Building a great app takes lots of work. From designing the views to adding the right transitions and images. One thing which is often overlooked is the backend, connecting your app to the outside world. A backend which is not up to the same quality as your app can wreck even the most perfect user interface. That is why choosing the right option for your backend budget and needs is essential.
There are three main choices you have when you're getting it built. First, you have agencies, they are a company with salespeople, project managers, and developers. Second, you have market rate freelancers, they are developers who charge market rate for their work and are often in North America or western Europe. Finally, there are budget freelancers, they are inexpensive and usually in parts of Asia and South America.
I am going to break down the pros and cons of each of these options.
Agencies are often a safe bet if you're looking for a more hands-off approach agencies are often the way to go, they have project managers who will manage your project and communicate your requirements to developers. This takes some of the work off of your plate and can free it up to work on your app. Agencies also often have a team of developers at their disposal, so if the developer working on your project takes a vacation, they can swap another developer in without much hassle.
With all these upsides there is a downside. Price. Having a sales team, a project management team, and a developer team isn't cheap. Agencies often cost quite a bit of money compared to freelancers.
So in summary:
- Hands Off
- No Single Point of Failure
- Very expensive
Market Rate Freelancer
Another option you have are market rate freelancers, these are highly skilled developers who often have worked in agencies, but decided to go their own way and get clients themselves. They generally produce high-quality work at a lower cost than agencies.
The downside to freelancers is since they're only one person they might not be available right away to start your work. Especially high demand freelancers you may have to wait a few weeks or months before they start development. They also are hard to replace, if they get sick or go on vacation, it can often be hard to find someone to continue the work, unless you get a good recommendation from the freelancer.
- Cost Effective
- Similar quality to agency
- Great for short term
- May not be available
- Hard to replace
The last option I'm going over is budget freelancers who are often found on job boards such as Fiverr and Upwork. They work for very cheap, but that often comes at the cost of quality and communication. Often you will not get what you're looking for, or it will be very brittle code which buckles under strain.
If you're on a very tight budget, it may be worth rolling the dice on a highly rated budget freelancer, although you must be okay with the risk of potentially throwing the code away.
- Very cheap
- Often low quality
- May not be what you asked for
Getting the right backend for your app is important. It is often a good idea to stick with agencies or market rate freelancers due to the predictability and higher quality code, but if you're on a very tight budget rolling the dice with budget freelancers could pay off. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter where the code is from, as long as it works and does what it's supposed to do.