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Remote Web Developer vs Freelance Web Developer: Pros and Cons

Remote web developer

Do you remember back in the day when company websites were new and unconventional – when they just had to look snazzy without actually doing all that much?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

These days, your business website has to be flawless in its content, navigability, and functionality. And if your site isn’t as efficient, versatile, or user-friendly as it can be, you may be surrendering a competitive advantage to someone with a better site. That’s why it’s vital that you find a web developer who has the skills and knowledge needed to construct a website that’s perfect for your company.

Nowadays, companies choose to have the job performed by tech professionals remotely, especially because they are less stressed and therefore work more productively (according to a FlexJobs study, among many others). Also, a recent survey by Indeed found that 57% of employers say that working remotely improves morale and reduces the turnover rate.

But contrary to what many think, remote doesn’t mean freelance. In fact, a remote web developer and a freelance web developer are two very different types of employees. In this article, I’ll show you why, and the pros and cons of freelance web developers vs. full-time remote web developers.

Freelance Developer vs. Full-time Developer – What’s the Difference?

If you don’t have someone in your team who already has web developing skills, then it’s probably better to find a coder than trying to overcome this by reading Coding for Dummies and doing it yourself. The next logical step may seem to hire a freelance web developer, but you need to know that you have two basic choices:

  1. You can engage the services of a freelance web developer, who will build your site for a fee or hourly rate without having to hire him full-time.
  2. You can hire a remote web developer who functions just like a regular employee only working from an offsite location.
Remote web developer

At first, glance, securing a freelance web developer might seem to be a pretty attractive option. You can create a one-off business arrangement with no strings attached at an affordable price. And you probably don’t have to mess with HR or shepherd a freelancer through an extensive company onboarding process.

The Cons of Hiring a Freelancer

When taking a closer look, freelance web developers might present some significant challenges that could hinder the construction of your site or impact how it functions when it’s completed. At first sight, it might seem like it’s fine to work with a freelancer, but the cons of hiring a freelance web developer can get more significant with time. For example:

1. The Quality of the Job

Even though a freelancer may claim to have the necessary coding and design skills to perform a web development job, there’s no real way of knowing if that’s true. It’s usually not practical to ask a freelancer to verify their skills via testing; and you may not discover any knowledge gaps until the project is already in full swing.

Also, it’s impossible to know whether a freelancer has the most up-to-date technology available. If they’re using a different coding interface or an older version of communication software, it could slow the pace of the website’s development.

2. Not Part of Your Company

The relationship with a freelancer is project-based. They ultimately set their own schedule, meaning that they may prioritize other projects ahead of yours. This can result in frustrations on your part when it comes to managing times and deadlines.

Company culture is crucial for obtaining quality results for a project. Culture is what makes people feel connected and part of something greater than themselves. And that drives commitment.

A freelancer has higher odds of providing a poor service because they might not feel attached to your company. When working on a project, things go smoothly when all the people working in it go by the same processes and share the company’s values.

Also, trust is essential. Some freelancers have been known to “flake out” and disappear from a project altogether, leaving it unfinished and in disarray.

3. Limited Changes

A freelancer may provide only limited post-launch support for a website, so it may be more difficult to make little tweaks or changes to the site once it goes live. This is especially true if he has already been paid for the project.

Websites need some time to show results, and changes could be needed for it to work better. You don’t have this support assured when the person doesn’t have a formal work relationship with the company.

If you want to improve your website in the future, your freelancer may not be available to take on the work. Then you’re faced with bringing someone else in to try to understand the other freelancer’s code. And even the most experienced programmers have difficulties when trying to read other developer’s code, so this whole process may take some time (and we all know time is money).

4. Finding a Freelance Web Developer

Finding a qualified freelance web developer might be really hard. You’ll have to go to a freelance marketplace: a chaotic place with a lot of people offering their services for cheap prices, just to get a review on their profiles. Looking for developers who charge cheap salaries means you’ll probably get cheap results.

It’s unusual to find high-quality tech talent there. Qualified developers are often busy, they probably have a job, and they certainly don’t work for a low price. You need a better, less time-consuming, and costly process, like headhunting to recruit talented developers. Or even better yet, have specialized recruiters who headhunt developers and take care of the dirty (and boring) work.

Watch this video, where I share some insights on hiring freelancers vs. hiring remote web developers.

Remote Web Developers are Invaluable for Your Business

When it comes to pros and cons, choosing a remote developer would be a better option for building and maintaining such a valuable asset as a company website.

Pros of hiring remote web developers

  • A remote employee has more accountability for your company since they’re essentially full-time workers. They will learn your company’s culture and share goals and values, as well as work by the same processes.
  • You can gain a better understanding of their skillset (either through pre-hire testing or during their early employment tenure) and can train them in other vital areas if necessary. And if you can find a remote web developer with excellent self-discipline, time management skills, and proactive reporting abilities, then you’ll have a valuable company asset for your current project as well as in the future – all at a fraction of the cost of hiring a local web developer.
  • If you need further changes like website maintenance or new implementations, the remote developer is already working for you. They are familiar with the site, the team, and how things are done in the company.
  • The process of finding and hiring a remote web developer is less complicated. You don’t need to dive into endless lists of people in an online marketplace. You can work with specialized recruiters that know where to find them, like DistantJob superheroes. What’s our superpower? You send your job description, and in less than 2 weeks, we’ll send you the resumes of the right candidates for you. The best part? You don’t have to pay until the person starts working with you.
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According to the Duke/CIBER Booz Allen study, 70% of companies hire remote workers primarily because of the increased talent pool rather than reduced costs. Also, as I already stated above, more research shows that companies hire remote workers because they experienced how it increased retention, productivity, and commitment.

So if you’re looking overseas for someone to build your website, you should strongly consider forgoing the freelancer route and opting for a remote web developer instead.

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Sharon Koifman

Sharon Koifman

Sharon Koifman believes every company, from the biggest enterprise to the newly-launched garage startup, should have access to world’s top talent. That’s why he used over 10 years of experience in tech industry recruitment & HR to create DistantJob. His unique recruitment model allows DistantJob’s clients to get high quality IT experts working remotely at a fraction of the usual cost - with no red tape and within two weeks.