Agency vs. Freelancer: Finding the right developer for you

Written By Coral Wood
Posted On March 3, 2021

When looking for someone to help you with your website, you might be wondering who to reach out to and what things you might need to consider ahead of sourcing the best developer for you. In our series, How to Find the Right Developer for You, we share everything you need to know about finding, briefing, and working with developers. First up, we’re helping you establish whether you’re looking for an agency partner or a freelancer. 

Agency vs. Freelance developer?

Developers come in all shapes and sizes. Whether they’re in-house, freelance or part of an agency, developers, like any other professional, have specialities. Depending on the task at hand, it might be better for you to work with an agency over a freelancer or vice versa. 

However, establishing the who, why and how much can be challenging. So, to make your life easier, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about developers so that you can make a more informed decision when picking the right developer for your project.

Development Agency vs. Freelance Developer: Which is best?

The short answer is that it depends on your needs and preferences. To help you decide, here are some pros and cons for both:

Development Agency

Pros:

  • Agencies have a larger pool of resources to pull from, meaning no project is too big
  • Agencies with in-house expertise have plenty of skills on hand for your project Each developer will have different experiences that they can bring to a project
  • They can act as your in-house development team, cutting down personnel costs
  • More accountability throughout the project
  • More likely to have had exposure to bigger, high-risk projects
  • Offer discovery audits to understand where your website needs improvement or attention
  • Less risk as work spread across people – when you rely on one person, it increases risks of inconsistent work if they have time off or, worse, disappear

Cons:

  • Tend to be more expensive than freelance developers

Freelance Developer

Pros:

  • As one-man-bands, they tend to be cheaper than agencies
  • If you have a special problem, finding a freelance specialist can be preferable
  • They can become an extension of your in-house developer team
  • More readily available than agencies as they dictate their working hours and workloads

Cons:

  • Less accountable; they might back out or halt proceedings mid-project
  • Less likely to offer discovery audits

Types of developers: explained

Before diving into your Google search, it’s good to know who you’re talking to or what skills you’re after. Whilst there is a long list of types of developers, the three most common are backend developers, front-end developers, and full-stack developers.

Back-end developer

Back-end developers tend to work on coding the complicated systems that sit behind websites and apps. These systems may not necessarily be visible to users, but the front-end wouldn’t work properly without a well-tuned back-end.  

For example, you might want an event booking system to add to your theatre’s website, or an events management system for your digital or live events calendar. These tools are built by back-end developers. 

Front-end developer

These developers bridge the gap between the UI (user interface) and the code running in the back-end. Essentially, they’re in charge of layouts and aesthetics. 

Though this may read like they’re applying a lick of paint, front-end developers are masterminds of how human interaction is mapped into websites. Often boasting broad skill sets such as experience in UI, UX (user experience) and even design, they’ll also have the knack of navigating complex codes like CSS, PHP, and JavaScript. 

Full-stack developer

An enviable mixture of the two, full-stack developers can do both front-end and backend development. Their mixture of skills and experience means they’re able to produce fully functional websites or web applications.

READ MORE: Part 2 of the series, What to Consider Before Approaching a Developer

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Looking for an agency? Maybe we can help.

We’re Powered by Coffee and we’re WordPress specialists. We tend to work with clients who need help managing lots of content, monetizing their audience, and building innovative code integrations. 

If we’re not what you’re looking for, we could introduce you to some of our friends. We’re a silver WordPress VIP Partner, meaning we’re part of a worldwide partner network of agencies who offer a whole host of skills and experience. We have no doubt that one of them could help you with your project. Why not get in touch?

Coral Wood

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