Some experts estimate that a “bad hire” or employee fails to prove effective in a position can cost a company more than a quarter of a million dollars. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh once estimated hires that didn’t work out had cost Zappos "well over $100 million." That is even more risky when you understand that 23 percent of small businesses fail because they claim they do not have the correct team, as of 2019.
Even with contract work, a business can waste a lot of time and money on a freelancer who fails to follow through or lacks competency with a specific skill.
There are 24 million self-employed people in the United States, as of 2019, and that number will likely be much higher after COVID-19. If you’re looking to hire freelancers in the world of tech, software, or programming, that cost can jump for large projects.
There are a lot of low-cost freelance platforms like Fiverr out there. But not every freelancer is the same. Gun.io claims to promote some of the best in the world of engineering and technical freelance work.
Is Gun.io worth it for hiring? We dove in and researched this platform to find out if it’s worth it to pull the trigger and hire Gun.io freelancers.
If you’re an entrepreneur who needs a technical or engineering freelancer, Gun.io aims to provide only the best, highest-quality contractors out there. So, read on to see if this platform lives up to its claims in our Gun.io review.
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An increasing number of workers are going the freelance route (up to 40 percent of the workforce in some sectors). Considering that, you’re likely to encounter a time when you need to hire a freelancer at some point for your business. That could be for anything from designing a logo art to recruiting software engineers to create an app for your company.
Hiring freelance engineering or technical contractors can be costly (more than many other types of contractors) and therefore more risky if you end up with a shotty deliverable.
For small startups hiring expensive technical freelancers, this can waste a significant amount of money when they don’t have a lot of resources to burn.
This is where Gun.io comes in to help your business. Rich Jones, Teja Yenamandra, and Tyler Newkirk started Gun.io, with headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, to help small companies find only top quality tech freelancers.
Gun.io vets its freelancers with a more extensive “interview” process. They do this to ensure you end up hiring someone who is not only capable of completing the project but who is also someone who takes their freelancing seriously.
While freelancing increases in the workforce, many freelancers still hold full-time jobs and work on side projects after hours. In most cases, a side project will not be a priority when competing with someone’s day job. Gun.io operates with a three-tier hiring process to ensure only the most competent and committed freelancers make it to your project.
Gun.io’s hiring process is based on the three principles of: find, test, and certify. In the initial stage of allowing talent to their platform, Gun.io filters prospective freelancers up to 90 percent based on the following criteria:
If the freelancer passes all of these examinations, they become part of Gun.io’s database.
The second part of the hiring process weeds out less committed freelancers from those who are self-motivated and work to build relationships while increasing their skills.
These freelancers get invited to partake in a private Gun.io Slack community where they share knowledge and engage with other contractors—a way for them to constantly increase their expertise for you.
This level is the top-tier of Gun.io talent must pass the first two “circles” of hiring. These are freelancers who are invited to join teams for projects that small businesses have quoted and post with Gun.io. First-time freelancers at this level will then work with experienced talent who already have a proven track record to coach, review, or work with the newer freelancer to ensure quality control.
Gun.io’s process of filtering the best talent is different from some platforms, where freelance workers can simply create a profile, post a portfolio, and apply to work on a project.
This working interview method goes a long way to ensure you get a freelancer who meets your standards. The goal is for companies to find pros they can communicate well with, who are serious about their work, and competent. The contractors will also have their work checked by another pro if they are newer to the system.
If you need quality talent that can work reliably, Gun.io’s method of vetting freelancers is superior to a simple platform where anyone can submit proposals for work. Some of the site’s most positive features are:
Most of the user reviews of Gun.io are glowingly positive, too. Much of the praise compliments the Gun.io team of freelancers on their hard-working attitudes, expertise, and quick turnaround on projects. There is no doubt that the vetting process goes a long way to ensure a vast pool of talented contractors on the site.
Naturally, there are always some drawbacks to any service or platform, and Gun.io has its negatives, too. One of the most significant complaints seems to be that of price.
After checking reviews, the biggest complaint is the price, which is a positive note when it comes to the quality of work. Several of the freelancers work from America, and those who work in the technical field often charge high rates when they have a lot of expertise.
You have to contact the company with your specific project to get a quote, and you won’t be paying a bargain rate with Gun.io.
In a rare complaint, the site’s customer service could have been better. Human error or poor communication is always a risk when dealing with people. This issue can happen on any platform, regardless of whether it’s cheap or pricey. So, you could still end up with a developer you aren’t happy with.
The saving grace is that Gun.io allows you to switch freelancers with their “no risk pivot” if you aren’t happy with the start of a project.
As mentioned earlier, Gun.io uses a quote structure for pricing. As Gun.io states, “Ultimately, the engineer you engage will have the best perspective to offer insight into the magnitude of your project. We price on an hourly basis, rather than project-based, to offer both you and your freelancer more flexibility.”
The freelancers set their own rates, so your price will depend a bit on which contractors you select. There isn’t one flat fee for someone to develop an app, because every app is different, and some projects will involve a lot more work than others.
Generally, when you’re hiring contractors for a technical project, a lot is riding on the work you have done. If you’re looking for someone to do coding work, develop an app for your company, build your front end, or work with something like Python, you need the best deliverable. Skimping on quality with these projects is not an option.
There is a reason many technical freelancers are expensive and will take up more of your budget than many things. If your company’s app doesn’t work, it’s as if part of your house’s foundation is sinking.
There is more built-in cost with Gun.io because of their extensive hiring process and, with many projects, the team structure. Overall, we like this on the platform because you’re more likely to end up with a thoroughly checked project, though. If you have the budget to spend a little more, having that extra quality control seems like a bonus to ensure your work is done the first time correctly and works as it should.
If your company has a tiny budget, Gun.io might not be the best fit. The cost could be too steep for a company just starting that needs to allocate funds to other areas.
However, for companies with enough room in the budget to pay for vetted technical freelancers, we like the platform and think Gun.io is worth a shot. If the first freelancer you get through the platform doesn’t seem to mesh with you well, you can utilize the company’s pivot feature and switch to a different freelancer to carry your project through.
We also find it reassuring that Gun.io has a refund guarantee, but hopefully, you won’t need it. The overwhelming response from users online is positive, and many returned to the platform to hire contractors more than once.
So, if you’re a business that has a budget to spend a bit to get quality deliverables and work with some of the best contractors, we say yes—Gun.io is worth it for hiring freelance technical talent.
Gun.io puts more effort into vetting their technical freelance contractors than most freelance sites. This makes their freelancers more dependable to tackle bigger projects.
If the idea of looking for contractors on cheaper platforms makes you cringe, Gun.io is undoubtedly worth checking out.
Spending a little extra to have a project done right the first time is often a smart decision. You could blow through thousands of dollars with a freelancer from another platform, only to struggle through communication, get slow responsiveness, and end up with a deliverable that fails to work correctly anyway.
If you’re a larger company, or your project is massive and will take a lot of time, the potential cost of a “bad freelancer” could move well into the thousands and up. Save yourself the headache of going too cheap and losing that money anyway. A quality hire, even in the form of a freelance contractor, is worth it almost every time.