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Case study

Using an Employer of Record to Hire Global Talent and Scale an Agency

Mawla case study

Mawla, a digital development agency headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, partnered with Boundless to employ senior technical talent around the world. The full-service model offered by Boundless covered all the important details, including  HR, compliance and tax. This allowed the Mawla team to focus on scaling its agency and supporting its clients.


After a few years of operating as CEO of his web agency in Dublin, Dan Malone was at a crossroads. Balancing project delivery, client management, and hands-on coding work was unsustainable. This work had burned him out while doing little to satisfy his desire to change how websites and apps are constructed. Dan believed that Mawla had much greater potential.

In 2020, Dan broadened the agency's model. Part of this effort involved identifying individuals with highly specialised technical skills. Since he anticipated difficulty finding the right level of expertise in Dublin or Ireland, he needed to broaden his search. Hiring from a global talent pool would enable Dan to construct a more diverse organisation, which was critical to him.

However, Dan had never employed international workers before. Establishing entities in the countries where he discovered talent was not feasible because he required people immediately. Employing them as contractors would significantly undermine Mawla's value proposition to them, and Dan was unwilling to take such a risk. Working with an Employer of Record (EOR) was the best option for him.

Confidence Through Full Transparency

Dan approached figuring out the EOR model and finding the best provider the way he would an engineering problem - meticulously, inquisitively, and thoroughly. "There is a steep learning curve in understanding how the model works and how the fees are structured," Dan says. He was familiar with Boundless but chose to conduct further research and speak with different individuals to identify the best solution for him and Mawla.

The first thing he discovered was how drastically different the fee structures were. "I looked at a few EOR providers, and some of their offers were almost suspiciously low," he says. By doing his homework, he realised that there were many hidden costs behind the temptingly small upfront fees some of those providers offered. Boundless, on the other hand, had a fully transparent fee structure, which was a percentage of the total processed payroll - no onboarding fees, no benefit consultation fees, no severance policy costs, or any other hidden costs Dan had heard about. "Having all costs upfront made it much easier for me to budget my expenses and not have any unwanted surprises halfway through an employment contract."

The Boundless app is reliably and consistently stable, and the costs for the service are more than reasonable.

In addition to understanding the EOR's fee structure, Dan needed to comprehend the local taxes and expenses associated with employing workers in various locations. Initially, the detailed country guides on the Boundless website aided him by clearly outlining the tax regimes and employer expenses. During one of his first discussions with Boundless, Dan was given a complete Dutch calculation simulation that outlined the payroll breakdown for him. "I felt fully prepared from the outset. That gave me confidence."

Move Fast Without Breaking Anything

Shortly after signing on with Boundless and advertising the new positions, Dan met promising candidates, including a senior front-end developer based in the Netherlands. The developer,  Arjen Scherff-de Water, ticked all the boxes and was very interested. However,  the Dutch developer had been employed at a well-established Dutch media agency for the past 14 years and was hesitant to leave unless he was confident about his new employer. Time was of the essence, as according to Dutch employment legislation, Arjen needed to give notice before September 1st for an October start, or otherwise, it would have been pushed to November.

"If I had done this myself, we probably would have sent a low-quality employment agreement that I would have handwritten. This would have given Arjen a bad first experience without exuding enough confidence in Mawla," Dan said. 

Having all costs upfront with Boundless made it much easier for me to budget my expenses and not have any unwanted surprises halfway through an employment contract.

Instead, Dan trusted Boundless to give Arjen the right experience. We invited Arjen to the platform allowing him to get a feel for the experience and review the employment contract with ease. An HR Compliance manager at Boundless went through the agreement with him and answered all of his questions.

Excellent Employee Experience

This gave Arjen the confidence to give notice even before the contract was signed. Arjen quickly settled into his new role and shipped an entire project by the end of 2021, which gave him a great deal of satisfaction.

A few months later, when Mawla needed a UI designer and front-end developer, Dan followed the same process, and soon after, Ben MacLaurin joined Mawla from Edinburgh, Scotland.

Low-Touch, Ever-Evolving Platform

Since first onboarding Arjen, Dan has spent very little time on the Boundless platform, and he likes it that way. "I like low-touch software that you just set up once and never have to log in again." With Boundless, Dan is notified once a month to review the payroll for the following month. After he does that, at a glance, the payroll is ready to be processed at the end of the month. 

Through the Boundless country guides and calculation simulations, I felt fully prepared and confident from the outset.

To him, the fact that all employees and countries are centralised within one platform is priceless. As a builder himself, he also appreciates that the platform is continually evolving with new countries and features, such as the flexi-benefits. "Working reliably and consistently is the app's job, which is stable, and the costs for that are more than reasonable."

Boundless in Three Words

Stability, Elasticity, and Dynamism, with Legitimate Reassurance.

Thanks, Dan ❤️

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