Agency Vs. Freelancer: A Helpful Guide
A Helpful Guide to Deciding to Between an Agency and a Freelancer
When it comes down to it, deciding between a freelancer and an agency depends on what you want out of your experience. You should decide based on how you want your project to go and what things you care a lot about and what things you care a little less about.
The thing we hear a lot is, “I don’t even know what I don’t know.” To help you out, we’re sharing a few of the major considerations when it comes to a website design and from there, what your best option is in terms of hiring a freelancer versus an agency.
Do you care about…
Having a “team” working on your project?
When it comes to website design, there are numerous moving parts - the design, management of the account, the development, the SEO, the ongoing marketing, and the strategy… There's a lot that goes into website design and development. When you work with an agency, you’re getting a wealth of knowledge where each person was hired to do a specific job at a very high level of skill.
Some freelancers have a wide range of skills, but with an agency, you’re likely to get a team that has dedicated team members who have mastered skills in each area of your project.
Creative Digest explains the benefits of having a team over a freelancer well: “Another obvious disadvantage of working with freelancers is that, well, they’re only one person. No matter how dedicated and hard-working there are, they cannot handle multiple aspects of your digital marketing strategy.”
What platform your website is on?
You may or may not have experience with different website platforms, but there are tons out there to choose from that all have different capabilities. There are Content Management Systems (called CMS) like Wordpress, FusionCMS, Drupal, and many more. If you sell things on your website, there’s another layer of including an eCommerce engine like Shopify, BigCommerce, or Magento.
If you have a platform picked out, then the most important thing is finding either an agency or freelancer who can work on said platform. Some freelancers are experts in specific platforms and work on nothing but one type, giving you someone with lots of experience.
If you aren’t sure what platform you want, then this is where the guidance of an experienced web design agency may be beneficial. Their range of experience with different platforms can help you figure out what platform will work best for your business.
Ongoing support and hosting?
If you are hoping to have someone to call whenever you have a question, want a change, or need support, then consider an agency with a support team built-in. A freelancer may be less likely to be available for ongoing support, while most agencies have developers and team members dedicated to working on support.
Having in-person meetings?
This goes for both agencies and freelancers - if you want to have in-person meetings you’ll need to consider the locality of who you’re speaking with. If you want the experience of meeting in an office space where you can meet the team and see where everyone is working, you’re going to be better off with an agency. If you’re okay meeting at a coffee shop or in a home office, then a freelancer will do the trick.
A consistent overall strategy?
If you’re looking to have design work, a website build, and ongoing marketing all in one place, you’re going to get more consistency when working with an agency. If you’re looking to create a consistent digital marketing strategy that includes design, ongoing consultation, and management, then an agency is more likely to be able to handle every aspect of your marketing strategy, all in one place, keeping it consistent.
That being said, you can hire multiple freelancers to do the work of an agency, but keep in mind that you’ll then be acting as your own account manager and have to do the work of making sure every aspect is cohesive and consistent.
When you work with an agency, you can feel a sense of comfort in knowing that you’re working with a place who has a process, team, resources, and standard best practices. There’s usually a regulated workflow when it comes to agencies so the timeline and cost can tend to be a bit more predictable throughout the process.
Although some freelancers are fantastic and extremely reliable, we tend to hear about freelance developers that disappeared in the middle of a project, created something custom that can’t be worked on by other developers, or made a promise about a skill they didn’t truly have and ended up costing more money or not being able to deliver.
The overhead cost of working with an agency is probably going to end up being more than if you work directly with a freelancer. Freelancers tend to be cheaper, especially considering the fact that you’re paying one person instead of a team.
That being said, it is important to consider your digital marketing as an investment. If you’re willing to pay more for an agency, you’re gaining the consistency, reliability and ongoing support that can prove to be a worthwhile investment for your business.
So who should you hire?
There’s no one size fits all answer to the question: should my business hire an agency or freelancer? Take the above into consideration and decide on what matters most to your business. If you have a limited budget and want a small part of your marketing worked on, then consider a freelancer. If you want a more holistic approach to your entire digital marketing strategy, then an agency can help provide some more aggressive growth to your business. Ready to start with an award-winning agency? We'd love to help use our expertise to grow your business. You can contact us through our contact form or give us a call at 206.384.4909.