Magento Agencies Vs Freelancers: Choosing the Best Developers for Your Project

Posted On July 3, 2017 Blog

Unsure whether to hire a freelance Magento web developer or an agency? In this guide we address the most common issues every business owner encounters at an early stage of an eCommerce website development and later on when Magento migration or advance customizations are needed.

how to choose a magento developer
How to Choose a Magento Developer

Magento is the most reliable – thus the most popular – eCommerce platform, specially developed to fit the requirements of every stage of any type of business. But because it is a complex platform, the developer you choose to work with needs to have the proper expertise to provide you with fast, dedicated and affordable services to fully develop, customize and troubleshoot any kind of problems that may occur during the website development stages or while your Magento store is up.

Before you call the experts, here is the checklist we prepared to help you make the best decisions in building your store and launching your brand online:

  • Why do you need to hire a Magento developer, where do you find one, and how can a developer help you create your online store?
  • What is the difference between building an in-house integration for Magento and choosing to hire a freelance developer, or a specialized agency? What are the advantages and disadvantages for each option?
  • And last, but not least, how much does a Magento developer going to cost?

Why Hire eCommerce Developers for Magento

Can You Install Magento Without Professional Assistance?

Magento automatic installation
Magento 2 Installation – Image source:

Can you install Magento without any help? Basically, yes. There are a number of solutions out there that may guarantee you an automatic installation of Magento, and promise that you will save money and time, but entrepreneurs don’t usually find the default installation to be well-suited for their business.

Plus, if you want to integrate a new theme, import new data for your website’s categories, install specific customizations, you need to be acquainted with the basics of Magento programming.

That is why, to save you the efforts, time and money on the long run you need to request development assistance from Magento certified partners which know how eCommerce works, and already have the technical skills needed in order to migrate from other platforms to Magento, or build your online store from scratch and launch it online quickly and effortlessly.

Besides, the true potential of this versatile and powerful eCommerce platform can only be obtained when it is managed by a team of certified developers whose efforts work in favor of your business.

Why Do You Need a Magento Developer

Magento Development
Magento development – Image source:

Magento is the most scalable and versatile e-Commerce platform but at the same time it is a complex and powerful system that can be adapted to every type of business you run and every need your customers have. If you want to have a functional, enterprise-level eCommerce online store, then you need to take advantage of all the customizations and functionalities the Magento platform can support. To do this, you need to hire a specialized web developer or agency with the necessary technical expertise to migrate your web store from other eCommerce platforms to Magento or develop a brand new Magento website.

Whether you choose to stick to the basics or you want custom installations, themes and extensions, you will eventually have to ask for professional assistance. In this sense, choosing the right eCommerce developer determines the level of success you aim to attain with your business in online marketing.

Nevertheless, it is advisable to step out of the basic configurations and add non-standard functionalities in order to be ahead of your competitors, attract more business and offer the best user experience there is out there.

What Does a Magento Web Developer Do

Every website comes with different requirements, so the responsibilities a Magento developer has can significantly vary from one project to another.

However, the following are the basic tasks a web developer can help you with in setting up your online store, from the beginning of the project and all the way up to deployment and maintenance:

  • Magento theme integration and design to work on all devices
  • Modules creation and customization for existing needs
  • Importing data for categories and products
  • Magento settings configuration
  • Creating new pages
  • Integrating the payment gateway and shipping modules
  • PSD/HTML theme development and customization
  • Installing updates
  • SEO friendly-implementation
  • User-friendly design and usability
  • Third-party services integration
  • Web-services API integration
  • Deployment
  • After-launching support and assistance in managing the store

Considering that Magento is the most flexible platform for eCommerce website, a skilled developer should determine what is the best solution for each client and customize every store based on the different business plans that are presented to them.

How to Choose a Magento Developer

Hire a Magento expert
Magento Experts – Image Source:

Where Do You Find the Right Provider for Your Business

With over 240 thousands retailers in the world, from small startups to huge enterprises, Magento is becoming the world’s leader when it comes to eCommerce platforms, so no wonder the number of Magento developers is also on the rise!

Internet Retailer Merchant Growth
Internet Retailer Merchant Growth – Image Source:

If you google “Magento developers”, you will find ~30 million results, some of which include specific documentation and step by step guidelines on Magento installation or individual services, but also Magento partners, certified companies and independent developers.

So how do you choose the right solution to fulfill your business needs?

Magento developers SERP
Magento developers SERP – Image source:

Magento Partners

You can start your searches by checking out the list of Magento Partners, where you can find the companies that can help you with the specialized services you need to build and deploy your online store in no time.

Magento Partners are certified eCommerce experts that provide end-to-end services, including development, design, configuration and customization, web hosting, SEO and PPC services, so that you need not worry whether the end result will be exactly as you expected.

Plus, Magento partners have full access to all the support, extensions and tools your Magento store development requires.

Magento offers two status levels to its partners: Solution Partners, which help merchants grow their business on Magento platform, and standalone Technology Partners, capable of solving a variety of business needs, ensuring quality and compatibility with all Magento technologies.

The four types of Solution Partners are:

  • Global Elite: development agencies you can consult for full-service development on Magento or support. Their technical proficiencies are in the digital commerce domain, spanning UX/CX design through the management of complex programs and robust 24/7 managed services.
  • Enterprise: full service consulting firms, that offer strategy, design, development, implementation and managed services.
  • Professional partners: companies that have an established commerce practice area and are adopting Magento as a key technology offering. They are up to date with the latest Magento innovations and have access to channel support.
  • Business partners: companies focused on implementing the Magento Community Edition.

Certified Magento Developers

Magento Certification
Magento Certification –

How can you know if an independent Magento developer is a better choice?

When you are searching for a Magento developer you need to address this question relative to how big your business is. If you are a small business, freshly integrated into the online market, then choosing a Magento Global Elite Partner, for example, can exceed the budget you have for website’s development, customization and deployment.

In cases like this, you can consider hiring an independent agency or a freelance developer, depending on how big your project is and for how long you will be needing the specialized services.

If you want to install the latest Magento version, look for the agencies or independent developers that have the Magento 2 Trained Solution Partner Badge.

Magento 2 Trained Partner
Magento 2 Trained Partner

For short-term contracts, a good suggestion is to search for a freelance developer on Upwork, where over 14 thousand Magento experts are listed, out of which over 500 are certified.

Other sites like StackOverflow, GitHub, CraigsList , UpWork, Freelancer, are a good place to find Magento developers, and why not, Twitter (using the #MagentoJobs tag).

You can also find Magento Certified Developers on using the dedicated section – Magento Certified Directory, where you can browse through all certified developers by country and region, based on your highest interest.

Magento Certification Directory
Magento Certification Directory –

Necessary Requests Before Contracting an Expert

Magento Developer’s Portfolio and References

Magento Developer's Portfolio -
Magento Developer’s Portfolio –

After you have conceived a list of possible candidates for the job, the next step is to ask them for references and examples of projects they have done in the past.

Browsing through examples and checking their online stores can help you make a qualitative selection to find the web developer that can easily accommodate with your style and business plan.

Go to the developer’s website and check the dedicated sections, the about page, clients and partners, showcases, gather all the info you need to ease your decision-making process.

Seeing in their portfolio projects which resemble your business plan will be a plus, as you’ll know you have found your Magento developer!

However, before making a deal with an independent developer or a Magento Partner, be sure that the project manager you hire understands what you want, how your website should look and behave, all the systems and procedures you need to implement, from the routine adjustments to the more advanced customizations.

Discuss all business aspects before signing a contract, to prevent additional costs and the eventual delays that may appear during the development stages that can set you back and postpone the launching of the website, all of which will eventually cost you energy, time and money.

Budget Planning and Quotation Requests

Magento Development Quote

Creating a Magento store from scratch is a big investment, so your budget needs to be carefully planned. It is advisable to create a detailed plan which should include all your demands, the deadlines and the budget you are willing to spend for each part of the entire process.

Before asking for a quote from the Magento developers you have already chosen, you need to know precisely what services you need and for how long. Is it only a development project or you also need specialized services, support and maintenance for an indefinite period of time?

Keep in mind the following aspects when you write down your financial agenda:

  • the desired site’s structure and architecture
  • the desired outlook and design
  • the overall usability and functionality
  • consider essential versus optional features
  • also, consider SEO, CRO and PPC services
  • do you need support and maintenance?

Magento Development In-House, Agency or Freelancers: Pros, Cons and Costs

Magento Developer
Magento Developer – Image Source:

How much can an eCommerce website project going to cost? Regardless of the option you choose, the budget varies significantly from one Magento version to another, whether you choose Magento 1 or Magento 2. More than this, most of time time price equals quality, so you should choose what you think is more advantageous for your business, as long as the developers you pick for the job are skilled and proficient.

In this sense, 3 aspects will determine your selection:

  • the costs implied
  • the expertise of your Magento programmer or developer
  • their flexibility and level of dedication

But before jumping to conclusions, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of outsourced versus in-house development solutions. Here are the key pros and cons for every option, and the corresponding cost estimates, to help you make the right choice!

In House

One way to develop your Magento website is to expand your team by choosing to hire a Magento programmer with solid background in Magento development and other eCommerce platforms. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing this option.


  • High level of engagement between employees and high level of dedication which can help the entire project progress more quickly
  • Fast troubleshooting as you can directly address a problem in real time and face-to-face, while in case of outsourcing independent developers may not respond as quickly, due to the fact that your project may not be the only or the most important project they are currently working on


  • Finding a skilled and dedicated developer it is not an easy task. Most experts are either independent or work in big development agencies
  • Plus, how can you know that they are good developers without having the necessary technical knowledge to evaluate them?
  • If the developer decides to leave the job, you need to start the hiring process all over again and this will hugely impact your finances

Cost Estimates

It is difficult to give an estimate for hiring a dedicated person, as employees negotiate their contract independently. As expected, the budget you should allocate for hiring a web developer specialized on Magento is going to depend on the experience and level of training of each participant and may start from around $3,000 per month, but it can go as high as $12,000.

Outsourcing: Agencies

Whether you want to create a new website or migrate your store from another platform to Magento, a good option is to search for Magento development services offered by specialized agencies. Here are the pros and cons of this solution.


  • You can benefit from the expertise of a team of certified, qualified Magento developers
  • They know how eCommerce works and are prepared to troubleshoot any kind of problem
  • They are more experienced with custom developments
  • Magento development agencies generally have all the resources your project requires, the latest tools and technologies
  • They provide non-stop assistance and support for the technical issues you may have with your store
  • They generally offer technical support even after the development stages are completed


  • Sometimes the project manager can have a different approach and a different management style. By contrast, an in-house expert gets to know the philosophy of your business better and take better decisions
  • There is a chance of overlapping roles, tasks and responsibilities, which can cause loss of time and contribute to overall costs of the project
  • Although many agencies offer 24/7 assistance, the response time on the eventual problems which may arise can suffer a delay, compared with the in-house solution, where any problem can be discussed face-to-face and solved efficiently right on the spot, as long as it occurs during working hours

Cost Estimates

A quick launch for Magento Community from 1.9 further can cost around $19,000, but the price per hour of Magento development varies from one firm to another, from $60 to $200 or even higher.

Outsourcing: Freelancers

A freelancer is a good option for creating your Magento store, but as any other option, this one comes with its pros and cons, too. Here they are:


  • You can find them easily via dedicated websites such as UpWork and Freelancer. This will save you time and you’ll be able to launch your website quicker
  • Nearly all freelancers have specific skills and they usually are very good at what they do, so this can be the best option for you if you do not need a complete set of services for your project
  • This is the best option if your project is not too big and you need a dedicated person for a limited amount of time
  • You can find talented developers from all over the world and benefit of foreign currency fluctuation to make some savings and decrease your overall budget for your project


  • Intellectual property is at risk of being exposed
  • Communication delays may arise at any stage of the project
  • Not knowing the person or having a face-to-face discussion can make it harder to trust the developer you hire. It is recommended to gain as much info as you can (e.g. from social media) before hiring a freelancer
  • Some freelancer promise more than they can handle, that is why you need to avoid working with an independent developer if it does not have a good ranking
  • Freelancer from different corners of the world have different concepts or preferences of design and content creation, it is therefore recommended to choose a developer from your region
  • Freelancers can be very expensive, up to $300 per hour, depending on the complexity of the project. When choosing an independent Magento developer always ask for references and try to choose the average price. An expensive freelancer is not necessarily going to do more for you than one with an average cost per hour, especially if they have the same level of skills, so why pay more than you need to?

Cost Estimates

The hourly rate for Magento development freelances varies considerably from one country to another, but also based on the level of expertise each developer has. Also, the absence of a certification can lower the cost to even $15 per hour, but remember, in the end you get what you pay for!


Choosing a solution for Magento development it is not an easy thing to do! Regardless of the type of collaboration you opt for – whether you decide to hire an in-house Magento programmer, a Magento development agency or a freelancer – the project is going to be a big financial investment and you should carefully choose the people you work with to benefit of the best results.

Keep in mind the scope of your project when you start your searches for the best Magento developer and hire the ones that are suited for your business needs to help you launch your website as quickly as possible.

Taking everything in mind, the problem of choosing between a specialised agency and a freelancer comes down to the scope and complexity of your project, the budget you have and whether you are willing to pay for good quality to see your website online in no time, minimize your efforts and maximize your results.

Do you need to hire a Magento Developer? Don’t wait – let’s talk today!