So, you’ve started looking into WordPress development for your business’s new website. After seeing how much it costs to get your hands on custom WordPress development and crunching the numbers, however, you’re a bit concerned about keeping your project within budget.
Maybe you found out online, or from a friend, that you can hire a freelance WordPress developer for a much lower price than an agency. But after doing some digging, you may have noticed that there are also some drawbacks that come at the cost of dollars you save.
Before settling for a freelance WordPress developer, consider weighing the benefits and drawbacks of working with a freelancer versus agency. That way, you can choose the perfect person or team for building your WordPress website.
Working with a Freelance WordPress Developer
A freelance developer is a web developer that works independently of any organization. Generally, freelancers are hired on for one-time only, short-term projects. As a freelancer is only one person, they typically provide more specialized services, such as strictly back-end WordPress development or UI/UX web design.
Lower price than an agency - Freelancers can often be hired for a lower hourly rate than a web development agency. Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to save a couple hundred to thousands of dollars by choosing a freelancer over an agency.
Note: Hiring a freelancer won’t always save you money. Highly experienced freelance developers often charge a higher hourly rate than agencies. Likewise, less experienced developers may take longer to complete your project, costing you as more than an agency in the long-run.
Hire only the expertise you need - If you already have an existing WordPress site, and you only need a few tweaks done here and there to make it even better, you can hire a single WordPress developer specialized in providing the services that meet your particular needs.
Greater flexibility - Since a freelancer doesn’t have a team to back them, they often work with one or fewer projects at a time. That being said, working with a freelancer may give you more flexibility in terms of making changes or expanding upon that project.
One person doing everything - Possibly the greatest downside of hiring a freelancer is that one person is wearing multiple hats. If they are building your site entirely from scratch, your freelancer will be playing (at the minimum) project manager, back-end developer, and front-end developer all at once.
Lack of processes - With a software development agency, a process is almost required to ensure every person is working together to achieve the end goal. However, since a freelancer isn’t a part of a team, a process isn’t mandated and often not adhered to—this can lead to project delays, errors, and more.
More time needed for project completion - With only one person taking on everything, from writing the architecture to creating the site’s design, a freelancer will likely take longer to bring your project to life.
Less security - Without a company overseeing them, freelancers are not required to have you sign legal agreements before starting on your project. As such, if you plan to work with a freelancer, you may want to consider developing contracts of your own.
Often a one-time only gig - In recent years, the Internet has given rise to the ‘gig economy,’ or the prevalence of freelancers who only do gigs here and there. The downside is that means there are many freelancers only looking for one-time only jobs, rather than long-term relationships with their clients.
Partnering with a WordPress Development Agency
A WordPress development agency is a team designed to build WordPress sites, which is often comprised of junior developers, senior developers, web designers, and sometimes project managers. In most cases, agencies are better suited for tackling larger, long-term projects. Additionally, given that there are multiple team members involved, they are also often better equipped to tackle projects that are more complex.
More people, more expertise - As noted, software development agencies often include a project manager, software developers, and UI/UX designers, if not more. In this way, tasks are assigned to individuals skilled in each area, which ensures that every person working on your project is doing what they are best at.
Better processes - With more people, you have to be more organized, and more often than not, that means putting processes in place. With proven processes in place, your agency has a higher likelihood of building your WordPress site in a way that meets your expectations, and by the deadline you expected.
Greater quality assurance - Most agencies that follow set processes also have a specific process in place for quality assurance (QA). Within this QA process, your agency will most likely review your WordPress site in order to ensure that it’s ready for your use.
Quicker project completion - Another benefit of having more people on your side means that your project can be completed more quickly than if only one person was working on it. With an agency, multiple people can be working on your site at once, reducing the amount of time you have to wait for your site to go live.
More security for you & your project - In most cases, when partnering with an agency, both parties (you and the agency) will sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). This documentation protects you and your ideas, as well as the ideas of the agency you’re working with, making the partnership more secure all around.
Build long-term relationships - While freelancers often make a living off of doing one-time ‘gigs,’ agencies often seek out long-term clientele. In fact, agencies are often happy to build your WordPress site and continue maintaining it once it’s been built.
Costs more than freelancers - The greatest downside of working with a web development company is that they will most likely cost more than a freelancer. However, it’s important to consider that you’ll receive more for your money when you hire an agency, as opposed to when you hire a freelancer.
More than you need - While it’s often a good thing that an agency can provide you with a greater pool of talent to choose from, it can also be a downside. As noted, when you hire an agency, you pay for an agency, and if you only need a few tweaks done to your web design, having a full team available may not be necessary.
Potential for limited availability - Since agencies are larger, they often have the capacity to complete more projects at once. When working on multiple projects at once, however, each project and task must be scheduled and coordinated, which can make it difficult for your agency to adjust their schedule for you.
What Should You Choose?
Hiring either a freelancer or web development agency is a respectable decision—it’s your project, and you know what’s best for your needs. That being said, based on these benefits and drawbacks, the clear winner is a web development agency.
While you can save money by working with a freelancer, a web development agency can provide you with greater expertise, quality assurance, a long-term business relationship, and more. It’s worth noting that a freelancer may still be a good fit for smaller, short-term projects that require a specific skill set, such as minor improvements in web design.
How Can We Help You?
If you’re still thinking of hiring a freelance developer simply because they’ll cost you less, think again: By bringing together U.S. project management and processes with offshore web developers and designers, we’re able to offer affordable WordPress development services.
That’s right—you get more for less.
To partner with us on your WordPress project, contact us.