What you need to know about working with freelance developers

Lukasz Karwacki - Co-Founder & CEO at Sunscrapers

Lukasz Karwacki

9 April 2018, 5 min read

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What's inside

  1. Benefits and challenges of working with freelance developers
  2. When to hire a dev shop
  3. Key takeaway

So you’ve got a project on your mind and are now looking for talented developers to make it a reality? If you’ve done some research, you probably know that there are many different options at your disposal, ranging from freelancers to dev shops and recruitment agencies.

We talked about these alternatives in one of our previous posts on how to hire a team of developers.

Today we wanted to take a closer look at one of your options: freelance developers. Here’s everything you know about the reality of hiring and working with freelance developers.

Benefits and challenges of working with freelance developers

They’re available and cost-effective

Freelance developers can often start working and dedicating their full attention to your project immediately. Since freelancers don't have extra costs involved in their operation apart from their salary, they offer very attractive rates for delivering project components or completing entire projects.

It’s easy to find them, but difficult to check their credentials

There are plenty of online platforms that help entrepreneurs find the right freelancers for the job. Upwork, Toptal, Gigster or Crew are the most popular portals of that sort. When hiring a freelance developer, most of the time you’ll be the one responsible for carefully checking whether the freelancer has the experience and expertise you’re searching. Some portals do that type of background checks, but you need to count on yourself to find top talent.

Productivity and motivation can be challenging

Remember that freelancers often work on several projects at the same time and that itself might impact their productivity. Some freelancers have regular day jobs and work on freelance projects after hours. They might be chronically tired and stressed - and these two factors might affect the quality of their work. And their level of motivation may vary. Freelancers might resign from the project if several problems crop up. Since there is no one to discipline them or keep their standards of work in check, commitment and responsibility might be challenging too.

Freelancers might care about their interest more than yours

If your project is billed by the hour and it's about to end, take a closer look at the work of your freelancer. Freelance developers sometimes prolong the work in hope to keep it on until their next project starts, generating extra costs for you.

Collaboration can be tricky

Working with freelancers might make project management and work coordination a bit more troublesome, especially if you don't have a dedicated project manager on board. Moreover, since freelancers change projects frequently, all the knowledge and effort that go into the boarding process is lost every single time.

While hiring a freelance developer is an interesting option for smaller projects - they really do offer a great value of money - it’s not be the best solution if you're planning a long-term, more complex project.

When to hire a dev shop

Hiring a dev shop is a measure against all the challenges I mentioned above. Working with a dedicated team of developers who are part of one organization can be very beneficial for larger, more complex projects where top talent and expertise are critical.

Quality dev shops have a demanding, multi-stage recruitment process that ensures that only skilled developers are part of the team. Such companies also foster a culture that promotes development and self-improvement.

For example, we’re dedicated to professional growth at Sunscrapers and do everything we can to help our team members fine-tune their skill sets and gain new knowledge. We have a library full of valuable resources and a special budget for participation in industry conferences.

Great dev shops offer a lot of flexibility in team scaling, easily adding or replacing team members. Our infrastructure and processes allow us to build solid multi-member teams dedicated for long-term projects.

Dev shops like us also offer multi-level quality assurance that ensures high standards of work and top project management that translate into team productivity. Developer companies need to maintain a good reputation on the market, so they place a great focus on quality.


Don't forget that the best developers out there are never out of work. So don’t expect them to be available immediately. At Sunscrapers, it sometimes took us quite a lot of time to source and hire talent, but once these developers were part of our team, we could assign them to different projects.

Key takeaway

If you have a small project that needs to be completed as quickly as possible, hiring a freelancer is a smart move. However, if your project is larger and more complex, a freelance developer isn’t an optimal option.

Moreover, if your project requires building a team in a different country for an extended period of time, a dev shop is definitely the best solution.

Would you like to talk to us about your project? Drop us a line at hello@devblog.sunscrapers.com; we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Lukasz Karwacki - Co-Founder & CEO at Sunscrapers

Lukasz Karwacki

Co-Founder & CEO

Luke is a co-founder and CEO of Sunscrapers. He has got his background in computer graphics (graduate of Kingston University London) and has started his career as a web designer in a creative agency. He currently manages Sunscrapers, takes care of business development and looks after clients. Throughout the last 10 years, Lukasz managed, supervised and consulted projects for startups, SMBs and enterprises across different industries and locations. He has a passionate dad, speaker and writer.


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