Technical Contractors: the Pros and Cons of Hiring or Outsourcing
Dakota Murphey

As businesses become more technical and operate in a digital environment, their ability to react quickly to the market becomes paramount. Indeed, the importance of speed to market cannot be overstated in today’s environment, and this is true across a huge range of different industries.

However, with the growing expense of hiring an in-house IT team that is capable of doing all of your technical work, many businesses are looking to explore alternatives. It is not necessarily the case that companies don’t think that they would benefit from a talented in-house team, but simply that it has become cost ineffective.

This has given rise to two alternatives to hiring a full in-house team; outsourcing and contractors. In this article, we will take a look at the pros and cons of hiring contractors versus working with an outsourced team, especially by relating it back to working with an in-house team.

The pros of contractors

Hiring contractors can be a very powerful way to improve the skills in your organization without overspending. Some of the key advantages of working with contractors include:

-The right person for the job - when you hire a contractor, you can ensure that you find someone with exactly the right skill set for the job. Ultimately, this can result in having the person who is going to do the job perfectly, rather than a member of your in-house team who might have some of the necessary skills.

-No overpaying for talent - rather than having to hire a member of staff on a full-time contract, working with contractors means that you don’t have to overpay for skills that you only actually need for a relatively short time frame. This can leave you with extra budget for other parts of your work.

-Fast hiring - unlike hiring a full-time member of staff, hiring a contractor can be an extremely fast process. In some cases, you can hire someone and get them started on the project within minutes. This means that if you need to get started on something urgently, contractors can be hugely valuable.

-Access to the skills you need - in reality, getting the right skills into your business can be a challenge. There is a digital skills gap that makes hiring in-house prohibitively expensive, and working with contractors means you can get the skills that you need for a job without hassle.

The cons of contractors

Of course, working with contractors can have downsides too.

-Cybersecurity concerns - it is always more challenging to manage cybersecurity when you work with a number of people who are employed directly by the business. Furthermore, many contractors work remotely, which comes with a range of its own cybersecurity challenges.

-Lack of staff continuity - when you have a strong in-house team that has a good sense of camaraderie and teamwork. This is something that can be missing if a significant portion of your workforce is simply contractors who only stick around for one project at a time.

-Potentially higher initial costs - if you are working with a number of contractors, the initial costs associated with hiring them can be high, especially at the beginning of the process. This is not to say that savings cannot be achieved, but working with a lot of short-term contractors can certainly be expensive.

The pros of outsourcing

The other option to consider is outsourcing. This can be hugely important to reduce your spending on IT staff without diminishing the level of expertise available to your company. Some of the pros include:

-Enlarge or downsize instantly - a major benefit of working with an outsourced team is that if you decide that you need more work, or the job done faster, you can generally instantly get extra people working on the project. The reverse is true if you find yourself ahead of schedule, or need to draw back from a job.

-A cost-effective solution - in some cases, working with an outsourced company can bea much better idea from a financial perspective. You pay a single monthly bill for the services you need, and they are taken care of for you.

-Quicker time to market - if you need to get a product to market as soon as possible, it is arguable that having a full, outsourced team is the quickest way to do it. This team will be used to working together and producing the products that companies need. Outsourcing digital marketing when time is of the essence can be a low-risk and effective solution.

-You can focus elsewhere - if your business speciality is not on the technical side, it can be very useful to have this aspect of the job taken care of. It allows you to focus your efforts elsewhere and this can create opportunities not only for increased productivity but also a higher quality of work all around.

The cons of outsourcing

Just as there are positives, there are also a number of negatives that must be considered when you are making a decision.

-Communication issues - there is pressure when outsourcing for communications with the team to be perfect. If the team misunderstands or misinterprets the brief, it can waste critical time and money.

-Lack of full control - when you outsource, you are signing over at least some level of control, and this can be extremely challenging if you are used to having complete oversight of everything that your business does.

-Reliant on an outside company - it is worth noting that when you work with an outsourced business, their way of working and the work they do can leave you entirely reliant on them. And this potentially puts you at their mercy.