The Hidden Risks of Hiring a Freelancer to Develop Your Mobile App

Many clients head off in search of a freelancer who can develop their mobile app for half the costs quoted by an agency.

41% or one-third of the Australian workforce have jumped on the trend and now work freelance. Thanks to platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer, finding these freelancers is now easier than ever. While there’s a pool of workers to choose from there is also an equal amount of risks associated with hiring a freelancer to complete your project. Full disclosure, not all freelancers are bad news. However, we hear countless nightmare tales of people who have been burnt by the freelance fantasy. Here are a few factors you should take into consideration when crunching the numbers.

Upwork is a platform that helps you find a freelancer

Platforms such as Upwork makes finding a freelancer to work on your project easier than ever! Credit: Upwork


A freelancers skillset is unfiltered. A freelancer may be a great coder but unskilled in other areas of development. Freelancers are also unlikely to be up to date with development practices. This is due to a lack of incentive to put in extra time learning the newest coding language or practices. When your developer isn’t up to date with tech trends you risk compromising the quality and speed of your app.


It is easy to be blindsided by a freelancer in regards to their skills and capabilities. We’ve even heard of times when the app hasn’t been completed and the freelancer has run off with the money! To avoid this you may need to hire a team of freelancers to cover all bases. In this instance, you then have worries about communication and collaboration, and would likely be looking at the same price point of hiring an agency anyway.


Timezones and Communication

Working in different timezones isn’t always a bad idea. In fact, it can prove to be quite beneficial at times when work required from one person is dependent on completion of another’s work. An issue with working on opposite schedules can arise when communication is limited. As your worker isn’t in the office you’re already losing out on collaborating over coffee, bouncing off ideas and the increased understanding of face-to-face conversation. Throw in an 8 hour time difference and you’ve got the perfect recipe for delayed and bloated development times. Work can begin when the brief hasn’t been fully understood, which is 100% counter-productive when it needs to be re-done the next day after clarification.


Motivation and incentive

Freelancers work on a project-to-project basis and therefore are always thinking about their next gig. Freelancers often accept an agreed cost prior to development. Because they’re not paid by the hour the end product of your app may be compromised. This is because the quicker the work is complete the sooner the paycheck comes and they can move on to the next project. This leaves little room for last minute changes, iterations and implementation of those light-bulb ideas. Any ‘extras’ are considered out of pocket for the freelancer. This creates an imbalance as the creator wants the best quality product possible and the freelancer wants to get the work done as fast as possible.


Another factor worth mentioning is the fact that apps cannot be built once and forgotten about. They require continuous iteration and maintenance. Continuous is not a word in many freelancers vocabulary. When only hired for a one-off it is hard to define how much work is required. With an agency, you have the protection of bug-free periods and can even hire them to maintain your app until the end of time.


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