by the freelancer and they’re unlikely to put you in touch with people they’ve let down.
3. Spinning Plates
Freelancers won’t just be working for you. If they’re going to keep their business viable they’ll need multiple clients. In the United Kingdom there is specific tax legislation targeting freelancers who work for a single client as a ‘disguised employee’.
What this means for you is that you won’t be their top priority. They’ll likely be juggling multiple projects. Even if they’re not they will have to spend a portion of their time looking for the next gig. Freelancers are more than just developers, they’re also business people and we all know that running your own business takes time.
4. Cheshire Cats
These guys are your freelance nightmare. They come along, oozing charm and capability. You pay them a deposit, they get started…and then they just disappear. They stop responding to emails, skype calls or any other form of communication. You’re just left in the lurch.
5. Lone Wolf Freelance Developers
There are many reasons why developers choose to become freelancers. It’s certainly not fair to generalize, BUT. For some, the reason they strike out on their own is that they don’t enjoy being managed by other people. Freelancing is all about that first syllable – free. Free to choose when, where, how, and who you work for.
And that can be great, but it can also go to a freelancer’s head. You find mavericks in freelance positions. People who are great at nodding and smiling and telling you they’re on-board with your way of doing things; then you spot them parasailing from the rear of the boat.
While ‘out of the box’ thinking can be a real advantage, lone wolf developers can be a nightmare to manage. If you’re running a team project? You need a team player.
The Big Finish
Where’s the benefit to the freelancer in getting a project finished? They find their contract is suddenly over and they need to replace you as a client. They don’t have the same investment as a full-time employee in the long-term success of the project or the company. In some freelancers, this can show when you really need the most effort put in – as deadlines approach.
Training Freelance Developers
Freelancers have to pay for their own training. As an employer, you know how expensive that training is. You can understand why freelancers might not keep as up to date in new developments as you would like.
Now, you may not consider that a problem as you’re unlikely to hire someone who doesn’t have training and experience in the development platform you’ll be using. However, you don’t just train your employees in those things, do you? You’ve probably sent them on Agile training courses, or given then time to come to understand your internal systems. Do you really want to pay a freelancer to do that or your full time programmer?
It’s not all bad news…
As we said at the start, there are some really great freelancers out there who will deliver exactly what you need. The problem is, finding them.
While we can’t help you with that problem, we can offer you an alternative solution which we think you’ll see answers all those problems and more besides. Hiring a remote employee. So, what are the benefits of hiring remote?
The best global talent
Hiring a permanent remote developer gives you the benefit of the global talent pool. But because you’re looking at an employee, not a freelancer, it’s a lot easier to check their career history. Freelancers might be able to brush a bad job under the carpet, but holes in a permanent employee’s CV are easier to spot.
Choosing remote full time employees for your company gives you access to some great talent. You don’t just cast your net around the world you also attract people who work remotely for a variety of reasons. It’s great for diversity.
Remote employees get just as invested in the success of a project as your on-site teams. They’re not thinking about the next gig, they just want to keep working at this one. Remote team management doesn’t take any special skills, it’s only the way you stay in touch that’s different. We have lots of advice on remote team management in the blog archives.
Get Help Recruiting Full-Time Employees vs Freelancers
Freelance sites are generally automated. You don’t get a real person helping to understand your requirements and matching you with the right person. But if you choose to hire your developer remotely and use a specialist recruitment agency like DistantJob? We’ll help you every step of the way.
We specialize in matching your opportunity with some of the best development professionals around the world. We’re so good at it, it’s like a super power. Whether this is your first virtual team member or the latest in a long line of distributed staff we’d love to help you find the right person. Get in touch today, to find out more.