Freelance vs Permanent Devs: Which Works Best for Your Business?

Rizza Laplana
by Rizza Laplana 01 Sep, 2016

Oftentimes, a company's foremost consideration in choosing between hiring freelancers and permanent developers is the budget. But since these two types of contracts affect a business beyond cost, it is ideal to recognize other business dynamics that they bring.

A high-level understanding of the major differences between a freelancer developer and a permanent developer will help in gauging which one works best for a given company and the specific project(s) at hand. 


- Freelance devs are often hired for a unique skill set that does not exist within a core team. They are brought in as specialists for limited engagements to tackle short-term or one-time problems. It's assumed that they have the right knowledge and skill sets to address unique tasks on day one - making them far more efficient developers in that capacity than those within your own work force.

- Where freelance devs are usually more efficient at short-term specialty tasks, permanent devs are usually more productive and cost-effective at long-term sustained tasks. 


- It is usually possible to exert greater control over permanent devs than freelance devs. From the obvious like process control, quality control, security protocols - to the less intuitive things like schedule and deadline controls. Freelance devs may have competing interests for their time as well as other possible conflicts. 

- If the product or project requires strict control over things like process, security, and deadlines - it may be best to hire permanent developers. If that is not possible, consider hiring freelancers that can be dedicated to one client for the duration of the task - as well as freelancers who are able to work on-site with other team members.


- Freelance devs by their very nature tend to be less interested in long-term engagements. Hence, they are less ideal for ongoing tasks. For mission critical tasks that never end, choosing Permanent Devs helps avoid a constant cycle of knowledge transfer and training.

- If a company is more interested in agility than retention freelance devs is the right choice. Freelancers with the needed specialty are likely to be available at any given time. If the challenge of screening for quality and dependability for short-term engagements is not an issue, then freelancers could be a good fit. 

This comparison between freelancers and permanent devs presents ideas on which type of business they are most applicable with. Here's an overview of common development projects and work possibilities from both: 


Simple apps and website development are great initial projects for freelancers. Starting with smaller tasks and features present a good opportunity to measure the dev's level of expertise and efficiency in a short period with minimal risk. 

Generally, it's ideal to build a good relationship with freelancers before assigning critical tasks. This way, both the dev and the company can have a chance to establish a set expectations and level of confidence with each other.  

Permanent Developers 

Businesses with daily production operations that heavily rely on your own company's software such as IoTs, delivery tracking software, an accounting software for an accounting firm or a forum website will definitely need at least one (depending on the business scale) permanent developer. Since this type of software is used on a daily basis by several end-users, errors and necessary improvements along the way are inevitable and will necessitate an exclusive developer. 

Through the years, both freelancers and permanent devs have helped businesses and organizations in different ways. Working with both also have disadvantages but as the industry evolves so as its workers. There is a combination of freelance and permanent work that makes it possible to eliminate most of the traditional setbacks. It's called staff augmentation. Staff augmentation has been around for years but there are just a few who has been progressing from it. 

Rizza Laplana is a manager at Get Devs, which finds and hires the right developers for companies.