Contractor vs. Employee: Which is Best for Software Development?

Contractor vs. Employee: Which is Best for Software Development?

When developing enterprise software and applications, there are a wide variety of factors to consider. Development time, features, testing, user experience, appearance, and more. Each aspect of an application needs to work correctly and quickly. In order to produce the most efficient and powerful software, it’s important to hire experienced, competent software developers. But going through this hiring process can be difficult. In addition to sorting through a large pool of candidates, it’s important for businesses to consider this vital question: Should I hire a contractor vs. a full-time employee as a software developer?

There are pros and cons to each choice. Depending on what your company needs from a potential new employee, their role will shift. Factors like autonomy, company loyalty, and working hours will differ between contractors and full-time employees. Nevertheless, the biggest difference between the two is that a full-time employee can be managed much more closely, while a contractor exists as a much more separate and autonomous entity.

When to Consider A Contractor

Contractors generally fall into two different categories:

  • Agency Contractor: An agency contractor works for a specific application development or contracting agency. This agency bills them out to different clients and projects, but the contractor is never considered to be working directly for the client.
  • Independent Contractor: An independent contractor operates as their own business. They choose their own clients, manage their own schedule, and handle any potential logistical issues. Independent contractors may sometimes work with agencies, but they continue to operate as their own business.

Regardless of category, the defining characteristic of contractors is the autonomy they have in their work and schedule. They manage themselves, working at their own pace in a way that most benefits their workflow. Contractors will generally present more expensive initial costs, as they handle their own taxes, benefits, and marketing costs. But if your organization is looking for help with a short-term project that has a definitive end date, you’ll end up saving more money than if you hire a full-time employee.

Due to U.S. labor laws and classification, contractors are typically not onboarded. When working with a contractor, you will be working with someone who has a diverse portfolio of professional experience, and is therefore ready to get to work on your project as soon as possible. This kind of diverse experience should also mean that they’re aware of recent technology trends and news. While it’s expected that you stay in communication with your contractors, they typically won’t need to be closely managed or monitored. They’re there to do one job, and do it well.

If your business is looking for a few extra hands for a specific period of time, contractors are a great choice, particularly for small businesses that might need a bit of a boost. Contractors are looking to the future and thinking of their next gig, so they’re typically not invested in long-term employment. Of course, if you’re happy with their work and could see them doing well at your company, it never hurts to ask.

When to Consider a Full-Time Employee

Full-time employees are a good choice for companies that want greater control over their workers. They require lengthy onboarding processes and will end up costing you more in the long run, but full-time employees provide a variety of benefits that contractors do not. With the right amount of time and care, full-time employees can turn into hardworking, loyal, and engaged employees.

In contrast with contract workers, hiring full-time employees provides you with less restrictions and limitations on what you can ask of your workers. Starting with the onboarding process, full-time employees organizations the opportunity to create workers tailored to a specific working style. Managers have less restrictions and limitations on what they can assign to their employee, and have control over their working hours, schedule, and more.

Organizations should consider hiring a full-time developer when there is ongoing IT and software development work that needs to be done while supervised. If software development is something you see as a long-term business goal, it will better to hire full-time developers that understand and are loyal to your company. If the job or service is essential to your business, it should not go to a contractor.

The Best of Both Worlds

Depending on what you need from your software developers, you may still be having a tough time deciding which way to go. As there are pros and cons to each choice, there isn’t always a clear cut answer. In that case, consider choosing a path that integrates aspects from both contract and full-time employment. Companies like Trio provide contracted high-quality, skills-verified software development resources to companies in the USA. Trio specializes in providing contract remote resources that operate within the client time-zone, with verified language skills and work-culture compatibility. Trio utilizes a flexible single-contract that enable clients to build virtual teams that adapt to every need in the project lifecycle.

This offers a unique “best of both worlds” approach to application development. Clients are able to utilize a single developer or hire an entire team to work on their application. While classic app development agencies have to divide their time between their clients, Trio allocates developers and teams to clients on a 1 to 1 basis. Clients can manage their project however they like with the added support of Trio’s in-house project managers. Because the developers developers are contracted directly to your company, you’ll have complete control over the entire development process. This eliminates any need for worry over how a project is coming along, or waiting for status updates.

Anna Birna Turner

Anna is an enterprise technology writer covering Marketing Automation, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Application Development. Feel free to reach out to her at any time at abturner@solutionsreview.com
Anna Birna Turner