How to build your SaaS with freelancers?
I was chatting with my friend about my plans to start a new SaaS. I told him that I was considering outsourcing the coding to contractors, but he wasn't too sure about it. He said it can go bad and will cost me a lot of money. "I don't know if that's such a good idea," he said. "It might take you longer than you expect to get your product off the ground, and you might not build exactly what you want" He had a point - but at the same time, I don't have any technical skills myself, so I really don't really have much of a choice. What do you think? Should I give freelancers a try?
Table of Contents
In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to build a Software-as-a-Service startup. With online tools and resources like no-code platforms, you don’t need to be a developer to get your business off the ground. But what if you’re not a developer and your startup requires more than no-code can provide? What if you’re a non-technical founder? In that case, how can you build your SaaS with freelancers?
One option is still — use a no-code platform. There are huge amounts of tools available now that cover a lot of complex tasks that you think might need a developer. They come with pre-built features and templates, that allow you to automate extraction of data, filtering, changing saving etc. Everything you might need for a custom product. So do your research and try and find one that suits you.
If you cannot find anything, well then we switch to contractors and freelancers. If you have the budget you can go to an agency that can deliver the product from A to Z, if not, then you’ll need to put on your Product Owner hat and work together with 1-3 Freelancers to build what you need.
Assemble the team
You will need at least 3 people:
- Frontend Developer if it’s a web application or a mobile developer if it’s a iOS and Android app. Rates are from 25$ – 150$ per hour, depending on the seniority.
- Backend Developer — I would recommend considering two separate people for frontend and backend work as it will speed things up and will allow them to work in parallel on issues. Rates are from 25$ – 150$ per hour, depending on level of skill.
- Quality Assurance — If you don’t have time to test everything yourself then you’ll need to hire a person who will do it. They will cost you ~10$-20$ per hour.
There are a number of websites where you can find freelancers, including UpWork, Freelancer, and Fiverr. Make sure to ask for references and samples of their work before making a decision.
Negotiate a fixed Price
It can be difficult to determine what a project will cost when working with freelancers. One option is to negotiate a fixed price project, which ensures both the client and freelancer know exactly what is expected and what the cost will be. This can be helpful in avoiding surprises and ensuring both parties are happy with the final product.
However, it’s important to note that not all freelancers are willing to work on a fixed price project. Some may prefer time and material projects, which allows for more flexibility but can be less predictable. In these cases, it’s important for the client to be clear about what they expect and to provide regular updates so that both parties remain aware of the progress being made.
The devil is in the details
When working with freelancers, it’s important to provide all the details necessary for them to complete the project. This includes everything from wireframes and flowcharts to explanations of what the product should do and how it should work. It’s also important to define acceptance criteria so both parties know when the project is finished and ready for release.
Have a clear idea of what you want the finished product to look like before hiring a freelancer. Be prepared to provide A LOT of detailed instructions and feedback during the course of the project.
You need to be a good communicator to transform your vision into something tangible.
General tips when building SaaS with Freelancers
Here are a few general tips to help things run smoothly:
- Pay your contractors on time. You don’t want to halt the project because of unpaid invoices
- Setup regular meetings to be updated and update the team of changes. This will will make your life easier if you know what they’re doing.
- Visualizing stuff is more important than describing stuff. Wireframes > verbal description
- Use a project management tool like Asana or Trello to track progress and keep everyone organized.
- Test the product with users early.
Building a startup can be difficult, but with the help of freelancers and contractors, it can be done. By providing clear instructions and feedback, as well as being prepared to negotiate, you can work with freelancers to create a product that you’ll be happy with. While there are some challenges associated with working with freelancers, the benefits – such as cost savings and flexibility – make it worth considering.
Have fun building.
More questions from users:
Hot! The last couple of years I've been writing about CTO / Tech lead job. I've compiled all my knowledge into a printable PDF. I called it "196 Pages of No Bullshit Guide for CTOs". So if you're interested, take a look.
New! If you're a software engineer looking for a job, I started a Roast my Resume service, where I record a personalized video of me "roasting" your CV, which basically means taking a hard look at your resume as a CTO and commenting on all the good and the bad parts.