A million dollar question no doubt but you should know the answer or at least have some idea after reading below. If you answer them according to your website requirements then you can quickly arrive at what’s best for you and your website.
What is the nature of your website?
If you website is of a sensitive nature and you believe that you cannot take chances with respect to the code or the data then you should not outsource the project to a freelancer. The local company would be your best choice in this regard. The local company would be easily available and they would abide by the laws of your country as they would be based in the same country as you. As the freelancer would be based in a remote location and not a resident of your country he is not bound by the laws of your country so if any thing goes wrong you can’t do anything. The freelancer would be the best option for your website project if it is not of sensitive nature.
Do you have the budget?
The amount you have to invest on your website also dictates whether the website is to be given to a freelancer or not. If you are one of those clients who have a lot of money to invest then you can hire a local company at $60/hour or more and your budget can easily go over thousands of dollars. For example local companies may charge over $5000 for a small to medium e-commerce website. If the same website was to be designed and developed by a freelancer then the total cost may not go above $500 (depending upon the freelancer) so you can see the price difference and the savings that can be had. If you have a limited budget then the freelancer should be your best bet.
Looking for reliability?
Suppose you have outsourced your project and you want to know what is the progress. What would be suitable for you? Call your local company on their land line phone and talk to them about your project so you can see how much work has been done and what is left or email/Skype chat with your freelancer to see what has been done up till now. Again it depends on the nature of your website. If you are one of those control freaks (meant in a nice way :)) then you would most probably want to outsource your website to a local company where you could go and sit through a presentation to know what is happening with your website. However freelancers nowadays are available on phone, Skype, Google chat etc. Freelancers have even purchased local land line numbers and when you call those numbers you will be routed to their number. This is the day and age of the smart phone where you can call anyone located anywhere in the world at any time.
Are they available?
Freelancers are generally available 7 days a week where as local companies enjoy the same number of gazetted holidays which are available in your country. Moreover they will only be available during the 9-5 time and not before or after that where as you can contact freelancers at any time (except for night time of course). Do check where your freelancer is located and what are his work timings so you know when to contact him.
Hopefully the aforementioned points would help you to know who you should outsource your website. Comments?