Software House vs Freelancer - Who Should I Choose?


With 16+ million software developers worldwide, outsourcing a software development project seems like an effortless task, doesn't it? Still, there are plenty of things to consider, starting with the base question: Should I hire a software house or a freelancer?. The answer is not that simple, with many factors that will turn the tide in your decision process. Don’t hesitate to use our guide - after all, it's the business that matters.

Speaking of business, let's start with some basic information. Software house is a company dedicated to software development. They have an area of expertise based on technologies they specialize in, such as programming languages, databases, and even industry-range solutions. With the development processes and skillset offered by multidimensional teams, they can deliver a custom-tailored product. One thing to notice - they'll maintain it after it goes to market.

So you start a company that utilizes complex software solutions and need to deliver MVP as soon as possible to collect user feedback and test the value proposition? You don't have the time to play multiple roles in the Software Development Life Cycle? You know a lot about your business, but need a hand when it comes to shifting to digital? In that case, working with a software house might be the perfect fit.

It offers a cohesive approach, starting with business aspects, through technologies of choice, development process and quality assurance, ending on the maintenance and service post-delivery. Sales suddenly go through the roof and there's a need for upgrades? Scalability is not a problem and you don't have to invest in an in-house team. As a software house is close enough to the project to possess similar value, there is already one.

The other option is hiring a freelancer. It's a self-employed person, usually an expert in one field or two. A narrow but specific skillset makes him a solid choice for one-dimensional projects with a detailed scope. 

Imagine being in a situation when you're developing a product and the usability testing outcomes are not satisfying. Suddenly there's a need for a UX researcher to step up. This is an opportunity to hire a freelancer, as a part of an existing team, especially when it's all about urgency.

Outsourcing software development - What do I need to know before I make a decision?

First of all think about the project - its scope, development background, business needs. There are many factors to consider, and having a team of professionals covering various aspects of the solution is always a good choice. Take a look at some questions you'll have to ask yourself to make sure you've made the right choice. Possibly reading the answers will debunk some myths you read before.

Is the project complex?

Even a simple web application might be complicated from a technical point of view, especially if there are particular business demands behind it. The possibility to discuss technical aspects with a group of experts might be a game-changer. High proficiency offered by a Software House will ensure that the final product is bespoke and will suit both business and end-user needs.

How tight is the budget?

Even if hiring a freelancer might seem cheaper, it'll be cost-saving only in a best-case scenario. If something happens, the project stops. If he disappears, introducing a new developer to a half-made project yourself is both time and resource-consuming. Software house is a much safer choice, as there's always an option to replace or add new members to the team.

Is it a long-term project?

In this case, a software house also comes with an upper hand. First, the longevity of a project in the time-to-market phase is as important as the rest of the software lifespan. Software houses will always support and maintain the product after it goes live, while freelancers tend to drop the project at the moment. Cooperating with a software house also supports scalability and facilitates making changes in the project's scope during the development phase.

Why should I care about communication?

It's an aspect that is often neglected, at least at the very beginning. The longer the project, the more important proper documentation is. Along with the prioritization of certain tasks, it’s something a freelancer might have a problem with. Software houses work in defined methodologies and the client is always involved in every stage of the process. Continuous team supervision by Project Managers and CTOs helps convert your needs to deliver a final product that meets your expectations. 

From a business perspective, working with a software house is just safer. It simply guarantees project delivery - while working under contract, all the potential issues, be it with a team composition or the software itself, are on the contractor's side to solve. A freelancer is an excellent supplement to the team, especially if you're looking for an expert in a single, well-defined field. Still, if we're talking about a more complex project, the end-to-end solution offered by a software development company is unmatched.

Michał Kręglewski, CEO Sparkbit

So is software house my go-to option?

Actually… yes. Take a look at a more detailed software house vs freelancer comparison to grasp differences fully.

Summing up, software house should be your choice in 90% of the cases, primarily due to full support on every important aspect of the project. Finding a freelancer shouldn't be a problem, so it's wise to think of him as a supplementary resource that offers extra flexibility, more like an addition to the team, rather than a person to carry the development by himself.

In Sparkbit, every client becomes a partner and gets our full support - expertise, multidimensional skillset, business knowledge, and thorough examination of every challenge. The foundation of our cooperation process is providing bespoke solutions. Adapting to your internal processes, embracing the business environment, and constant collaboration will allow us to adjust to your individual needs fully. If you feel that association with a software house will benefit your project the most, contact us. Let’s work together!