Current page
Remote Work

Hiring a Software Dev Agency Vs. Full Time Developer

Ali Ansari
Minute Read
Hiring a Software Dev Agency Vs. Full Time Developer

Quick look

Choosing to hire an agency or a full time developer for your company is an important decision. Having a company that offers both, I have clear insight on which is best based on a few different factors. First, let me define the different types of hire clearly. 

Agency: when you hire an agency, you’re not hiring a specific developer to do job x, you’re instead hiring the agency to do work x. This means that who is working on your project is abstracted away from you – you’re simply trusting the agency’s credibility to get the work done vs. assessing a specific developer. The most common format of hiring an agency is through a monthly bandwidth model. This is where you pay the agency for x hours a month of ‘bandwidth’ (or resources/materials). Usually the cost ranges from $100-200/hour. The second format of hiring an agency is project based. This is where you pay x dollars for the project and there’s a fixed scope. This is a format that most agencies are going away from. It also doesn’t work too well for the client due to the scope constraints (topic for another day). 

Full time developer: when I say full time developer, it’s someone that joins your team directly (usually on hourly basis or fixed salary). I say full time to convey that you’re working with them directly (but it can also be part time). 

Now that I’ve defined these terms, let’s get to the two factors that matter most. 

1: Stage of company

The most important factor to consider (even more than cost) is what stage your company is currently at. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re building out the 1st version of your product, then you should hire an agency. On a similar note, if you don’t have any developers or designers on your team currently and you’re not a technical founder, then you should definitely hire an agency. The problem with hiring a full time developer is that you need to manage them and in most cases, you need a UI/UX designer to provide designs. So now, the problem is, if you’re looking to hire a full time developer at such an early stage, you then have to hire a designer and maybe a project manager. You now have 3 salaries to handle with 0 guarantee of quality. When you hire an agency, you get a team that they’ve already put together that gets the job done with some guarantee of quality. At the earlier stages, it makes much more sense to hire an agency.  

2: Cost

The next important factor is cost. A typical agency costs $150/hour (we’re lower ;)) and a typical software developer is $40/hour (global avg based on our data). If you directly compare these two, it seems obvious that a full time developer is cheaper; however, this direct comparison is incorrect. You have to consider productivity and optimal hours usage. Let me explain: first, productivity, an agency’s developer is not necessarily much more productive than a single developer than you hire full time; however, the way the agency splits up the hours (between design, development, QA, etc) and manages the project allows for hyper productivity. You can have similar (or higher) productivity levels than any agency once you have a full team of all types of roles needed in the full development lifecycle. Considering that fact, it actually comes out to much cheaper to hire an agency for the 1st version of your product than hiring developers full time. There are of course exceptions to this (for ex, some deep AI product that you need very specific developers for or if you as the founder have technical/design knowledge). In general though, it will likely be less costly to hire an agency for your mvp/v1 of your product vs. a team of developers/designers/QA/pm full time. 

What it comes down to

If you meet any of the following then you can (and should) hire a full time developer

1. You’re a technical founder 

2. Have a development team already 

3. Have good UI/UX design & management knowledge

4. You’re working on some really deep tech (AI, etc)

If you have more questions, feel free to email me I wish you the best with building out your company :)

Looking for a top engineer?

Get a fully remote, top 1% engineer without worrying about international employment laws or benefits.

blue gradient

Default state of work is remote

We believe in a future of fully remote work and a global economy with no borders. With today's technology, a location constraint is completely unnecessary. We’re building tools to help the future of remote work.

Cups of coffee


What is micro1?
We help companies hire & manage a top 1% engineering team easily.
How does the free trial work?
Once you find the right engineer from our talent pool, you can try them out for 1 week, for free.
Will the engineer work directly for me?
The engineer will be in direct contact with you and your company. You can also add the engineer to all of your company channels and softwares; however, you will not be directly hiring the developer, you will be hiring micro1. Hiring micro1 builds a layer of abstraction for the legal, compliance, global pay and benefits.
How does billing work?
The engineer's hourly rate is used as reference to calculate the total fixed monthly pay (in other words, their salary). This is done through a stripe subscription and there are no additional costs.
How are you different?
1. We have a unique interview process that has a large emphasis on the engineer’s soft skills.
2. We have a 1 week free trial that allows you to test the engineer in the best way possible.
3. We have a management portal that allows you to easily manage the global HR aspects of your hire.
What technologies do micro1 developers know?
React, Node.js, AWS, UI/UX, Web3, AI/ML, and much more.
Is there a contract?
There's a 3 month minimum after the 1st week free trial.

Hire & Manage top 1% engineers easily

Get a fully remote, top 1% engineer in your team within 4 days

Hire a Top Engineer