Startups vs. Freelance Developers

The 2020 Report

// how, why and where startups hire freelancers and why they don’t

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Why we needed a study on freelance developers

You may be wondering why anyone would need another research on freelancing when there are so many of them already. But if you’d ever try to find any actual statistics on how employers feel about hiring freelancers or why companies prefer hiring freelance over full-time developers (and vice versa), you’d quickly learn that most of the stats on freelancing we have is data gathered from the freelancers’ perspective and not the employers’.

So we couldn’t resist the temptation to follow the lemony voice in our heads that kept saying “If it doesn’t exist, do it yourself”.

And we did. We’ve talked to representatives of more than 300 American companies and asked them all the questions about how they hire freelancers we could think of. Including these:

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    Why hire a freelancer?

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    Why you shouldn't hire a freelance developer?

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    Which country has the best web developers?

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    Factors to consider when deciding which country out outsource it from?

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    What is the best way to hire a freelancer?

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    How to track freelancers hours?

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    What is a good hourly rate for freelance developers of different levels?

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    What was your best experience with freelance developers?

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    What was your worst experience with freelance developers?

and many more!

Unexpected facts about working with freelancers

Some of the stats we got out of our research that lasted for over 6 months were to be expected. For example, the fact that people who track freelancers hours and use collaboration tools for managing freelancers tasks tend to have more positive experiences working with freelancers than those employers who don’t:

How was your experience working with freelancers?
How do you track hours of freelancers?

Some other responses and data we got out of our survey were more surprising for us. If you want to check how good you are at picking up the vibes of freelancing, take our quick quiz!

Don’t want to guess? Download our full report now. It’s completely free and you won’t even have to sign up with a fake email address.

We’re cool like that.

How well do you know the people who hire freelancers?

Ready to guess? Let’s go:

1. What is the best way to hire a freelancer?

  • Social networks
  • Referrals
  • Vetted freelance platforms
  • All are equally bad

People who hired freelancers from vetted freelance platforms report having less negative experience than others. The worst way to hire freelancers is hiring through social networks.

2. Which countries & regions of the world are most popular for hiring freelance developers?

  • US & Canada and
    Eastern Europe
  • US & Canada and Latin American countries
  • Asia & Middle East
  • Western Europe
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9% 41%

North American and Eastern European countries were the most popular answers when respondents who have worked with freelance developers before were asked which countries they prefer to outsource to.

3. What hourly rate for a middle freelance developer people find the least acceptable?

  • $15 and less
  • $35-45
  • $55+
  • $25-35

Only 9,8% of respondents think that it’s okay to pay middle developers less than $15/hour. The rest 90,2% of respondents were ready to pay more than that. With the majority agreeing that the optimal hourly rate would be between $25 and $45 per hour.

4. Which industry hires freelance developers most often?

  • Education
  • Marketing and
  • AI
  • eCommerce

The industry that reported to rely on freelance developers the most was marketing & advertising — 94% said they’ve worked with freelancers before.

Take our quick quiz to find out!

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Want even more cool stats? You know what to do.