When it comes to bringing no-code into a workplace, one popular route is to enlist some external help, either via a no-code development agency or a freelancer. Here’s what you need to know.
Once an organisation has made the call to adopt no-code and empower more employees, there’s a choice to make. Either embark on the route of building the apps needed in-house, and create that function within, or look outside the business. That could either be via a no-code agency, a freelancer, or through whichever no-code platform has been selected as part of the deal.
This might make sense for a number of reasons:
You lack the expertise in-house to build something quickly. Obviously you’re tapping into verified knowhow, with people who have extensive experience working with different tools, platforms and best practices. Essentially, they know their stuff and should be able to build something functional, effective and scalable for an organisation. One common route to take is to have an agency build the app, but then for the business to maintain it themselves. Eg, you might have a specialist agency build a cracking website on Webflow because they have capabilities that you don’t, but you’re left able to change or update it in-house. So you have a library of UX components or features for stuff you can create in the future.
You’re looking for a cheaper route than hiring traditional developers. No-code agencies are traditionally cheaper than normal development agencies. Plus, they come with much more visibility into how the app build is progressing and whether the app you want is actually being built. It’s pretty typical for traditional development builds to take longer than anticipated and for costs to spiral. When you’re on a budget, that stuff is crucial.
You need to focus on the core competencies of the business. It might be that you simply lack the resources and manpower to commit to building with no-code or to hiring/training employees. You might need to keep the whole team focused on those key business functions that are more likely going to generate that lovely, lovely revenue.
You want support in implementing and adopting. We’ve covered some of the ins and outs of setting up a training programme and centre of excellence yourself, but clearly a big benefit of using a no-code agency is the guidance you’ll get. Lots of agencies provide the training, workshops and support needed to help employees get up to speed and feeling good about using a no-code platform. It reduces the learning curve and means the organisation is likely to produce effective digital solutions faster.
You want ongoing maintenance and support. Once the no-code app(s) is built, it will require ongoing maintenance, upgrades and support. Outsourcing that to an agency means an org doesn’t need to worry about that in-house. They handle bug fixes, updates and changes.
How to outsource a no-code app build
1. Define the scope of the project
What do you need your app to do? What features are required? What are the user requirements? Are there certain components you want to have? What about data security demands? This is about bringing a clear and considered vision of the app you need so that whoever you’re working with can understand what you want and can build it effectively. It also helps when it comes to estimating the cost of the project – you don’t want costs spiralling out of control.
2. Decide the no-code platform that’s right for you
You can go to an agency and ask them for guidance and advice on what platforms might work for you. But you’re never going to know if that’s the right solution and if the people in your organisation will actually be comfortable using that platform. That means you need to find the right platform you need first and get some familiarity with it.
3. Think about how it’ll integrate with your current infrastructure
Before you speak to anyone, you’ll need to identify the current apps and systems you have that will need to be integrated with the no-code platform. The agency needs a good firm grip on the technical requirements.
4. Think about what support you’ll need after the app is built
Once the app is built, what level of control will you have over it? Will it be something that’s handed over, which you’ll then need to maintain and tweak, or will you be looking for ongoing support and input?
5. Decide if you’ll go for an agency or a freelancer
There are pros and cons to both routes. Essentially, agencies are always likely to be more expensive but you’ll likely get a higher quality build due to the different expertise that’s within the agency itself. And if you have complex needs or demands, you might get input from a designer, or a coder. It’s hard to find a freelancer who does all of that well. However, freelancers can be easier to work with in general – and they’re more likely to approach a project like a labour of love, rather than one of 100 projects they’re currently working on.
6. Find out if the platform you’ve chosen has an experts programme
Plenty of the major no-code platforms (like Webflow, Bubble and Glide), have some type of experts programme. These are freelancers or agencies who have been vetted and certified by the platform itself as being legit and creators of high-quality app builds. You do pay a slight premium for this, but it’s normally a premium worth paying.
7. Look in the right places
If you don’t opt for the expert programme route, there are a couple of places to find agencies or freelancers. There are some specialised no-code talent platforms that we’d certainly recommend, like codemap.io and heep.so. Then there are the usual places like search engines or platforms like Upwork and Fiverr – although these obviously lack the oversight you might want.
8. Check over any past work and their track record
Once you’ve found some potential agencies and freelancers and have made contact, it’s time to do some due diligence. You need to take a thorough look at their portfolio of work and the apps they’ve previously built for other companies to find out if their work is up to standard – and if they’re able to create the kind of thing you’re looking for.
9. Think about the handover
Presuming that your app is built on time and on budget, the handover is the next step and preparation is key. By this point, you should have already learnt about the platform in question and have a pretty good idea of what’s going on. But you still need to get to grips with the app that’s been built. It’s a bit like moving into a newly built house – you ought to be walked through it from start to finish. And like a house, there will be things that don’t work quite as expected.
You’ll want to get a video-recorded tour through the app and be shown how each button works, and where the data sits. The good thing is that with no-code, you can be shown how things visually link.
There are definitely a few reasons why an organisation might look to an agency or freelancer. But you can’t turn up empty-handed and without a detailed scope for the app you need to build. Putting in the necessary prep beforehand – and finding the right no-code platform for your requirements – means that when you do find appropriate help, you can make a considered judgement on whether they’re the right fit.