Firm or Freelancer?

What makes someone go with a freelancer or a firm when having their website built?  What is your initial instinct?  I’m a freelancer so I wanted to see what the consensus was.  I did some research and I was a surprised at the number of websites on the front page of Google that bashed freelancers.  It makes sense though.  They are big firms that have huge SEO campaigns in place which is why they are ranking #1,2 or 3 on Googles front page so why would they support freelancers?

I want to set the record straight on behalf of all freelancers out there trying to make a living doing what they love to do and working harder than any web developer sitting in a cubicle working for a huge agency that doesn’t even know their clients names.

I’m not going to mention what websites I found this information on, I’m just going to present the other side.

Topic #1-Freelancers are indifferent about the products quality while large firms care as though its their own product.  This is like saying McDonalds cares more than the little diner owned by your neighbors.  The reason I became a web developer was because I had to fix a website that I paid a large WELL KNOWN company to build.  It was horrendous and so much so that I disputed the charge on my credit card and 8 months I was awarded my money back.  Why would a freelancer whose entire livelihood depends on the success of their business care less than someone working for someone else who gets paid regardless of how much effort they put into the project?

Topic #2-Freelancers have expertise in a narrow field.  Expertise in a narrow field or specialize in your niche?  Hiring a freelancer that mainly builds web pages for sports cars & beer is probably not the right fit for your new spa, but the freelancer who specializes in health & beauty websites probably is.  Of course not every freelancer can be good at building a site for every industry, but hiring someone who specializes in site your industry is a huge benefit for you.

Topic #3-There is more risk involved with a freelancer.  This I do agree with.  It’s not always true of course and there is such thing as small claims court, but large firms do hold more liability insurance so if you are unhappy with the final product, you probably have a better chance of getting a refund from a big firm than a freelancer.  With that being said, if you hire a freelancer through a reputable job board such as Upwork, Thumbtack, People Per Hour or Fiverr, you are protected more than if you went through a large firm.

Topic #4-Turn around time.  This one made me laugh too.  I provide rough drafts to my clients within 48 hours of starting their website.  I’m sure not to book out more than a week of lead time.  That means that you will have your rough draft within 9 days tops.  Do you know what the average lead time is with a large firm? I Googled “website turnaround time” and randomly chose 3 websites of large development firms.  The first one averaged 3-4 weeks, the second one averaged 30 days and the third one averaged…3 months. 

Topic #5-Lack of proper management versus seamless management.  This may be true for some freelancers and for some large firms, but to say that all firms have seamless management and all freelancers lack it is hysterical.  This goes back to topic #1…and there we are back at the beginning.

So maybe a big firm is the right choice for you and your website.  But if you end up unhappy like I did, don’t forget about the little guy out there that can build your dream site in 9 days.

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