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The Risky Business of Hiring Freelance Web Developers

After hearing about the possibility of not getting your money’s worth if you hire the wrong offshoring firm, as a business owner you might be thinking— Why don’t I just hire a freelancer without going through a middleman offshoring firm?


Freelancer Gone AWOL

The process does seem more convenient in that the fees aren’t divided between the employee and the firm, so you know exactly where your money is going. Plus, with the growing talent pool of freelance developers and the variety of platforms you can reach them, it’s a good solution when you are looking for a specific skill or work for a short-term project. Honestly speaking, hiring freelancers does have its advantages.


But— the more lenient and casual nature of the freelance job scope does have its risk factors. It’s easy to be convinced of the simplicity of the process and having no need of so many official documents, but there are several negative factors that can outweigh the convenience of it all.


Freelancer Gone AWOL


Being a developer on its own is no easy task— it requires in-depth technical skills that are highly valued to companies. Hiring freelance developers can be costly depending on their level experience and variety of proficiencies. That being said, the job of a developer, or a freelance developer for that matter, is a big one.

So imagine your freelance developer taking a project that you both agreed on, then midway through, there is no more activity or updates coming from their end. Then some time has passed, still with no sort of communication— your freelancer developer has officially gone AWOL.


A substantial amount of time and money has been put into this project and entrusted to a person on the internet; a person that could potentially just drop all obligations that have been previously agreed upon, leaving your company with an unfinished project— and maybe some of your money.


Actual conversations with a freelance developer

No Support Manager


Your freelancer has failed to respond to your messages and hasn’t given you any updates since you last spoke: this situation is not uncommon and is a frustrating hurdle to pass. One way to deal with an unresponsive freelancer is to contact your support manager to contact and check on them.


Unfortunately, when you hire a freelancer directly, you don’t have that option. Firms like Atticus will have a designated manager that will be able to reach a freelancer that has gone AWOL, as the developer would have signed an employment contract and company code of ethics/conduct.


Misunderstanding in Language or Culture


Hiring a freelancer from another country is easy on the wallet since there’s a higher chance that they charge in their own currency and according to their own rates. This hold especially true for when you hire a freelancer from developing countries, where their currency or rates may be lower than that of freelancers in developed countries.


However, you also run the risk of English not being their first language. Or maybe their working English proficiency can get you both by in the agreement process, but things can potentially get a lot more complicated from there. Suppose you require specific instructions or have a complex idea in mind that just can’t get through with a mediocre English proficiency level. So what ends up happening is an endless cycle of “Is this what you meant?” “Not quite”— Both you and your freelancer will be stuck at a non-productive language barrier where you are both wondering what each other is trying to say.


This potential misunderstanding can even go beyond language: differences in culture can also be a major possible drawback to hiring a freelancer. You could be a client from a low context culture (typically Western cultures) that rely on verbal cues and affirmation and your freelancer from a high context culture where they tend to beat around the bush or do not rely heavily on explicit confirmation. So for example, when you ask if they could finish a certain task by a particular deadline, being from a high context culture, the freelancer will be reluctant to tell you “no” or “no, I don’t have the bandwidth for it” and thus will vaguely agree to work that they may not necessarily be able to even handle. You as a client from a low context culture, you were not explicitly told that they couldn’t, and as a result will be inconvenienced when the deadline rolls around and the work hasn’t been finished.

Complicated Freelance Payroll


Because your freelancers aren’t exactly under your employee payroll and do not have any of the regular employee benefits or government requirements, they are an entirely separate budget. Typically if you hire several freelancers payroll becomes a nuisance as a separate payroll has to be settled.


Unprofessionalism


Hiring freelancers rids you of taxation and required employee benefits— the whole concept of it is flexible and allows you to get the work done in your own terms. But this kind of freedom will typically make freelancers more lax. Chances are they are either moonlighting from their 9-5 job or they are working from home; coupled with the fact that you are not there to physically monitor their progress, your project most probably isn’t their number one priority.


Because of this, there is a high chance of missed deadlines, lack of commitment, and sloppy work. It is common due to the temporary nature of their work— freelancers won’t put in the same amount of effort than a full-time employee would.


How Do You Alleviate These Risks?


If you plan on hiring a freelancer directly, it is impossible to fully avoid these risks that come with it. This kind of security can only be guaranteed when hiring a firm that interviews and thoroughly screens its offshore staff. So the solution to these risks of hiring a freelance web developer is to not to hire them directly.


At Atticus, we eliminate these risks through an exhaustive process of evaluating offshore talent— not only as employees but as a proper fit to your company culture is well. This gives you, as a company, peace of mind that you get your money’s worth with a top notch offshore employee.


Learn more about what we do at http://atticus.ph


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