PDA

View Full Version : Freelance vs Company Web Development



branau
September 17th, 2015, 06:08 AM
I just recently landed a job as a developer at a company in the US, doing mostly full stack web development. They've got me working with PHP, rails, laravel, shopify, wordpress, tons of stuff. I love the work, and the company and my co-workers are great, but I'm curious to see what some other people think that have a bit more experience than I. I've only been coding for maybe a year total, not consecutively, and this is my first coding job, so I plan to stick with it for a while to learn as much as I can from them and also build up my portfolio (not to mention I work from home, full-time). However, those who have worked in web development, do you prefer freelance work or working with a company?

coldraven
September 17th, 2015, 09:15 AM
I don't know about web-dev but I can give you some general advice. Firstly think of this as an apprenticeship, you need to learn your trade and be able to solve problems that occur in real-life situations. You will also make a lot of contacts* that you would not know about if you just work from home. (I was going to say networking ha ha!) OK we have the web but there is nothing better than meeting people face to face. Lastly, it is much easier to jump from one employer to another than to get into a plum job when you are unemployed. All the best jobs have queues of people trying to get in, being in a similar job makes you stand out from the crowd.
Good luck and good coding!

*When the company I worked for went bust I freelanced for their clients. They knew me and also knew that they were getting a bargain.

branau
September 18th, 2015, 10:45 PM
Yeah I love the work and I love the company, I plan on working for them for several years, I was just curious to see what other people's experiences have been like. I appreciate your input and I'll definitely keep those things in mind!

sckyless
September 21st, 2015, 04:03 AM
If I was a graduate, i'd prefer to work in a company, which would be learn much faster. But now, I work as a freelancer on upwork as iPhone eraser (http://www.erasephone.com/tutorials/how-to-erase-data-on-iphone-before-selling.html) coz it's paying better and much more flexible.

buzzingrobot
September 21st, 2015, 06:57 PM
Consider this: I might be happy to hire the company that employs you who has only one year of experience, but not so happy to hire a freelancer with only one year of experience.

If your situation allows it, think about eventually taking on some private "freelance" projects to help build your portfolio and resume, and also to see if it's really what you like.

Also consider things like health insurance, retirement contributions, etc. Those are never in the forefront for anyone starting out. But, count on this: You will get sick and you will retire.

Old_Grey_Wolf
September 21st, 2015, 10:21 PM
After getting years of experience with a company I did try freelance work for a year.

You must have the personality that supports freelance work. You must have a personality that works well with other people, and I preferred to work alone with minimal involvement with people. You can't set-up your next gig if you don't interact with other people.

You may have to sign a contract for the work to be done. Be very careful what you agree to.

Depending on the country, there may be other expences that you will be responsible for that an employee of a company doesn't pay; such as, taxes, insurance, retirement contributions, etc. In the USA I had to make between 1.5X to 2.0X more than an employee to make it feasible or me.

branau
September 23rd, 2015, 03:23 PM
If I was a graduate, i'd prefer to work in a company, which would be learn much faster. But now, I work as a freelancer on upwork coz it's paying better and much more flexible.

I still haven't yet made it to college, so I wouldn't know haha. But that's interesting that you make more freelancing. The flexibility makes sense though.


Consider this: I might be happy to hire the company that employs you who has only one year of experience, but not so happy to hire a freelancer with only one year of experience.

If your situation allows it, think about eventually taking on some private "freelance" projects to help build your portfolio and resume, and also to see if it's really what you like.

Also consider things like health insurance, retirement contributions, etc. Those are never in the forefront for anyone starting out. But, count on this: You will get sick and you will retire.

Those are all good points as well, I hadn't considered benefits really, nor the fact that by being with the company I have a better shot at stable work.


After getting years of experience with a company I did try freelance work for a year.

You must have the personality that supports freelance work. You must have a personality that works well with other people, and I preferred to work alone with minimal involvement with people. You can't set-up your next gig if you don't interact with other people.

You may have to sign a contract for the work to be done. Be very careful what you agree to.

Depending on the country, there may be other expences that you will be responsible for that an employee of a company doesn't pay; such as, taxes, insurance, retirement contributions, etc. In the USA I had to make between 1.5X to 2.0X more than an employee to make it feasible or me.

This is also something I hadn't really thought about. I worked in sales and customer service throughout high school and I always hated it. When I graduated I landed a job teaching English in Mexico and I wasn't a fan of that either. I think I, too, prefer to be left alone and not have to deal with people haha. I like it when the only problems I have to deal with are bugs in code or an improper responsive layout. In my experiences, computers are more reliable than people too :P

Wadim_Korneev
September 24th, 2015, 09:47 AM
Well, the major difference is that freelance are always outside companies or contractors who come in and design a site based on the user's requirements. In house development would do the same thing, but are drawn from a pool of internal talent.

The second major point is budgeting. It's the build versus buy scenario. If it is built in house, that resource has to be tasked and may not be free to work on other things. Freelance work typically comes with high fees and they charge per hour.

Third major point is maintenance. After a project is complete, the freelance work goes away. This may cause issues with maintenance. If it's built in house, this isn't an issue.

uninvolved
September 24th, 2015, 10:55 AM
What would you consider as "freelance?" I, instead, opted to form my own company (it was sold eight years ago and I retired) but it wasn't Web Development though we did quite a bit of that internally. I also did not hire contractors or freelance workers but elected to simply pay the folks who worked with me more than the going rate and gave them good benefits. At the time traffic modeling was fairly immature, it has grown since, and hiring talent was always a problem so the choice was to simply keep them happy enough and secure enough. This way I didn't need to resort to contract help or freelance workers.

However, one could say, it started as freelance work. My project was modeling traffic (I'm a mathematician) and my professor happened to have a contact in the Massachusetts highway department who was looking for some research/data crunching. I was asked to submit a bid and, frankly, had nothing to go on so I did so and submitted a bid that let me help a Comp. Sci. candidate and I work on the project. Word spread and, before that project was complete, we'd been contacted by the state of New York. The rest grew out from there. So, in short, you could say that I was a "freelancer" if you'd like.

I don't have much experience directly working with a company as an employee exactly. However, I've worked for lots of various employees (usually municipalities though we expanded to do pedestrian traffic modeling and the private sector work was there) and, honestly, I must say that I preferred to work at my own company. They say that you'll never work harder than you will when you work for yourself.

I guess, if I had to throw out something interesting, I'd say that learning to budget (if you don't already know how to do so) is essential. As a freelancer, you'll likely have no insurance initially - there's probably no unemployment benefits for you or the likes. If you're going to go that route then, I'd suggest, work at the company long enough to have other people know you're good at your job, build up contacts - conventions are great for this as are a number of varied websites, and to build up a decent nest egg so that you have financial security for the times when there is not much work to be done. A decent portfolio and excellent references are important.

Have a lawyer on retainer and employ the services of an accountant. Both should be specialized and both should have long-term relationships with you. You may even want to have more than one lawyer and more than one accountant. I had one accountant, technically a business service provider, that did everything from my books to payroll. I had my own personal accountant and, of course, someone to manage my investments. I had a business lawyer, specifically in contract law, that would vet contracts before we'd bid on them. I also had a lawyer that was on standby to deal with any liability issues. Finally, I had my own personal lawyers. Are they expensive? Absolutely, but you get what you pay for and they are business expenses. As a single proprietor this may not be something you need to act on immediately or at any great length.

If you do decide to go the freelance route and end up being successful enough to warrant hiring additional talent then, by all means, it would be a good idea to approach others to ask about managing that talent. I think it is best summed up, by me and for me, that they are not your 'employees' but, rather' they are 'people.' They don't work for you - they work with you. This is even valid if you move up the chain into a management position at your current place of employment. We managed to go without an actual HR department during the entirety of my stewardship. As they are now owned by a parent company there is, of course, an HR department.

If there are any specific questions, and you feel that I'm someone who can offer you some insight or opinions, then I'm always around the 'net under this moniker. Slashdot would be a good place (I'm the same user there) to pose such a question - it may well be approved. It is likely that you'll get more information there as there are a number of successful (and unsuccessful) freelancers and techs who've been in the business for a long time. Just make sure to word your question thoroughly and accurately so that it has the chance to foster a decent discussion and it may be something that is approved. There are also some decent web dev sub-forums on Reddit and Voat though I don't tend to frequent either site as a general rule. You might consider StackExchange, as well. They have a decent community there and have lots of people in the field who can help you plan out your future.

Regardless of the path you choose, good luck. It is my opinion that, as society advances, we'll be looking more and more like the days of yore where businesses were small and filled specific niches. That which is old is new again, so to speak.

Edit: Fixed some grammar - there's likely more problems.

Old_Grey_Wolf
September 24th, 2015, 09:31 PM
uninvolved above has a good point.

Budgeting is important. There may be times between gigs/jobs when you have no income. Fortunately for me I had save 4 months of income and only had to use 1 month of it between gigs/jobs.

I don't know about how Mexico handles unemployment insurance or if there is such a thing.