Learn about the pros and cons of the three most popular options for increasing productivity.

Growth management is a critical part of running any business.

Plenty of companies have fallen apart (or suffered tremendous difficulties) because of unmanageable growth. 

At first, the influx of new work is great – until you realize it’s too much to handle with your current assets and resources.

Traditionally, the answer to this problem involves hiring new employees. Even in today’s gig economy, in-house hires are still the number-one preferred method of handling business growth.

But hiring new employees is risky and expensive. WordPress developer salaries are growing faster than ever, and most agency owners can’t immediately justify the expense.

Enterprising agency owners have found all kinds of alternatives to hiring in-house WordPress developers. Each of these solutions comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Find out which one is the best option for your agency.

But first, let’s talk about in-house hiring.

Hiring Costs for a New In-House WordPress Developer

Digital agencies based in the United States, the UK, and other high-income countries are going to have a hard time hiring in-house WordPress developers. In these places, there is a shortage of qualified candidates and massive, growing demand.

This situation is driving WordPress developer salaries up every year. The average WordPress developer salary in the United States is just under $5,300 per month. The very best developers can easily fetch double that price. 

But that’s just the salary. Adding a new hire to your agency costs an average of $4000 in administrative fees, recruiting costs, and taxes on top of the new hire’s compensation package.

Three Alternatives to In-House Hiring for WordPress Developers

If you can’t guarantee that you’ll have enough work coming in to justify the costs of a new hire, you’ll have to outsource WordPress tasks to a third-party partner. 

Here are three broad ways agencies accomplish this.

  1. Contracting an Dedicated Agency Developer

Plenty of WordPress agencies are happy to outsource their developers on a dedicated account basis. Having a dedicated agency developer working on your WordPress tasks can cost anywhere from $1500 to $5000 per month, clearly making it a cost-friendly alternative to in-house hiring.

In this case, you outsource projects to a specific developer in another agency and pay that agency a standard rate for the work. Your agency partner is responsible for paying the developer’s salary, which will be lower than what you would pay for hiring a brand new employee.

The main drawback of this approach is that you can only leverage the skills of a single developer. That means you will generally have to assign a single type of project to that individual. 

If your dedicated developer is a great front-end programmer, for example, you may have trouble getting back-end work done in a cost-efficient way.

  1. Hiring Freelancers

Freelance developers are abundant and easy to find. You can create a post on UpWork or Freelancer and get in touch with qualified people in mere minutes.

In many cases, you can hire qualified developers from other countries and take advantage of the purchasing power disparities between your country’s economy and the freelancers. This is how many agencies outsource WordPress developers remotely for $20-100 per hour.

Hiring freelancers comes with a certain degree of risk. It’s incredibly difficult to vet a freelancer – you often must simply take their word and hope they pull through on their promises. Some will succeed, and others won’t.

The two main risks associated with hiring freelancers are:

  • Ghosting. Freelancing is an informal business. People earning their paychecks from individual projects don’t have to tie themselves down to any particular client. They can simply disappear at any point, leaving unfinished projects in the air. 
  • Mercenarism. Some freelancers are simply looking for the highest bidder. They may be highly competent workers, but they’ll jump ship the moment a better-paying opportunity shows up.

There is very little that agency owners can do to mitigate these risks. While there are certainly many excellent freelancers out there, finding them – while avoiding the ghosts and mercenaries – can be incredibly challenging.

  1. Hiring a White Label WordPress Development Agency

Contracting a white label WordPress developer offers a “best-of-both-worlds” approach to handling agency growth. It avoids the risks and uncertainties associated with hiring freelancers while giving agencies access to a broad variety of high-value skills (project manager, developer, front-end designer, and tester all in one) on demand. 

With the resources and skills of an entire agency at your fingertips, you can assign unlimited WordPress tasks to a team of highly competent developers on an ongoing basis. Your white label WordPress partners have a clear incentive to build a long-term, mutually beneficial business relationship with your agency.

White label WordPress agencies are able to hire and retain top talent by focusing specifically on technical skill development. Great white label agencies seek out qualified candidates with highly advanced niche skills.

For example, a white label WordPress maintenance team needs to hire developers with demonstrated expertise handling WP Care plans. Those employees will maximize their ability to perform WordPress maintenance to the exclusion of everything else, becoming far better at it than their peers. The same goes for plugin customization, debugging, and more.

This enables white label WordPress agencies like UnlimitedWP to deliver valuable technical expertise at far lower costs than hiring an in-house developer. At the same time, it delivers a broader set of skills than contracting a dedicated agency developer and provides greater certainty and security than hiring freelancers.