There are two broad choices that staffing and recruitment agencies need to pick between when considering how to manage their contractors and/or freelancers:
Do they build their own contractor software and maintain it?
Do they buy a ready-made solution that can be tailored to their needs?
While it’s fair to say that some larger companies with equally larger budgets may have the impetus and capital to build their own solution, there are pros and cons to doing this, just as there are pros and cons to buying an out-of-the-box platform.
So how sure can you be that either option suits your organization’s needs, budget, and other factors?
In response to this question, we're diving into the positives and negatives of buy vs. built contractor management software so that, hopefully, by the end of this comparison, you'll have a better insight into which is best for you.
Let’s take a look.
Building Your Own Contractor Management Software
Before diving in and building your own software in-house or commissioning a company to create something for you, you need to consider whether you have the in-house expertise to oversee and maintain the project. It’s also essential to evaluate how much time you and your team can realistically spend on such a significant development job while ensuring day-to-day tasks don’t go by the wayside.
However, it’s not all gloom; there are some positives to building your own freelance management software:
You Can Build What You Want
The beauty of developing your own contract management platform is that you can build it to your exact specification to complement your unique business goals.
You Decide the Timetable
Suppose you’re solely using in-house talent to build your software. In that case, you’re not bound by anyone else’s timetable and can create a freelance management system at your leisure.
Alternatively, you may have reached out to third-party developers to help you. However, that may dictate the timetable a bit, making it harder for you to control exactly when you can hit the ground running with your software. So, be sure to bear that in mind when considering whether to outsource your contractor management software development.
However, this is the ideal scenario.
That’s why first and foremost, it’s imperative to conduct a complete analysis of staff capacity and whether you can afford the upfront costs associated with such a project. Needless to say, this goes a long way to ensuring fewer headaches later down the road.
When building software in-house, you have more control over what the system can do and how it’s adjusted to meet your agency’s future needs.
It’s a More Expensive Upfront Investment
Whether you’re commissioning a third-party web developer to create your freelance management platform or someone in-house is rising up to the task, creating your own software presents a more expensive upfront investment.
For example, if you’re hiring a web developer in Europe, expect to shell out between $61-80 an hour for a professional service. Needless to say, creating a bespoke freelance management platform will take a fair few hours, and, as such, costs will rack up!
In contrast, if your in-house team is creating the software for you, you’ll have to factor in the cost of their wage, any software/hardware/training they might need to execute the project, and if applicable, the cost of getting someone else to cover their day to day responsibilities.
It’s a Drain on Everyone’s Time
Whether your in-house developers and engineers are building your software or your end users are testing it at each development stage, it’s important not to underestimate the time such a project will take or the additional time involved in maintaining the software.
Building your own contractor management software cannot be done quickly if you want to get it right the first time. It could take up to a year or more, depending on the complexities of what you’re building.
This raises the question: How will the day-to-day responsibilities of those involved in the project be covered?
A project audit must be carried out before proceeding to ensure no balls are dropped during the development process. This should factor in timescales, who’s responsible for completing which tasks (day-to-day jobs and software development related), project milestones, and more.
You May Build Something Overly Complex
Such a project will inevitably involve input from multiple in-house teams, for example, HR, payroll, IT, etc. Sometimes, with too many opinions, expectations are difficult to manage. That in itself is a time drain.
However, the more pertinent risk is that the end product will be overly complicated if your in-house developers try to please everyone without proper oversight.
The result? The employees who predominantly use the system to manage and maintain your agency’s freelance/contractor pool will spend more time navigating an overly complex piece of software. Ultimately, this is a waste of your agency’s resources.
Contractor management software has to be secure. After all, it handles people’s data, including financial and other sensitive information. So the risk of building something that isn't fully GDPR compliant cannot be understated.
Buying Contractor Management Software
There are many benefits to buying ready-built freelance management software, particularly if you’re a busy staffing agency. Perhaps you don’t have time to wait for your own software to be developed? Maybe you don’t have the capacity to maintain your own platform? Whatever your circumstances, here are a few other notable benefits to purchasing out-of-the-box freelance management software:
It’s Made by Expert Developers
Don’t buy the first freelance management platform you stumble upon. Instead, do your homework to ensure you’re looking at a reputable freelance management platform. That way, you can be confident that you’re buying time-saving, out-of-the-box software built by experts with a view to meeting the needs of businesses/agencies looking to manage freelancers.
More specifically, a best-in-class freelance management platform should address the following issues with its software:
Disorganized onboarding and compliance
Poor payment and invoicing systems and low retention figures.
All aspects of day-to-day freelance management
It’s Easy to Implement
The right platform will boast an easy sign-up process and will be intuitive and quick to implement and learn.
The Software Is up to Date
Cloud-based freelance management platforms like Bubty ensure their software is fully updated to ensure the utmost security and a bug-free experience. They also make sure that when new features are added into the mix, they don’t cause any disruption or lost time to your day-to-day business.
In short, pre-made contract management platforms take care of software maintenance and updates for you, so you don’t have to.
It’s More Financially Manageable for Smaller Agencies
Rather than finding the money for an in-house team to build and maintain your own software, you can save time and money on maintenance and development costs by subscribing to a freelance management platform SaaS.
Not only that, but the right solution should be scalable and flexible enough to meet the needs of a growing organization. I.e., as your agency expands, you can upgrade your plan to access the resources you need. Likewise, if business dwindles, you can downgrade according to your needs.
The right software will help you comply with GDPR and local employment law, tax, social security costs, payroll reporting, and record keeping. For example, suppose you invest in a freelancer management system such as Bubty’s. In that case, you can feel confident its robust security measures will protect your staffing agency against data breaches and loss.
The Learning Curve
Installing any new piece of software involves learning how to use it, which can be overwhelming and time-consuming. However, providing you choose the right solution, out-of-the-box freelance
management platforms can be simple to learn.
That said, if hiccups arise, you should be able to contact their support team and/or refer to self-help documentation on their website to get back on the straight and narrow.
Some freelance management platforms limit the number of freelancers you can onboard to your talent pool - but that isn’t always the case. For instance, with Bubty, you can register an unlimited number of freelancers into your system.
You’re Dependent Upon Outside Support
Before buying a contractor management software solution, double-check the ongoing support you’ll receive because you’ll rely on them for help if things go wrong.
The Bottom Line
After weighing up the pros and cons of buying vs. building your own contractor management software, hopefully, you have a better understanding of what's involved.
In either instance, it’s essential to carefully consider and research your options.
But, to us, it’s a no-brainer; the positives of buying a reputable pre-made solution like Bubty outweigh any potential negatives. These platforms are tried and tested, kept updated, are secure, and provide everything you need to manage freelancers and contractors from the convenience of one place. What’s not to love about that?
If you want to learn more about how Bubty does this and how we can help you manage your freelance pool, why not book a demo today?