Hiring a Studio, developing house, or contracting hourly. Which is better?

So you’re looking to develop a new project, and can’t decide whether to do it in-house, hire an hourly developer, or hire an external studio. There are different benefits and drawbacks to each, and the comparison can’t be made in just a few points because there are far too many things to consider.

In-house projects can keep labour costs lower, but depending on your project, some features could be limited depending on the capabilities of your team. Hourly developers are also a less expensive option, but they generally aren’t all that flexible and that can lead to further complications down the road. Studios are a bit more expensive, but there are many benefits to hiring a studio that significantly outweigh the higher price.

Throughout my time in this industry I’ve been on both sides of the debate. And I can honestly say that working with a studio is definitely worth the extra money.

— Let’s talk about the benefits of a studio.

Studios have amazing support capabilities

  • Studios will support your project throughout its lifetime

Studios are proud of their work, and will do everything they can to ensure its longevity. Not only does it help to build a studio’s reputation, it also adds to the overall quality of their work. Studios are able to work on any issues that arise over time, implement changes that need to be done, or integrate other software into your project. Studios will either bill by the hour or by the job, depending on what needs to be done, but you can be sure that your program will be up and running as much of the time as possible.

  • Your project will benefit from an experienced development staff

Experience is everything in the development industry. Problems that will take a new developer days, or even weeks, can be solved by a more experienced developer potentially in a matter of minutes. Clean, easy to read, code is essential in the success of your project. More experienced staff are able to deliver polished code quickly and accurately so that your project has the best user experience. Experienced developers working at studios generally work pretty quickly, so don’t be surprised in progress meetings when your project is coming along smoothly without hiccups. If you hire the right studio, your project may be completed well before the deadline, leaving plenty of room for testing and bug fixes, so your program runs as optimally as possible.

Make your business' money work for you!

  • Studios offer a better return on your investment

Custom software is an investment in your business. Whether it’s something as simple as a website, or as complex as a full ERP system, studios offer a better return on your investment than your standard hourly developer. As I mentioned earlier, studios offer support, and can solve issues in a timely manner if needed. Studios test their work extensively before they turn it over to you. Every function is checked too many times to count, and if there is an issue, you can expect that it will be fixed quickly. Studios have plenty of experience in updating their old work. When you hire a studio, you are also taking out an insurance policy on the relevance of your program. With technology updating and changing every day, it can be a little daunting commissioning custom software, but studio projects are generally fully scalable and updatable, keeping your project relevant for its entire life cycle.  

  • Studios employ creative thinkers - excellent at solving problems

Creative thinkers are hard to find, and if your project requires some je ne sais quoi, it’s probably better to go with a studio. There are many different ways to solve problems when it comes to programming and development, and many of these are not textbook solutions, or apparent at all. Studios thrive on solving issues in unique ways by adding an element of design to your project. Every studio piece is a little different, reflected by the needs of the project. One of the easiest examples to make is a website. You can hire a $12 per hour Wordpress developer from India, and you will get a website that works, but it will be a template and will most likely look and feel generic. Studios build projects from the ground up to be creative, unique, and engaging. Studios work with some of the best designers, programmers, and marketers in the industry. When you hire a studio, you aren’t hiring one or two people, you’re hiring an entire team of creative and motivated individuals who are dedicated to your project.

  • Studios have support systems in place

As I mentioned earlier, not every issue can be solved by looking through a textbook or a forum. Studios have experienced contacts and consultants that can be called in to solve very complicated issues, often at no extra charge to you, a perk of hiring an experienced studio. Even when studios are at capacity can can’t take on every aspect of a new project, they have contacts they can contract out to. Studios only work with the most experienced and versatile contractors, so you don’t have to worry about messy, underdeveloped code. Studios will do everything in their power to deliver a fully functional, well designed project to you - something that can’t always be done without an extensive support network.

Studios complete many projects for many purposes, leading to a great deal of experience

  • Studios have multidimensional experience

Oftentimes, a project has many different layers that have to match up exactly for perfect functionality. This can prove to be quite a challenge, but studios have experience in many different areas of the industry. Multiple projects across various industries allows studios to draw on many layers of experience, which can in turn lead into an inspired project. Inspiration can come in many forms, whether it be from the project itself, or a similarity between your project and a previous one. This inspiration can manifest in something as simple as UI and menu designs, how data is stored and retrieved, or anything else or between.

  • Studios are flexible

Studios have the ability to make changes where needed, or implement new ideas. Studios can develop a variety of products for a variety of industries. For example, a marketing studio can create a stunning campaign for a software company, a car company, or a retail chain. All of their experience couples with their flexibility, lending a huge boost to the quality of your project. Studios can develop in a variety of frameworks and languages, so you don’t have to worry about what stack to consider. With a studio, you can increase the scope of a project easily, something that is much harder to do with an hourly developer.

Budget software projects often lack a few key pieces to make them great

  • You get what you pay for

This is one of the most important points to consider, if not the most important point. A higher labour cost means more skilled developers, with up to date tools. Studios invest in their infrastructure and talent. They employ programmers, designers, marketers, among others to bring you the best possible product at a competitive rate. Studios know what they are worth, and that is why the cost can be so high. Compare an American car from the early 2000’s to a high-end German car today. The American car runs and will get you to work, but it probably won’t be very comfortable or reliable. A product from a studio is like a modern German luxury car. It has the most advanced technology, its reliable, it’s comfortable, and it turns heads on the street. You can either blend into the mundane or you can go with a studio and brag about your speeding ticket collection.

  • Large companies use studios

It may seem odd, but companies like Microsoft use studios. Companies like this are experts at cost-benefit analysis. Often times, it is not beneficial for a company to hire on a new developer for a project. Projects can take months to years of work, and require several different individuals to complete. So to complete a large scale project in house, you may need to hire an entire team. When you hire an entire team, a good amount of talent can actually be wasted. Let’s use design as an example. Good programs have excellent UI/UX, and as we all know it doesn’t come cheap. But to hire a designer for a project, you risk underutilizing them, which in turn costs you money. Studios have design teams working consistently, making best use of their efforts. This passes savings onto you and the total cost of your project. The same can be said for developers as well, there are times where all of the development work at a stage is completed, and you are left with employees sitting on their hands until the next phase is approved. In some cases, this period can be a matter of weeks.

As you can see, the advantages of hiring a studio can easily outweigh the drawbacks. Studios are reliable, creative, and motivated. Hourly developers aren’t necessarily any of those things, and in-house development projects can ultimately be more expensive while being more limited in function. Studios have a full support network and the vitality your project will always be a studio’s priority. Studios can solve problems, create unique designs, and help you launch your product to market if that’s the case. It really comes down to you get what you pay for, and with a studio, you get a talented team with years of experience working for you, potentially for the cost of only one employee depending on project size. The choice is yours, but if you’re ready to take the plunge, give us a call. Deskree Studio is highly experienced and motivated, and is among one of the best choices you can make currently.