Freelancers are self-employed persons. Me personally, in most cases I prefer to work with freelancers rather than with a web studio. The major reason is that the freelancer wants to realize the project as fast as possible so as to get paid sooner. Freelancers are interested in doing their job really well so that you can recommend their services to other clients. Freelancers do not have strict working time, which allows them to be faster and more flexible. While the employees at a web studio have a set eight-hour working day, which is strictly observed, freelancers may work whenever and as much as they wish.
If a freelancer is assigned a project, they may spend 12-14 hours on the job. The employees at a web studio are paid a monthly wage, which is not dependent on the amount of actual work done, which is not the case with freelancers. You should not care whether the freelancer will have eight cups of coffee a day, or whether they will spend a couple hours playing football. What you care about is whether the project will be realized within the set deadline.
In addition, the freelancer has much more free time to keep track of the state of the art of the market, thus being able to react adequately to different situations. When speaking of freelancers I should stress that I do not mean employees of a web studio, who are working for you during or after their official working time. If they stay for 8 hours at the office and then spend further 3-4 hours working at home, the risk for your project to be full of mistakes and be late is really high. In fact, I can guarantee this!
When someone works on two fronts, they get distracted by the different projects and actually the task you have assigned is being implemented during the time for rest. Thus, the fatigue accumulated by the work after working hours, and the stress at the office bear a direct effect on the product you have paid for. The real freelancer is not a full-time employee. They may have their own company through which they account their deals but they definitely do not “suffer” from the presence of a boss, irritating colleagues, office intrigues, and unpleasant clients.
How do freelancers avoid the unpleasant clients? It is easy – a freelancer is much more freedom-loving than you think and they will not hesitate to turn down a project, if they find it boring, or if they do not like the people whom they will have to work with. This is a common practice and the financial profit is of no importance. Of course, there are exceptions, when it is all about the money. Recently I talked with a freelancer, who said that if he were to take up my project, he would use a technology that had never been applied in our country and would take the job because of the chance to experiment and develop skills in this field. The money did not matter.
If I had forced him to use a different technology and pushed him into the PHP and MySQL boundaries, he would have refused. I would have received the same answer if I had asked for a super ordinary website that poses no challenges. The relation between you and the freelancer will not be just an assigner-executor tie but rather accustoming two characters until the communication improves to a level when you start working as if you have known each other for ages, or if you are even old and good friends.
But now back to the freelancer, who works for a certain company and for other clients during their spare time. This is the common case, which you should pay attention to because often this person has been recommended by a friend of a friend of ours, who has another friend, who recommended them as a good professional but… let me tell you some stories from my personal experience.
A client of mine used to command the services of a group of freelancers. Practically they looked like a real mini-company, which can handle everything. However, the deceit came to light very soon when after a six-month delay the website was finally launched and the client needed an urgent correction in the code because an advertising campaign had to be started but didn’t because of a trouble in the system – something within the competence of the programmers.
Believe me, when your major profit comes from advertising, while the system managing it does not work, you lose money with every new visitor, every single minute. And what did the programmers do? They simply did not answer their phones. After tens of calls, my client received an SMS saying that they were at work and could not answer! BOOM! And here comes the major question – most people have the same working hours and when you face a problem that needs to be solved during these working hours, your freelancer-officer-in-a-company is simply not available. In fact, this is a situation worse than having no one maintaining your system because in the latter case at least you are aware that there is no one to count on, while with the freelancers on a labor contract you have someone to count on but you cannot be sure whether they are available to solve the issue at the moment or not.