Hiring Web Developers: Agencies vs Freelance Portals

  • Bhuvan Desai
  • July 13, 2020
  • 7 Minute Read
Hiring Web Developers: Agencies vs Freelance Portals

Building a robust web development practice entails hiring and maintaining a group of web technology experts. You need to invest substantial funds if you want to build an in-house web development team. Instead, consider hiring web developers through freelance portals or outsourcing agencies.

The average salary for a front end web developer is $77,908 an year.

The average salary for a front end web developer is $77,908 an year


Considering you need to hire specialists in front end and back end web development, the costs can pile up pretty quickly for the company. 

And it is not just the monetary cost that is becoming intolerable. Most companies have to spend up to 11 hours in screening, and recruiting candidates for 40 hours of work. And this is something that most companies think of as a gap that needs to be bridged!

The solution?

Outsourcing your projects to freelancers or agencies. They offer an advantage of lower costs (studies have shown up to 20% of cost saving with outsourcing as compared to in-house hirings) minimal infrastructure requirements, and no overheads, while also bringing global talent, expertise, and experience to the table. 

The move towards a freelancing approach is prominently visible in global surveys. However, the agency model has a lot to contribute to it, because an agency itself can aggregate the services of several freelance web developers and offer their skills topped up with a management layer to end clients.

The solution


Impact of COVID-19 On The Freelance Model

The pandemic has resulted in a sharp decline of almost 60% in freelance projects both nationally and internationally”, said Naman Sarawgi, founder of Refrens. The reason? Projects have gone on hold. But, the picture isn’t all black. The demand for freelancers is on the rise again and the future of freelancing seems bright. The short term slow down can be accredited to the global economic slowdown but the upward movement is on its way. 

In fact, companies that have relied on outsourcing agencies and freelancers have found it easier to pause their progress, as they don’t have to navigate the legal aspects of downsizing. This level of control, or ramping down projects overnight, has been instrumental for companies in managing expenses during the lean period caused by the global pandemic. 

Freelance Portals VS Web Developer Agencies: Both Have Merits

There are various portals that offer a marketplace of sorts for companies and freelancers to connect with each other. All the portals are easy to use, have a lot of options to choose from, and cost next to nothing. 

There are also several agencies that ease the work. With them, you do not need to find, screen, or train the freelancers. The time taken for recruiting someone is very low. You can choose from the various skills that you need in a freelance web developer. You don’t need to worry about managing human resources. There will be no absences, quick replacements if the need is and of course, you will get ongoing support.

Confused about which way to go? Well, here we have listed the pros and cons of hiring web developers from freelance marketplace portals (like Toptal, Upwork, etc.) and from web development outsourcing agencies so that you can make an informed choice:

Pros of Hiring from Freelance Portals

Pros of Hiring from Freelance Portals


1. Low Cost

Freelancers need to be paid way less than what you would have had to pay an inhouse expert or agency hired web developers. While this may sound prudent at once, you need to ensure that a lower pay does not dampen the spirit of working or quality of work that the freelance web developer offers.

2. High Flexibility

Freelancers are available anytime and minute of the day. If the need is, you can hire multiple freelance web developers at one go and when the need subsides, you can let them go. Once you are able to manage a lot, you can get them to work for you at flexible timings and at flexible pay scales too.

3. Quality & Skill

Most freelance portals have a grading and review mechanism where past employers can give the freelancers ratings and reviews, which further affects their chances of getting future projects. This ensures that most freelancers offer quality work. 

Cons of Hiring Web Developers from Freelance Portals

Cons of Hiring from Freelance Portals


1. Lack of Continuity

Web development is not something that can be done in a day. While freelancers may be a cost-effective solution, the lack of continuity makes them an expensive bargain in the long run. You hire one freelancer for building a website and another to fix the errors and end up paying more than the task was worth. 

2. Loose Supervisory Control

Freelancers are free birds. You cannot supervise them or their work. There is no quality control other than just the freelancers’ conscience. Chances of getting duped and getting subpar results are high when using freelance portals.

You may try and bind freelance web developers in contracts and bonds, but more often than not, taking any kind of legal action, like say, dragging them to the court, would be a cost that you will need to bear!

3. Breach Of Secrecy

You cannot monitor freelancers hired from freelance portals. While many portals do not let a freelancer take up new projects until the previous ones are completed, a freelancer can have accounts on multiple portals.

With multiple projects in hand, the focus, attention, and dedication go down and the possibility of breach of secrecy, and errors rises significantly. 

Agencies for Hiring Web Developers Offshore

These are commonly known as web development outsourcing agencies that allow you to hire  dedicated web developers from their web development teams.

Pros of Hiring from Agencies

Pros of Hiring from Agencies


1. Cultural Fit

When you hire a web developer from an agency, you can rest assured that s/he is a cultural fit for your organization. They train and guide the developers in a way such that you don’t have to train them for individual projects. The agency knows your needs and finds the people fit for you – a match made to perfection.

hiring dedicated developers

2. Long Term Approach

With an agency, you can build long term partnerships. The individuals working for you may change, but the quality and kind of work you get remain constant. Also, if you need more than one worker, the agency takes care of the management of the team of employees. That’s why an agency-client relationship lasts longer!

3. Reliability

Outsourcing agencies have proper mechanisms for quality control and follow work ethics. You can trust them for getting a job done. A freelancer may quit or ditch you last minute, but an agency will honour the commitment and deliver on-time results.

Also Read: 30 One-line Reasons To Hire Dedicated Development Teams

Cons of Hiring from Agencies

1. Lack of Trusted Agencies

The concept of freelancing agencies is relatively new, the task requires substantial efforts, inputs, and skills. Finding the right agency is the biggest hurdle. If you do not find the right agency, all the advantages can be offset if the agency has poor management or low integrity. However, you can easily screen reliable agencies from shady ones by checking their portfolios, drafting a crystal clear contract, and signing in to a trial period of service. 

2. Slightly Expensive Than Pure Freelancers

The cheapest isn’t the best choice – that’s almost a rule to remember while engaging an outsourcing agency. The agency you choose is not quality conscious and does not deliver the required results. Your cost – benefits balance can be disturbed. The incremental cost you pay over hiring pure freelancers is for the layer of management that you also outsource in this model. 

Now that you know what are the pros and cons of both the available options of hiring freelance web developers, we are sure you will be able to make a wise choice that will yield long term benefits.

The Bottom Line

Freelance marketplaces for sure offer liberty, a lower direct cost of talent acquisition, and quick results. But, the low trust and high-risk scenario often offset the advantages. 

Contrarily, outsourcing agencies are a more balanced approach to the risk-reward equation that companies prefer. They offer reliability, offer long term partnerships, and become an extended arm of your organization. Without the cost of talent acquisition, you get ownership of the products of the brightest minds from across the globe. 

Remember, a team of freelancers, each working from a different location, can be tough to manage. Developing synergy in such a team can be a distant dream. Better leave the hassle to web development agency experts and just reap the fruits of the functionality. 

hiring web developer - The Bottom Line


Uplers is a technology and marketing outsourcing agency that leverages the dedicated team model to bring out the best benefits of the freelance model as well as the outsourcing model, creating a risk-free and benefit-rich model for companies. Ask us how the dedicated team model can make the benefits of outsourcing accessible to you, with the reliability of knowing the people working for you, with the confidence that they’ll continue aligning to your culture, and overcome the otherwise insufferable gaps that exist between freelancers and their clients.

If you wish to hire dedicated web developers on-demand, connect with us.

Bhuvan Desai

Bhuvan DesaiLinkedin

VP Technical Operations
With an MBA background, Bhuvan is proficient with a progressive management experience in several disciplines of digital marketing. He holds a competent managerial track record of over 10 years and is currently leading the client operations at Uplers as the Vice President. Meet a technology geek fond of strategizing and managing with an expansive skillset.