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Need advice: How to choose a Magento development firm

Need advice: How to choose a Magento development firm

Our company's website has been running on Magento 1 for a few years now, and we anticipate converting to M2 beginning soon. But we also want to switch to a different development company, and we have basically two questions to pose. The first relates to cost and productivity: So far, we've been quoted developer rates from $100/hr to $180/hr. We realize the key issue isn't the hourly rate, but the amount of work (and its quality) per dollar. So the question on this point is: Within the Magento development community, does one company's work truly justify charging 1.8X more per hour than others charge? We do believe in spending what it costs to get quality, but we can't afford to spend $1.80 for what could be bought for $1.30 or $1.00 elsewhere. We will be looking for an established company with a several-person staff, so while I realize that fledgling developers are inexperienced and less productive, I'm asking for insights about the comparative productivity of NON-feldgling developers (and the firms they work within). I hope a few of you have one type of background or another that will allow you to provide some insight. Our own company has no basis for comparison, and this is a big decision that we must make soon, so any thoughts would be appreciated. 


The second part of my question is simply to ask for broader advice on how to make this selection--your thoughts on any aspect or resources beyond my initial "productivity-per-dollar" question.


Lastly, I don't know that the reason for our desire to switch companies is necessarily relevant, but in case anyone wonders, that reason is NOT the hourly rate of our current developer.


Thanks for even reading this longish question! Any help will be greatly appreciated.


Re: Need advice: How to choose a Magento development firm

Hi RedBrix


I can offer an agency perspective on this. We do a lot of Magento work, as well as Shopify and BigCommerce. 



Magento web development, like most services, is very much a case of "getting what you pay for"


It is typical of a more expensive agency's work will include:


  • Tech oversite from senior/Magento certified developers
  • Work delivered inline with Magento best practice 
  • Robust QA processes  
  • Technical documentation 
  • Tech leads dedicated to scoping projects prior to delivery 
  • Advanced version control processes 
  • Backups
  • Strategic consultancy / road-mapping / planning / account management


Much of the above happen behind the scenes - an agency keeps this all running with highly skilled tech leads, developers, project managers, and account managers and therefore the hourly rate will be higher. 


Because its more expensive to deliver this service - a good partner with the right people will always cost more.


A partner that can deliver the above is critical if you are building a new site - even if the website costs 10-20k more it will save you money in the long run. A poorly built Magento site will attract expensive support costs.


You can increase your chances of choosing a quality partner by:


  • Sending an RFP that briefs the agency on what feature you need, a good agency should address this requirement directly, not simply throw an arbitrary dollar amount at it. A good partner will want to invest in you before they expect you to invest in them. 
  • Ask for references and examples for their work. 
  • Ask if their developers are Magento certified.
  • Ask where their development work is done, offshore? 
  • Inquire about how many Magento 2 projects they have delivered 


Just to note that my comments are general in nature - I can say that some freelance Magento developers or small agencies will deliver great work for less. However, established larger teams will generally do a better job.