There’s a saying in project management that you can’t have it all. Either the result of a project is
- Fast and cheap, but low quality
- Cheap and good, but slow
- Fast and good, but not cheap
SharePoint projects are no different.
Whether your project is a simple application or a more complicated business-wide document management system, the development process requires similar skillsets and high levels of experience if it is to be successful.
Cost Factors for SharePoint Specialists
When talking specifically about SharePoint, there are a number of different factors that contribute to the price that you will pay:
With large SharePoint projects, there are usually three options open to you when it comes to finding suitable resource. In order of overall hourly rate, those options are:
- Employing someone directly
- Using a contractor or freelancer
- Using a development company
Employing someone directly is often the cheapest option. Based on the average salary for a mid-weight SharePoint professional from accountancy firm ASFB, the cost per hour will be approximately £33.74 per hour including the various costs of employment such as pensions, holiday pay and national insurance – this equates to a day rate of about £270.
Contractor or freelancers can be more expensive although you will see a great deal of variance in their rates depending on their skillset and the amount of demand. According to IT Jobs Watch, the average day rate for a specialist SharePoint contractor in is above £50 to £375.
At first glance, the contractor is more expensive, however the major benefit of a freelance / contract relationship is that you only pay for the individual for as long as you need them, which can be more cost effective for specific projects.
Specialist development companies operate a similar model to contractors, you pay for the length of the engagement or agree flat fee for the project. In most cases the rates of quality SharePoint companies are in line with other professional services with rates around £750 per day for senior staff.
There is however an advantage of a development company over an individual freelancer, and that is the ability to draw on a wider range of skills and the level of accountability that can be gained through working with a larger organisation.
Perhaps the biggest factor contributing to the price you will pay to access an expert is the level of knowledge and experience that they possess.
While the average salary for a SharePoint specialist might be around £35k per year, a senior consultant or highly specialised developer could command a salary that is much higher – in some cases, more than twice as much, and they would also be able to expect a much bigger benefits package alongside this
Similarly, very experienced SharePoint specialists might charge far more than the average, in excess of £1,000 per day in some cases.
Most development companies will charge different rates for various members of the team involved in a project, but these will normally be averaged across personnel, making a development company cheaper than a high level contractor while still giving you access to the highest level of skills required.
The rate of SharePoint specialists does vary, sometimes considerably, across the UK, but the biggest differences in rates are international. You will often see adverts on Google where the hourly rate is £10-£15 per hour – on the surface, a massive discount compared to the rates charged by freelancers and contractors.
On India’s largest jobs website, Nakuri.com, there are more than 1,000 SharePoint developer roles advertised with an average salary that roughly converts to £5-7,500 p.a., less than 1/5th of rates advertised in the UK.
If you decide based on price alone, there is a massive temptation to use offshore development company. It’s possible to get four or five times as many people working on a project for the same fee you would pay in the UK.
That won’t necessarily mean that the project is completed four or five times faster, but it’s plausible that the duration of the project would be shorter.
However, there are major drawbacks with using offshore development team that compromise the success and stability of a project. Managing remote workers might be relatively simple with Teams and other Video conferencing tools, but there are always issues with time-zones to contend with, so changes to the specification may not be addressed quickly.
What Should You Pay for a SharePoint Specialist?
Going back to the start, you may want your project completing cheaply, quickly, and well, but you will only ever get two of the three.
Development companies offer benefits in terms of project management and consistency but they cost more. In-house resource may be more cost effective, but you have the internal management overheads and ongoing staff costs to manage as well as limiting your access to a single person – as is also the case with contractors. Using a single individual may lead to a skills gap that hampers project delivery and there is a risk that you end up with unsupported software when the contractor moves on.
There isn’t a single answer to what you should pay for a SharePoint specialist, it all depends on your needs and what the goals of your project are.
If you’d like to talk to us about how we approach projects in SharePoint, or find out more about our SharePoint Support service, please contact us today on 0203 697 0302