Agency vs Freelancer – The Ultimate Decision Guide

October 10, 2019
Hiring-Agency vs Freelancer - The Ultimate Decision Guide

Agency vs. freelancer conundrum is not new. With easy accessibility of a large pool of talent, it is hard to decide who to choose for your company’s website design and development related projects.

When it comes down to working with an agency or freelancer, all of them have their merits and the decision will ultimately come down to your objectives and how you want to accomplish it. Nevertheless, the debate is complex and it can be a difficult decision to make.

To point you in the right direction, we’ll help you decide who you should hire for your forthcoming projects.

Freelancer

There are many freelancers out there you can hire to fill the gaps you may have in your current skills, staff or workload. Many people are advertising their skills on crowdsourcing websites like 99 Designs and Upwork. You can either post a project for freelancers to bid or directly search for the most suitable person for the job.

While freelancers are not suitable for every job or position, hiring them for the right ones comes with some advantages. For instance, if you have a one-time project that is taking up all your employees’ time, you can hire a freelancer to complete it so that your employees can carry on their day to day tasks. Or, if you have a project that requires specific expertise, you can hire a freelancer.

Agency

A typical agency includes copywriters who write customer-centric content, designers who will analyze what your target audience need and create effective designs, coders & programmers who convert designs into functional websites and SEO & SMO specialists who drive traffic to your website.

You can hire agencies for small projects like logo design, creating one-page websites and for full blown projects too. On the whole, an agency will help to grow your business completely and a website is just one part of that growth.

Factors Affecting the Choice of Hiring

We have evaluated some of the major factors you need to evaluate before you make a choice between a freelancer and agency.

1. Cost

Cost is the most important decision factor. Keep in mind that the cheapest solution is not always the best.

Agency

When you hire an agency, you will be either paying for every individual project or monthly. They work on a contract basis and cost more than a freelancer. But, they cost less than an in-house employee because you needn’t bear the overhead costs, taxes or any other cost associated with full-time teams.

Freelancers

Freelancers are certainly the option to go if you are looking for a more affordable option because they don’t share their salary with a team. It will save you money in the long run because you needn’t pay for new office spaces, onboarding sessions or even new tools.

2. Management

After figuring out how much money you decide to spend, you have to think about the control and management of the project.

Agency

It is the agencies job to manage, plan, make objectives, set goals and take care of the team. They will also provide you rapid solutions or alternatives if you project face any hindrance. You need not be involved in day-to-day activities or do any hand-holding. Additionally, they also deal with the maintenance of the projects. Basically, you will not be burdened with the hassle of managing the whole project.

Freelancer

Independence in the norm of freelancers. So, you needn’t spend your time overlooking their every move. However, freelancers are not managers. If they get sick or have to deal with any unexpected circumstances, you will have no control over the progress of the project. For example, if you want to hire an individual developer, you have to be ready to control everything by yourself including deadlines.

3. Expertise

Do you want to invest in some time in hiring good experts or want a handy short term solution? Expertise is one of the most crucial factors you must consider when making a decision.

Agency

When you hire an agency, you’ll get all types of solutions you need at any time. Even though the price is a little high, you will get exactly what you need. Plus, agencies attract highly skilled talent, so you will get a diverse set of capable and experienced professionals working in your project.

Additionally, agencies bounce around different clients, projects and industries. Therefore, they will have more insights into different industries, business models and projects.

Freelancer

Freelancers sell the skills they are good at. They often concentrate on a particular field and specialize in it. So, you can find someone to fit the exact project type you need. If you need to perform only one specific task, a freelancer is a great choice.

4. Quality of Results

Collaborating with people who deliver high-quality work is the most important factor to consider. This is also a major consideration.

Agency

Even though hiring a professional agency is expensive, you will get excellent value for money in terms of quality of results. Agencies always strive for a successful launch of a project even if it comes at a price.

Freelancers

Most of the freelancers have additional jobs. Your work is not the only thing that is bringing them cash. In fact, even agencies are guilty of this, but they can properly stick with the scope.
If you are working with a freelancer who is not passionate about quality output, the project will go over the scope and need multiple revisions. As a result, they will stop in the middle of the project or give you a generic output.

5. Legal Security

Finding talent for your project is enough work. There should not be any legal problems to slow down your project. Make sure to know how both of them differ before you make a choice.

Agency

Agencies are legal entities. They offer stable cooperation and desire to work legally. They’ll usually ask you to sign a contract which is a sign that they care about your rights.

Freelancers

Freelancers are generally the easiest when it comes to legal issues. You don’t have to pay additional taxes or go through lengthy contracts. With that said, a freelancer can easily disappear and you may have little legal resources to back you up. That is why you have to make a thorough background check before hiring a freelancer.

6. Communication

Do you want to have contact with a person who you can talk to anytime or do you want to communicate at the beginning and end of the project? Point of communication must also be considered when making your choice.

Agency

Agencies will have dedicated on-staff support. You will be assigned a project manager who will help the team to say on schedule and budget. They will be your point of contact if you have any questions about the progress of the project. Agencies also use project management software that freelancers may not have access to.

Freelancer

Freelancers are easy to communicate and may not set a time to reply to your emails. But then again, they can disappear. This is why it is important to hire freelancers from reliable sources.

7. Consultation

Do you want a proper explanation of why a strategy was formed or just need the work to be done? This is also another important factor you must consider when hiring.

Agency

Typically agencies have more resources. A team of creatives from an agency are teachers and will have more knowledge to offer. You will also get the ‘why’ and ‘how’ they came up with the plan and not just the work.

Freelancer

Freelancers are good at fulfilling a specific niche but, may not be good when you are looking for a creative push that will set you apart from the competition. You will not get many creative differences in your project with a single person’s vision.

Comparison of All the Pros and Cons of Hiring an Agency vs Freelancer

Here is a quick overview of the factors we’ve discussed.

Factors Agency Freelancer
Cost *** *****
Management ***** ***
Expertise ***** ***
Quality of results ***** ***
Legal security **** **
Communication ***** ***
Consultation ***** ***

Agency vs Freelancer - Which One is More Suitable?

Both freelancers and agencies have their own pros and cons. You need to choose an option that is in sync with your projects, requirements, goals and final results.

Freelancers are a better option if you are on a budget and looking for a specific work to be done.

Building a top-class website requires a team of experts who are experienced in many areas. One person cannot do it all or excel in all areas. For example, will you hire just one person to build an entire house from obtaining permits, architectural design, foundation, plumbing, electrical, painting and decorating? Obviously, no. A top-class website will actually help you achieve your business goals. So it is certainly not a one-man job. It takes a group of professionals who are experienced in their area of specialty.

With agencies, you have access to more experts, knowledge, and skills. And if you find the right team, you can take on more projects in the future and build a long-term work relationship. Plus, you will have more confidence in accepting bigger projects because you already have a team with a special set of skills.

Our recommendations? Save yourself the headache and hire an agency. They will take care of everything for you. The slight additional investment today will save you thousands in the future.

If you need to talk to a full service digital agency for any help, don’t hesitate to contact our team at ColorWhistle.

Who will you hire for your next project? A freelancer or an agency? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

About the Author - Anjana

I’m a full-time Copywriter at ColorWhistle managing content-related projects. I also write about website technologies, digital marketing and industries such as travel. Plus, I have an unhealthy addiction towards online marketing, watching crime shows and chocolates. Mmmmm…chocolates!

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