You can transform your dream project from an idea into a beautiful reality with the right combination of technical knowledge and skills. When you are building your own business, hiring freelancers is an easy, scalable way to access these required resources.
A number of well-known companies such as Facebook and PayPal routinely hire freelancers to expand their businesses. Many other startups are also doing the same to scale their operations successfully.
However, if you think that hiring a freelance developer is a cakewalk, then you are completely wrong. The process is unexpectedly complex and can have a huge impact on your business. Therefore, it is essential to get the maximum value when hiring freelance developers.
Before we dive deep into how you can do that, let's understand why development teams hire freelance or third-party developers, and how hiring a freelance developer can go wrong.
Why Do Companies Hire Freelance Developers?
Working with freelance developers provides companies with lots of benefits. Some of them are mentioned below:
This is one of the biggest reasons why businesses prefer to hire freelance developers rather than full-time employees. When you hire a freelance developer, you pay only for the work that gets done by the developer, resulting in huge cost savings.
For example, in the US, many employers save around $5,483 on health insurance payments per year for each hired freelancer. Whereas, the actual cost of hiring a full-time employee is 1.35 times greater than their base salary. This is because you not only need to pay their annual salaries but also their insurance, retirement, savings, paid leave, and more. As an example, the annual cost of an in-house employee is $181,380.70 for a position in which a freelancer would cost you around $156,800. In that salary range, you can save around $30,000 if you choose to hire a freelance developer.
Catch Up On The Backlog Quickly
Unlike full-time employees, freelance developers work with maximum flexibility. For example, they can make schedules on their own, structure their projects as they desire, and assign workdays as they please. This enables them to more easily handle troublesome or frustrating projects and still deliver the work in a timely manner.
As freelancers set boundaries about how often and how much they can work, it becomes easy for them to unclog their workflows. Thus, hiring one or more freelancers is a fast way to catch up on your backlog of various tasks.
Fill Gaps In Internal Team Skill Sets
Research suggests that 70% of companies that hire freelancers do so to fill a specific skill gap in their teams. This minimizes risks and ensures higher productivity, as you are hiring an individual who has the specific skill set that you are looking for.
For example, if you are developing a hybrid mobile application and need to integrate native payment gateways, which your developer is not very familiar with, you could leverage a freelance developer who is an expert in native gateway integration to complete the project. In these cases, whether you need to fill the gap of a particular skill temporarily or you wish to hire for skills that are not common in the market, hiring a freelancer becomes an ideal choice for you.
Rescue Stalled Builds
Due to a shortage of developers, technical failures, incorrect data, project mistakes, unresolved project conflicts, and various other reasons, the development of a project might get delayed or go on hold. By hiring a freelance developer, you can resolve some of these issues quickly, as freelance developers can step in and untangle major technical snags.
Hand Off Troublesome Projects
Freelance developers are capable of handling projects that are facing difficulties and challenges which the team cannot resolve. For example, if your mobile application is not meeting your client’s expectations, you can hire a freelancer with enough expertise to assist with the project.
Get New Features To Market Faster
Whether you wish to add a new module to an existing application, add some necessary features to your unreleased product, or add an entirely new product to your pre-existing suite, hiring a freelancer can speed up the process. Getting new features into users' hands quickly can give you an advantage over the competition.
How Can Hiring a Freelance Developer Go Wrong?
When it comes to building and expanding your business, you should always weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks. Here are some ways that hiring a freelance developer can go wrong:
Delayed Or Missed Deadlines
In addition to handling your project, a freelance developer could be juggling three or four other assignments. Therefore, if you decide to hire a freelance developer, you run the risk of missing deadlines due to their limited availability.
Lack Of Collaboration and Commitment
It is possible that your freelance developer won’t communicate with your team, which can lead to poor collaboration in the workplace. This is a symptom of a larger issue with freelancers, which is that they don’t commit to your projects as an in-house employee does. This can prove costly for your enterprise if things don't work out as expected.
There is no guarantee that a freelance developer will have the required skills that you need for your business. When work actually commences, you may find that your freelance developer is not as reliable and capable as a full-time employee.
Onboarding Costs Outweigh Added Productivity
Sometimes, a newly hired developer requires significant effort and time to catch up with the development of an existing project. They might need proper training to acquire this skill. In such cases, your onboarding cost could outweigh the added productivity.
How to Get the Most Out Of Hiring Freelance Developers
Let's discuss how you can hire top-notch freelance developers and get the most out of it.
Assess Their Skills In The Interview
It is important to assess the skills of a developer before extending an offer. You need to make sure that the person is a good fit for your business. Monitor their full skill set, including time management, effective communication, creativity, and ability to work under pressure. Sometimes, a test task while interviewing a potential employee is a great way to analyze and evaluate their skills and experience.
Put Your Freelance Developer to the Test
Do not assume that your job is completed once you hire a freelance developer. The applicant that you have chosen might still prove to be a poor fit. Therefore, it is always recommended to closely track their early performance to ensure that they are on the right track. Starting each developer off with a short probationary period is one of the best ways to check whether the person is compatible with your team. Moreover, it will allow you to evaluate their skills and help them understand your work culture.
Be Absolutely Clear Regarding Your Expectations
Once you have hired a freelance developer, it is extremely important for you to be clear about your expectations and specifications for the project. Make sure that your documents clearly depict your requirements, including deadlines, milestones, and any relevant design files.
Keep Your Channels of Communication Open
As most freelancers work remotely, it is essential to stay in touch with them on a frequent basis. This is critical for exchanging relevant information, such as milestone updates, product feedback, timelines, and features.
There are various project management methodologies which incorporate different communication strategies, such as Critical Path, Waterfall, Agile Project Management (APM), Scrum, and more. In addition, numerous collaborative and budget-friendly communication tools can also help you connect with your developers. Zoom, Stride, RedBooth, BROSIX, and Podio are some of the best communication tools used by businesses.
This is one of the best strategies to get the most out of hiring a freelance developer. You should always keep in mind that you need to act as a "leader," and not as a "boss," while working with them. Let them know that you believe in them, give them some purpose, allow them to make things right, set weekly goals for them, be transparent about client expectations, show them the bigger picture, and always radiate positivity. The main idea is to motivate them so they can work hard and provide you with productive results.
Seek Out Developer Skill Sets Or Experience Levels That Are Better Suited To Freelancing
Certain types of development are more difficult for developers to perform on a freelance basis. For instance, backend development is often easy to hire for, since an application's architecture is primarily governed by your in-house development team. Other tasks such as UX design, require cross-departmental input, which can be challenging for a newly added freelancer to navigate.
Also factor in each developer's experience level and make sure that they possess all the skills necessary to operate with the amount of support that you are able to provide. If you have limited bandwidth to help them, then a more senior freelancer is necessary.
Proactively Communicate Progress
In order to avoid project delays, you need to help your developers by giving them clear deadlines, limiting distractions in the project, being clear with your priorities, finding out what they like to do, staying updated with the course of their work, and giving constructive feedback.
Keep Sensitive Information Safe
As freelancing could put your data at a higher risk, you need to ensure that sensitive information is protected from third parties. Make sure that you carefully regulate access to data and that you have given the necessary training to your freelancers. You can also instate a VPN policy, implement access controls, incorporate device security tools, and consider the guidance of experts to mitigate your cyber risk.
Tracking the Performance of Freelance Developers
The best way to track what your freelance developers are doing is by asking them to track the time they spend on your projects. There are a plethora of tools and platforms available online that allow you to have real-time data about who is working on what and for how long.
Under a time-tracking regimen, the freelancer is more likely to finish their projects on time, as they are aware that their output is being checked. If you find that your project is lagging, you can contact the freelancer to identify the issue and find a solution to it.
In addition to time-tracking tools, you can also install project management tools within your organization that can help with collaboration, communication, and tracking features. Besides creating, following, adjusting, and managing schedules for your team, you can also keep track of the projects assigned to each one of them.
It is also recommended to ask for an account of what your freelance developers have done since your last meeting with them. You can ask the following questions to assess the progress of your freelancers:
- What actions did you take since we last spoke?
- How did you carry out this phase of the project?
- Have you completed the tasks that were assigned to you since we last spoke?
Such questions will give you a quick insight into how things are going with your freelancers. Some of the questions that you can ask yourself to assess if things are going as planned are:
- Do they only talk about their work rather than doing it?
- How many times do they ask for help from somebody else?
- Do they often end up with late deliveries?
This will help you assess the quality of your freelancer and ensure that you get your money’s worth.
The Bottom Line
It is crucial to screen candidates while keeping in mind four core qualities: productivity, flexibility, time-management skills, and proactive communication. All these things play a vital role in whether your freelancer will aid you in your business or will turn it upside down.
Crowdbotics provides managed app development services through a pool of highly qualified and experienced developers that can either work as a part of your team or handle the entire project for you. If you're searching for high-quality, vetted software developers, get in touch with us today.