Difference between a Freelance developer and an Agency? What works best for your business

Many of us face such situations and even juggle with the answers from references when it comes to hiring someone. Can it be a Freelance or an Agency or a team? The most complex question is yet to remain open. Especially when the Freelance market is evolving with the work-from-home culture following covid and post-covid scenarios. Resources working in the IT industry are leaned to it after holding a few years of experience. On the other hand, Agencies are also making a progressive way by productizing their services under dedicated support packages.

So what should we look for when opting for the right fit for your project? How to choose between a Freelance Developer and an agency? This article helps you with the details criteria to measure the need and checklist of selections. Let’s quickly move forward!

1) Why is it so difficult to choose between a Freelancer vs an agency?

Ever felt like a business owner puzzled to manage multiple resources to work with and not take proper care of your core business to prosper? Questions like should I work with an Agency or a Freelancer? How do I choose them?

There are so many questions and filtering criteria to measure the best fit for your e-commerce store development. The most pivotal and important decision for your business is to choose between a dedicated team or a Freelance Developer. Who you will work on the development of your e-commerce store will impact your entire business and growth! As it will become the foundation of your ever-expanding digital store.
Just type “Hiring Dedicated Resources” into Google and N number of results will appear in a bit of a second. I mean, imagine the filter-out criteria, it isn’t like one-size-fits-for-all anymore. Some freelance developers have all the know-how of the e-commerce industry while others are naive. Few have mastered the online store for B2C businesses while skeptical of the B2B model.

First, let’s understand the basics to know what it means and what kind of business models that are there for hiring resources.

2) What are the different business models when it comes to hiring for your e-commerce development?

Back to school days, here’s the gist of what are the business approaches available for e-commerce development and how the industry follows it. When it comes to e-commerce store development, the best e-commerce agencies and freelancers have adopted tried and approved business processes to work with the owners and merchants.

  • For Freelancer:
  • A freelancer is an independent consultant who works on your project. Being a single resource, they are accountable for all your concerns, worries, and communication. Hence, they all fall under dedicated resources. In most cases, they provide Fixed Cost and Hourly cost business models to the employers. The hourly model works on the number of hours spend on the project while the Fixed price is a predefined fixed cost for the project irrespective of the hours spent.

  • For Agency:
  • Agency follows the same Fixed price and Hourly business model. Yet, the difference they have when it comes to hiring a developer, they help you with their dedicated resource model. The dedicated resource model is similar to agreements in businesses. Agency provides resources to your business to work for you on a contractual and recurring base. Comment below if you would like to understand in-depth. 🙂

Behold and see the listed touchpoints with pros and cons for Freelancer and an Agency on a hiring note.

3) Agency vs. Freelancer: Criteria to look for while choosing your development resources

If we count there are heaps of criteria to count on while choosing the right fit between a freelancer or a resource from an agency. Based on our experience and what kind of situations our Agency partners and customers have been through, we are sharing a list of checklists that distinguish them.

3.1) SKill

Freelancers:
Being independent identity, they tend to be well-rounded professionals. In most cases, they started their career with several agencies and gradually selected freelance as a career. So if you are opting for a freelance developer, make sure you go with experienced freelancers, and be cautious of novices! Sometimes, it is hard to find the one that knows all in and out of e-commerce. Developers being highly-skilled may lack knowledge in SEO, marketing, Design, Server, and Solution building. Full-stake freelance e-commerce developers are hard to find and those who are available rarely help you with HTML-CSS level tasks. Make sure if you are selecting one, he or she excels in what you need.

Agency: On the other side, Agencies are full of Skilled resources. On a broader horizon, if you are looking for the best team to work for your e-commerce website development and expansion, choose a team that dedicates its efforts and soul to your store. Having a dedicated team, along with the developer, you will get the sound professionals like a dedicated account manager, project manager, team lead, tester, and designer. Isn’t it a great deal for you? If everyone is following your vision as per your need, you only have to do one thing, and that is your Core Business! 🤝 Even while hiring a skilled team, if your developer gets stuck with anything, there’s a team that helps him to move ahead!

3.2) Services

Freelancer: As the term intends to, Freelancers set the mindset of working remotely as per their convenience. Mostly they follow the deadlines and the tasks they have been given because they are the soul person for the work. The most effective part of their job is they are good communicators. But in this context, they sometimes disappear without a trace! They don’t insist to have a contract that brings legal issues in the engagement if they don’t provide the updates or if something went wrong.

Agency: Hiring a dedicated team ensures you timely updates and services. Agencies follow a structure and escalation matrix that helps the clients to communicate with when a specific event occurs. The team also shares progressive checklists and updates with the clients on every website development phase.

3.3) Flexibility

Freelancer: Flexibility is the main ability of Freelancers as they plan to initiate the independence of setting up their work routine. Majorly, they are available for you as per your requirement to schedule a call or discuss the new project or tasks. On the mirror side, we may face the situation where our clients shared that they charge extra to fulfill additional hours on weekends or in any urgency! If the freelancer is working for multiple clients, they may face chaos while delivering the final project to customers.

Agency: Flexibility with a diversity of knowledge, this is what Agencies are aiming to! You know the standard working hours of a team being in their location, so you need not worry about updates. If you want a dedicated resource to work in your time zone, I believe, agencies are breaking the barrier and providing the same! Even, Agencies have flexibility in terms of Project management, chat systems, payment options, and engagement terms too!

3.4) Communication

Freelancer: Freelancers are available and got hired through freelancing portals like Upwork, Fiverr, Guru, and Freelancers. They are used to communicate with you on the chat system that a particular portal provides. The tone is more leaned toward informal communication. Also, if you don’t have any Project management tool to have a track, they won’t ask you for the same unless they are experienced!

Agency: Agencies do follow communication algorithms and have set timely updates following their in-house mail and chat systems. Being a team that works for you, agencies have a project manager that provides you updates over weekly or bi-monthly calls and even has a dedicated person to handle and manage threads of emails.

3.5) Price

Freelancer: There is no bar for freelancers with highly-skilled expertise. Even, e-commerce developers for Magento and Shopify platforms demand competitive prices like agencies. The only concern is they are not well-worse with the entire e-commerce development. Hence, you have to hire multiple resources and onboard them for your e-commerce websites. Ultimately, you will end up paying more than the agencies.

Agency: With a comfortable payment schedule, you will get high-quality work from your agency partner. Even they offer the out-of-scope options that fit best for your payment cycles. If you are an agency and willing to hire a dedicated Magento team or a Shopify team, the agency will help you with the quote that suits your agency’s development and payment cycles!

4) Things to remember before making the decision

Based on the above checkpoints whether to hire an agency or a freelancer, here are some additional things to check while hiring a dedicated resource.

4.1) Proven High Performance

Ensure of experience and prowess your resource posses. In many cases, resources under the confidentiality of their contracts, are not able to disclose anything. Yet, you can ask them to share their references or portfolios and the kind of experience they hold in working on different technologies.

4.2) Experience in Niche

You will get developers in every hook and corner of the world from the USA to Asian markets varying from $5/hour to $250/hour or maybe more! What you need to scrutinize and examine, how experienced they are in their niche! For instance, Navigate Commerce, being a dedicated e-commerce development agency provides e-commerce development. No ifs and buts or any other than an IT development we are aiming to have. We are growing to have e-commerce as a vision! That’s the kind of master experience you need to look for from the agencies or resources you will hire.

4.3) Recommendations

Reviews work miracles and markets are moving on the judgments of influencers! Check the social proof, their posts, and knowledge-sharing activities with the kind of recommendations they hold from the actual clients. Were they always polite? Were they always prompt to respond to your email? Did they react well during an uncertainty? This helps you in decision-making.

5) Why Navigate?

From our experience with B2B and B2C clients who ask for dedicated resources, no business owners know the best and update themselves with industry knowledge unless they are into it. Even, e-commerce is booming like never before. Multiple technologies, tactics, and trends are coming along with the uncertain market and industry preferences, one should focus on the prime and growing agencies that provide equal value to each client on timely communication.

Here’s where Navigate Commerce comes into the picture. Being a growing digital commerce agency, we aim to provide best-in-class Magento and Shopify services to our clients. We are not an average agency that holds shallow knowledge but a refined skilled and deep understanding of e-commerce, we assure you the proper care of your business.
With a proven 100% client retention ratio, we manage prompt communication from day 1. As you will get all the e-commerce development services under one roof! With certified Magento resources and skilled Shopify Experts, you can refer here to the kind of services we provide.

6) Conclusion

To sum up everything, the e-commerce market is huge and resources are in demand. You will surely get the resource at $5/hour and $70/hour. It is up to you how you would like your store to revenue generation. Research the freelance market and top agencies that have expertise in e-commerce only! Put your thoughts on the business and digital objectives you would like to achieve and be on par with your rivals!