vs. Agencies

Agency incentives aren't aligned with clients. Fixed talent pools, FTE salary requirements, and concurrent clients can get your project off the rails quickly.


The Big Picture

1 - Agencies are incentivized to utilize their full-time developers, even when they're not a great skill match. We custom-match clients with engineers who area perfect match for skills, experience and communication needs.


2 - Agencies spread their devs across multiple concurrent projects. freelancers are limited to a maximum of 40 hours per week of billed work. They are not run-down & sleep-deprived from constant death marches for other clients.


3 - Agencies have a limited supply of talent. has a "bench" of 25,000+. We can introduce the right people at the right times at the right measure. Your budget can be divided across different skillsets such that every dollar is fully maximized.  

While it might seem like the path of least resistance, engaging an agency or development shop may ultimately cost more for less output. Here’s what to consider:

Agencies are weakened by the payroll plague

Ten good software engineers will easily top a total fixed payroll of $1,500,000 annually. This means that the shop absolutely must come up with $125,000/month just to meet their engineering expenses.

As projects ebb and flow, the only way to do this is to (a) book more & bill clients all of the time and/or (b) squeeze as much work from each person as possible. In other words, you've got overworked people who simply have to maximize their coding time beyond fruitful levels in order to pay themselves, let alone support the marketing, sales, rent, and other administrative expenses of the business.

Furthermore, agencies with a fixed, recurring payroll are incentivized to assign the next available employee to a client's project — rather than the best one for the job. It is hard for agencies to avoid billing you the available B-player vs. hiring an A-player with the exact skill set that you require. And  whether or not this employee knows your stack or desired technology, the agency is encouraged to tell you that they do.

Agencies must remain on the Agency Treadmill

"They were great at first, but..." is a common refrain we hear from clients who've been burned by agencies before. The economics of a fixed bench payroll dictate a priority toward new client acquisition, and fast payback of the acquisition cost in order to get to a profit margin. This means that the relationship will always be great at first, then diminish in importance over time as the best talent gets re-deployed to wooing new clients.

Fixed-bidding makes it even more difficult

Fixed bids worsen the Agency Treadmill problem. Since agencies require fresh business to survive, agencies must say "yes" to deals which infuse their business with cash, even if they may have trouble delivering on those commitments.


By the time work must be delivered, the client's money has already been spent (typically to finance the previous months' operations). This business model and pricing model combination encourages agencies to take on more than they can handle and to kick the can down the road with your money.


When it's time to deliver on your project's critical final stages, the agency's leadership is already courting new business.

Our model is different

We believe in the idea that successful projects are the result of complimentary, talented people working together. We also know that every project has its own dynamics, variables, and stages, so we've built our model around finding the right talent for the right work, at the right time. 

It's different than an agency, and we think it has some distinct advantages, but it's really not down to what we think. Schedule a conversation with one of our developers and see for yourself. 

“The fact that you are hands on is an asset for us. I know our interests are being looked after with, which is important.”

Ethan C., CTO

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