The risks of working with a web freelancer


Any project you take on will have risk and it’s to your benefit to perform a risk assessment before your project starts. When that project is a website creation or redesign, you need to ask yourself “Will I do this myself, hire a freelancer, or hire a web design company?” As a business owner, the DIY option isn’t usually on the table due to issues of time and learning the ins-&-outs of design, search engine optimization (SEO), web hosting…there’s just too much. Hiring a web design agency is a great option but they can seem expensive, so people look at contracting with a freelancer to save money. We’ve outlined some of the risks of working with a web freelancer so you can properly assess that option before signing any agreements.

• Jack of all trades, master of none - You’ll find that some web freelancers are pretty good at design, marginal at back-end code, and decent at managing the project. As a result, your site is…ok. The design isn’t what you wanted, the site is a little slow, it’s not optimized for SEO, and it’s delivered a late. Good web design agencies have dedicated people for graphic design, site development, and project management. Speaking of…

• Poor Project Management - Your web freelancer may have obvious design skills but how well do they keep to deadlines? One of the biggest problems we see with independents is that with only one person on staff, almost anything can disrupt their workflow. Personal issues, having to bid on other projects, meetings with other clients that run long - any of these things can derail your project without notice. Ask to make sure your prospective web design group has a project manager that keeps their staff on deadline.

• Poor Communication - With only a single point of contact, if your freelancer goes dark, who can you turn to? You simply have to wait until they return your call or e-mail - and in a worst-case scenario, they completely disappear. A dedicated web agency will have multiple contacts which translates to more levels of accountability.

• No Experience - Their resume looks good and they have testimonials on their website, but when the project starts you find out that they’re faking their way through your assignment. How were you to know that the glowing testimonials were from family members? A web design shop with many years of experience will have live websites from previous projects that you can look at and real customers you can contact to verify their expertise.

We hope we haven’t scared you too much with these risks that might arise when working with a web freelancer. Unfortunately, they’re not myths like the Loch Ness Monster. And there are certainly qualified, hard-working freelancers out there in the wide web wilderness. But why spend the time trying to find them when you can contact Bigfoot Web and get a monster of a web design team working on your project?