Finding a partner that offers quality, hassle-free, custom solutions on time and on budget is not easy
Websites like Upwork or Fiverr have cemented themselves as mainstays of the freelance marketplace, connecting professionals with businesses around the world. For companies looking for outsourced web design services, many will turn to these websites as a means of finding talent for short to medium term projects.
While these marketplaces serve a specific purpose, there are limitations built into the business model – particularly when the requirements go beyond specific, individual expertise.
For a web design project that requires a combination of strategic resources, know-how, expertise, and experience in developing products, freelance marketplaces and their respective professionals may struggle to deliver. Instead, companies should look to a more complete outsourcing service with a holistic design or development agency offering guidance and strategy from ideation to execution.
Freelance marketplaces benefits (and their drawbacks)
Freelance marketplaces are talent matchmaking platforms, linking businesses that have a need with individuals who are experienced in that area. The platforms allow both parties to advertise on their websites and charge a percentage of the deal that takes place.
Specific, quantifiable needs
This setup is suitable for companies that have a very particular need that they can’t currently handle in-house. Generally, this will work in some kind of light team augmentation role to help meet deadlines or make up for lacking skills.
However, as anyone who has used the websites will know, it can be a roulette spin. The websites themselves are entirely hands off in terms of the projects, meaning they take little-to-no responsibility for quality or lack thereof.
Under-qualified or unavailable talent
Many of the people present on the website aren’t full-time professionals and are instead using it as a side hustle. When it comes to larger projects that need more of a time commitment, this can lead to problems in terms of availability, dedication, or professionalism. What’s more, when the work produced doesn’t live up to expectations, it can be difficult to navigate the websites’ set processes, ultimately leaving the company out of pocket and with the job unfinished.
A lack of serious professionals
The reason it can be challenging to find experienced and talented individuals on these sites is because the platforms take a significant cut relative to the deal. As a result, many deem it to be not worth their time and focus their efforts elsewhere.
One particularly scathing article written by a UX designer says, “At best, they represent a frustrating front-page of the design industry that cheap clients seek to take advantage of. At worst, they’re unethical platforms that exploit their users.” This opinion may be on the extreme end of the spectrum, but there is certainly a financial deterrent built into the business model which makes it challenging to find the right talent for complex projects.
Higher quality freelance websites
Upwork and Fiverr are not the only freelance websites available, however. Platforms such as Toptal and Turing offer access to much more experienced freelancers who have specialized skill sets. With Toptal only accepting the top 3% of applicants, there is a strong emphasis on quality.
However, there are other problems associated with these platforms. Firstly, there’s the issue of competition – the top 3% of applicants does not make for a particularly large talent pool. Then, if you do manage to secure a professional, you can expect to pay a much higher fee than on any other website.
While platforms like these offer huge benefits for scaling a team or even just starting a project, Some drawbacks include limited management oversight and a lack of team formation because of the contracting nature of individuals on the platform. While the talent is great, these platforms cater to projects that require individual skill sets, not teams that need holistic design and development teams, strategies, and resources.
What kind of outsourced web design project do you have?
If you’re considering using a freelance bidding website, the results you get will depend on what you need – and an element of luck. Before making the decision, we’d recommend carrying out a project assessment.
In general, a project assessment consists of five questions:
- What’s your project’s goal?
- What’s the scope?
- What are the deliverables?
- What are the requirements?
- Who is providing what?
During this assessment, transparency and clear communications are everything. The more detail you can give to a freelancer in a brief – containing references, standards, and strategy, the better.
At Asymm, we would work alongside you at the beginning to determine each of these needs. That said, you can get a rough idea of whether a freelance marketplace is right for you by asking yourself just the first question.
What is the project’s goal?
To put it simply: if your answer contains a simple deliverable, a bidding website may be able to address your needs.
For example, your goal may be “add an FAQ page to my website” or “redo our startups logo, design a simple landing page.” These small, highly specific projects – that are essentially deliverables – are perfect for freelance websites.
However, if the goal is any more complicated, then you may need to consider another option. To give you an example for one of our projects, a leading safe manufacturer and distributor, wanted to improve the overall website user experience, while enhancing end-customer understanding of product lines, product features, and product availability through third party integrations.
A project like this requires the outsourced partner to understand the goals of the company. Beyond this, it calls for close collaboration in developing and realizing a viable strategy that contains design, development, and partnerships with third party data providers. Finding this level of service would be highly challenging with Upwork or Fiverr, particularly if you need to work with multiple individuals who are not part of a team.
Even the more professional marketplaces like Toptal or Turing would prove difficult with a job of this nature. You are relying on the talent of just one individual to bring a complex project to life, as opposed to the organizational capabilities of an entire team. Hiring enough Toptal professionals to realize the various aspects would quickly become financially prohibitive, while also lacking team cohesiveness.
How are we different from Fiverr, Upwork, or Toptal?
We are not a freelance marketplace. We are a custom software solutions provider that offers two main models of collaboration and outsourced services based on your team’s structure, capabilities, and level of project ownership.
Nearshore outsourced projects
Nearshore outsourcing is when you leverage the talent of countries that are physically close to your own. The idea is to benefit from more favorable market conditions without the downsides associated with distant outsourcing.
At Asymm, we are a nearshore company headquartered in California, with our skilled engineering team of software developers and professionals based in Mexico. This allows us to successfully deliver outsourced design or development projects even when the client has more complex needs. Think of it as being assigned an experienced project manager who has personal access to the talent to realize your goals.
Imagine you want to create a custom website with specific capabilities and a complementary mobile application. Our team can work through every stage of the ideation, design, and development process to deliver a high-quality, fully tailored project.
The other service that we offer is team augmentation, which is similar to Fiverr, Toptal, etc. – but if they also offered dedicated teams complete with quality overview. This model is a step up from freelance bidding websites, but not at the level of full outsourced projects.
With this approach, you will already have a project owner or manager in-house who has a clear vision of what they want. However, you are lacking the specific skills and expertise to realize it. You could go to a freelance website, but the level of quality, expertise, and dedication you require means that it is a risk.
Instead, we offer access to our fully vetted network of proven engineers. While we don’t take strategic ownership of your project, we do vouch for the quality of the work delivered. If it doesn’t live up to expectations, we are on hand to rectify the situation and ensure the project remains on track.
Would you like to partner with us?
If you’d like to partner with us on an outsourced web design project, we will work alongside you from day one to achieve your vision. It’s a simple process to get started and here’s what you can expect.
Step 1: The first contact. Simply schedule a call with us via our website by filling out the form and providing us with some information about yourself.
Step 2: Due Diligence. We will talk with you to understand your specific goals, including timeline, current access to resources, and any other relevant information about your potential project or staffing opportunity. In this phase, we cover important items like pricing, terms, availability, and more.
Step 3. Agreement. Once the project or staff augmentation scope has been assessed and we start crafting a proposal and agreement for your approval.
Step 4. Engagement. We work alongside you to bring your website, app, team, or other development needs to life, ensuring satisfaction.
Ready to begin? Take the first step and schedule a call today.