Freelancers or dedicated engineers: Which one you should be going for?

Jun 4, 2023 |
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When it comes to meeting your technical needs, whether it’s developing a website, designing a mobile app, or tackling complex software projects, you face an important decision: Should you hire freelancers or dedicated engineers? Both options have their merits, but understanding the nuances and considering your specific requirements can help you make an informed choice.

In this article, we delve into a comprehensive examination of two distinct digital platforms specifically tailored for recruiting tech talent. One of these platforms will undoubtedly ring a familiar bell, as it stands as the largest and most reputable platform for hiring freelancers: Upwork. The other, known as Prodigies, emerges as a fresh face in the industry, eschewing the freelancer model and instead presenting a selection of full-time specialists employed by reputable outsourcing software companies, who have been carefully vetted.

Upwork is the largest and most popular platform for hiring freelancers with any technical skills. On the other hand, Prodigies is an up-and-coming hiring platform to find pre-vetted highly skilled tech professionals to work for you full-time. These two platforms have their similarities and differences. The big similarity is that they both are options to explore if you are hiring for your software development project.

The differences, on the other hand, are not that obvious. They both have their pros and cons and they are both suited for different types of businesses. Today, we are exploring the differences between these two platforms and the hiring models they represent so that you can make an informed hiring decision.

Freelancers or dedicated development team?

Hiring freelancers can often be the faster and easier way to hire for a project that is just starting out. Hiring dedicated developers, on the other hand, is time consuming and labor intensive to begin with. But, the more important question is, which model is going to serve your business better in the long run?

Finding freelancers is easy and it is not that tough to outsource different parts of the project to the different well-suited freelancers either. And freelancers are quite likely to try to finish your assignments as quickly as possible to make extra money.

However, hiring freelancers does have its disadvantages too. Communication can be a major issue while working with freelancers you are not that familiar with. If there is a language barrier, important instructions can get lost in translation. Another important issue is security as you do not know which freelancer can be trusted unless they have a track record of working with you or someone you know.

Moreover, freelancers do not really need to care about your project. Oftentimes, as they work on just a part of the whole project or the ownership does not involve their name at all, freelancers can be less careful with their job. It can negatively impact your product’s security and quality, especially if the freelancer is not in tune with your company’s vision and values.

It is not all negative, though. Hiring freelancers has many benefits too. This can be your hiring model of choice if –

  • It is a short-term project.
  • It has a certain due date.
  • Quality of the project is not the topmost priority.
  • It is a lower-budget project.
  • You have clarity about who you need in the project.
  • You are certain that requirements will not change during the development.

Similarly, hiring dedicated developers to work on a project from start to finish has its own advantages. It can be more costly, but that higher expense means securing a team of experts to take your project to conclusion. When you hire a dedicated development team for a project, each team member has a point of focus or specific responsibilities for them while still collaborating. This usually results in higher quality products than those developed by freelancers.

Dedicated development team can be the better hiring model for you, if –

  • The project does not have a specific due date.
  • Quality of the finished product is important.
  • Changes in requirements down the line may require different skills and resources.
  • The project does not have a strictly defined budget.
  • The project is large, so you need a big team.

Hiring dedicated developers might be more expensive. But the return on investment is often higher due to better product quality.

Upwork or Prodigies?

Upwork is a platform to find freelancers whereas Prodigies is a platform to find full time tech professionals. But it is not as simple as that. Although both platforms are wonderful options for small businesses looking for qualified developers, they have differences. Let us look at the key differences between Upwork and Prodigies.

Type of marketplace

Upwork is a mainstream freelancer marketplace and Prodigies is a marketplace for tech talents only.

Prodigies, being a niche marketplace for tech professionals, is a more accessible way to hire top-level engineers with unique skill sets. From finding candidates with the right skills to making hiring decisions – every step becomes simpler and less time consuming when you are hiring from a niche solution.

Both Upwork and Prodigies have a large database of

  • Mobile development languages
  • Web development languages
  • Back-end languages
  • Platform development
  • Database Management System & API
  • Design
  • Almost all other programming languages

Service providers

Upwork service providers are freelancers and Prodigies service providers are full-time specialists pre-vetted by established outsourcing companies.

Developers available on Prodigies are selected through a rigorous process and are among the top 3% of global talents working in the industry. They are dedicated to only one project at a time, their work is managed, their workplace is organized for productivity and their payments are taken care of – all supervised by Prodigies itself.

Freelancing model, on the other hand, often does not have as much corporate accountability and organizational structure as the dedicated developer model. Be it singular focus on your project or a professional work environment – at least one of the above-mentioned elements will generally be missing.

Target market

Upwork’s target market is solopreneurs or SMEs and Prodigies’ target market is tech startups, SMEs or large IT companies.

Upwork serves anyone who is looking to get a technical task done regardless of industry or specialization. Prodigies is specifically created for tech executives looking to expand their software development team.


The following prices can be noted on both platforms. These prices often vary depending on the amount of tasks and speciality you are looking for.

SkillPrice at Upwork (in USD)Price at Prodigies (in USD)
Javascript (Web)
16 to 8018 to 84
Objective-C (Phone)25 to 8018 to 110
Java (Backend)17 to 8018 to 130

The cost structures, as obvious from the table above, are quite similar between the two platforms. Upwork charges a 2.75% processing fee to the client over the advertised cost. Prodigies charges a 10% fee above the developer’s charges. This higher percentage of charge reflects Prodigies’ elaborate services including skill verification, candidate short-listing and full time employee management.

Information availability

In Upwork, you will generally have the following information of candidates available from the beginning.

  • Name
  • Hourly rate
  • Tech stack
  • Work history, feedback & ratings
  • Portfolio
  • Skill level in English
  • Job success rate
  • General availability

In Prodigies, the following information is available in every candidate’s profile.

  • Name
  • Hourly rate
  • Tech stack & experience level
  • Work history
  • Comprehensive project experience
  • Skill level in English
  • Real-time availability
  • Soft skills
  • Communication skills
  • Development tools
  • Industry experience

Both the platforms prioritize transparency while Prodigies provide more technical details and Upwork focuses on presenting the portfolio.

Verification process

Upwork does not have any verification process within the platform. You can opt to verify the freelancers by interviewing yourself and getting recommendations from your network. Prodigies, on the other hand, has a rigorous vetting process.

As a result, hiring from Prodigies is quicker and more secure.

Hiring process

Upwork follows a social media-like process where you, as a client, can reach out to any freelance professional. Prodigies follows a booking paradigm where you send a request with information about your potential candidates and the company shortlists candidates for you.

Upwork obviously has a more free-for-all model whereas Prodigies requires more back and forth before candidate interviews.

Time required to assemble a team

If you are hiring from Upwork, assembling a team can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 weeks. If you are hiring from Prodigies, team assembly takes less than 24 hours and your project can start within a week.

Engagement model

Upwork hiring process follows a standard freelancing model and Prodigies hiring process follows dedicated resources model.

In the freelancing model, one resource may work on multiple projects simultaneously whereas Prodigies only assigns a developer to one particular project.

Payment services

Upwork uses automated payment through PayPal, Payoneer or directly to the bank. On the other hand, Prodigies has a payment process of its own. All billing goes through the platform and contractors are paid only after they have provided the service for you.

Project management

The standard platform of Upwork does not provide these services. But it is available with Upwork Pro and Upwork Enterprise. Prodigies provides independent project facilitators who handle all legal, financial and communication issues on behalf of the client. In some cases, clients also gain the assistance of a tech lead.

Wrapping up

The bottom line is that with pros and cons of their own, both the platforms have room to thrive in their own markets. Prodigies provides a newer channel much more suitable for B2B outsourcing.

Pre-vetting of tech talents, dedicated developers for your project and assistance with different aspects of hiring outsourced resources – all make Prodigies a perfect platform to expand your tech team. So if you are interested in hiring tech professionals without much hassle, give Prodigies’ vast pool of talents a try!

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