Freelancer vs Agency: Who Should You Hire?
With every technology update and advancement, the world is coming in much closer and is bringing everybody together. For each and everything we see out there, there is a website or a mobile app related to it, be it a product or a service. The individuals or organizations working on these updates and advancements also need to be in sync with each other. In order to grow the business, they will need to put out more websites and mobile apps.
For these software developments, we need specialists to help us create the best possible product. If you need your car fixed, you go to a garage and get it fixed by the one who is an expert in cars. The same applies to the software development industry. You will have to find a professional you can trust with the design, development, and deployment of your software.
The important question is, how do you find the right fit at the right price? Would it be better to hire a freelancer to do multiple jobs or an agency with specialized skills?
Freelancers vs. Full-Service Agencies
Building a world-class website requires a team of experts with many areas of expertise. One person simply cannot do it all (or cannot excel in all areas). Why? Here is an example.
Would you hire just one person to build an entire house for you from the ground up: obtaining permits, architectural design, foundation, plumbing, electrical, roofing, painting and decorating? Can you imagine the finished home at the hand of one individual attempting to fulfill all these elements of construction? A world-class website, the kind of website that can actually achieve your business goals, is not a one-man job. It takes a small army of professionals, each with their specialty, working compatibly over an extended amount of time.
Step By Step Guide
- Successful business websites require business-minded project managers who can delegate projects effectively. They work with market research professionals who study the needs of your customers.
- Usability experts create user-centric experiences. Following this phase, art directors and designers transform these plans into effective designs.
- Coders and programmers convert designs into a functional website, which, in turn, is tested by quality assurance teams.
- Driving traffic to a website is the job of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimization (SMO) specialists.
- System administrators ensure the website is fully operational around the clock, and account executives manage client communications.
- Some projects may require additional services from photographers, illustrators, videographers, voice-over artists, post-production specialists, animators, data entry personnel, mobile marketers, IT strategists and security experts. The list of specialists grows depending on the complexity of the project.
If you hire a single individual to complete your entire project, it is likely they will have to outsource some of the tasks. If they focus strictly on cost-effective measures and cut corners on talent and resources, the unfavorable result will fall on your shoulders. You may find yourself managing efforts in an industry where you lack expertise.
Hiring an Agency
- Skills. An agency makes more effort at learning new skills. They constantly update themselves with new technologies and try to offer you the best possible tools for development.
- Consultation. Because you are working with a team here, you get tips and advice for almost every part of your project as the team will consist of people from different backgrounds with different expertise.
- Accountability. When you hire an agency, a project manager will be tasked to handle your freelancers. The project manager handles the team, tracks the hours, and provides feedback. It’s easier to go through a project manager who watches the team, than individually checking each freelancer. This gives you more time for other important things like client meetings. Also, you don’t have to worry about freelancers dropping your project. They can provide replacements if emergencies happen.
- More coordination. Handling one person can be extremely easy. But when there is a team that handles the whole project, you don’t need to worry about the coordination as the team will have different members assigned for different tasks and this is managed internally.
- Long-term work relationship. Finding the right team helps you take on more projects in the future. Since you already have a team with a set of special skills, you’ll be more confident to accept bigger projects.
Hiring a Freelancer
- Availability. Freelancers have flexible schedules. They are location independent and can work anywhere, as long as they have a strong internet connection. However, this can be a problem if you are in a different time zone from your freelancer. There might be times that he’s unavailable if you urgently need them.
- Work overload. A solo freelancer works for many clients. Sometimes, the tasks and deadlines pile up on his desk. This can affect the freelancer’s performance. The projects might be rushed and not properly done because they are too exhausted. This can bring less satisfying results.
- Looking for a replacement can be difficult. One of the common freelance hiring nightmares are workers who disappear or quit completely. Though a huge chunk of freelancers is reliable, emergencies happen sometimes. Certain factors and reasons can cause a freelancer to quit the project. You can hire a replacement in a breeze, but that means you need to go through step one again. Also, if the freelancer is already halfway in his work, it can be hard for the new freelancer to continue it.
- Managing multiple freelancers can be tough. If you need many specialists, you’ll need multiple freelancers. For example, if your project needs a writer, a coder, and a graphic designer, you need to hire three people. Handling them all at the same time can be a daunting task, especially if they live in different time zones.
- Less Control. When you work with an individual you will have to trust whatever information is provided to you. Sometimes the information given to you is outdated or not beneficial. But there is not much control over it.
- Confidentiality. Freelancers often don’t sign contracts. When there is no contract, there is also no non-disclosure agreement. Because of this, there are chances of your ideas and designs being leaked out.
Hiring an agency is advisable if:
- The project is complex and requires multiple work streams and phases to manage.
- Need multiple specialists.
- Tight deadline.
- You can’t manage multiple freelancers.
- You are always busy and can’t always keep up with the team.
So, should you hire an individual freelancer or an agency?