Genuine concern of many of my prospects
One of the usual concerns many of my clients/prospects ask (or at least they have it in their mind, and choose not to ask) is: why should I hire you, a freelance programmer, over a “proper software development company”?
And here are my replies, as told to them:
1) There is no such thing as “proper company”
I have had engagements with a proper company before as a client, namely for the services of renovation. And that too in my country (Singapore), well known for a no-nonsense approach to bureaucratic matters.
And then I realised this brutal truth. A “proper company” can and will close down as easy as an individual (maybe with slightly more delays).
And they can “run away” using legal loopholes leaving behind a half-done job. And there is simply nothing I, the client, can do about it. Yes, I have tried all legal and non-legal avenues against them. Even on winning a Case judgement against them, which they never even bothered to attend, I’m still left hapless with me just counting, and foregoing, my losses.
So, the idea of a “proper” company having a physical address and office being a sign of credibility, or even capability, is just a mirage.
And of course, being a freelance programmer doesn’t mean you are not registered anywhere. For me, I have my own registered business in Singapore, since the early 2000s, with which I issue the relevant invoices and other paperworks.
2) You might get a job soon. then what happens to my project?
This assumptions belongs to the previous era, when everyone was thinking freelancing is what one does in-between jobs, when one is waiting for a “proper” job.
Gone are those days. Freelancers the world over are establishing themselves on solid grounds. Further, there is a growing trend of 9-to-5 office worker aspiring to join this so-called side hustle culture as well.
Why? They have realised that the so-called “job-security” is also a mirage. (shoutout to google, twitter and meta, who recently had their major lay-offs)
So, this point of freelancers beings irresponsible, fly-by-night operations, is also a moot one.
3) With no proper company, what happens if I cannot contact you
I’ve heard of many of my clients who have hired teams from other countries (won’t mention the country names). They are all proper companies. The team is well-staffed, in quantity at least. And at least during the time of hire.
And my clients think themselves smart that they even have CC cameras in the office to show the workers working real-time. Wow, I thought!
I have heard of at least 5 examples of the whole company eventually going uncontactable. Their phone lines, and also the camera feed.
I’m not using such cases as a point in favour of me and my freelancing model, but I have proper succession plans, which I am open about and amply explain during discussions, to quell my client’s concerns.
Note that EVERY issue can be discussed and be taken care of.
Even if I decide to hang up my programming boots, or in the unfortunate event of me passing on, there’s always a succession plan to discuss to keep the project going. It is no longer a major point, kept away from any discussion.
Do not miss out on the gems of software developers and programmers to get your management systems or mobile apps done, just because of mistaken notions like the above.
About the Author
Anees Khan is a freelance web and mobile app developer for the past 28 years, and is running Getcha Solutions to help companies get the latest tech for their business needs, requirements and custom operational workflows.