With the incredibly large talent pool and available content management tools, it may be tough to decide whether you should hire a freelancer or an agency to create a website for your company. And the options are quite overwhelming indeed: you may choose anything between a downtown web design agency, an overseas developer, a freelancer from a nearby building, or even a friend who claims to be a WordPress wizard.
Every option has its benefits. We are going to make a brief, but an information-packed overview of the pros and cons of hiring freelance web designers versus web design agencies. It’s all further in the article, so keep reading.
Hiring a Web Design Agency
- Higher credibility. Web design agencies have to take care of their reputation in their respective community that involves their industry peers. They are often reviewed online in company lists, which makes them accountable for the work they do. There are sites, like Yelp that aggregate company reviews, Google also has a review option, and even Facebook features reviews on company pages. Hiring a web design agency that has lots of positive feedback from happy customers is a guarantee of quality work;
- Diversified experience. Web design companies have unusually multi-faceted teams that include designers, developers, and copywriters all working under one flag. In other words, you don’t need to think about hiring people from different places to put your website together. Moreover, these agency specialists usually have many years of experience under their belts, so they’re not just talented, but established professionals as well. Also, web design agencies often have connections with specialists from other fields, such as photographers, print houses, social media marketers, and others, who can help with follow-up or simultaneous services to secure your brand’s successful online presence;
- Access to professional resources. Web design companies frequently feature higher budgets for project resources. That is, they can access better design materials and technology. Some even develop their content management systems to boost the design process and provide better website support. Plus, web design agencies often have their secure servers to host their clients’ websites.
- Personalized support. Web design agencies have larger teams working on support. When you hire an agency, it assigns a project manager to you – that person will help you and the web design team to stay on track and meet both the budget and timeline. The project manager will be the contact person between you and the agency if you have any questions regarding your project.
- Higher cost. Web design agencies have teams with multiple members, so their rates tend to be higher than those of freelance designers. Their design process also involves a more thorough audience and market research. But, on the bright side, design companies do offer various service packages to their customers to address different budget capabilities;
- Bureaucracy. Great teams and various specialties require a particular hierarchy. That is not always as convenient as you’d want it to be. But, project managers usually do their best to convey all the concerns, questions, and suggestions clients might have to the team working on their websites.
Hiring a Freelance Web Designer
- Lower cost. Freelance designers set their tariffs and are generally more flexible with them. Since they work individually, they don’t need to think about paying salaries to their teams and only focus on the literal website design. But, freelancers usually charge on an hourly basis, so you might end up paying more than you expected when the project comes to fruition;
- Narrower specialization. Many freelance designers have a very specialized set of skills. That is, one can be a perfect fit if you have a particular feature you want to add to your website. A large project will most probably require an agency;
- Deeper involvement. You have a higher chance for deeper participation in the creative process when hiring a freelance web designer. Since agencies usually have multiple layers of client work approval, you don’t get to see what’s going on at every step, even when you get regular updates on the process. When you work with a freelancer, there’s no one else involvedexcept the two of you.
- Less labor force. Freelance designers don’t have teams supporting their work. You only work with one person and depend on their schedule. At the same time, agencies set up a deadline and take care of all the different aspects of your website. Website design requires more than one person to complete successfully, so considering narrow specialization among freelancers, you’d need more than one of them to create a quality site for you;
- Slow turnabout. Regularly, freelancers work on multiple projects at the same time, and the chances are high that you won’t be able to get a hold of your contractor when you need them. They can be too busy to reply, and there will be no project manager to convey your message to them ASAP;
- Poorer accountability. You don’t see many public freelancer reviews on the web. There are freelance platforms, where you can see their project history within a given framework. As for the experience outside those platforms – it’s an Area X, and no one knows what’s happening there. If you request any contacts from their former clients, they will only provide you with those that have had a positive experience with them. So, it’s pretty one-sided. In other words, the only way you can make sure that you hire a reliable freelancer is by joining a freelance platform, like UpWork or Guru, but get ready for additional service fees.
- Managing issues. If you work with more than one freelancer on one project, you will have trouble coordinating them. For all you know, they can be located anywhere in the world in different time zones. And when you have a designer, front-end developer, back-end developer, and a copywriter working on the same project, it may get hectic. These people aren’t one team, but rather just a bunch of mercenaries, trying to hit the jackpot and move on to another project. More time and money is only one of the many unwanted consequences.
So, What Do We Have in the End?
It’s better to hire a web design agency when you need to create a website. Design companies take care of so many seemingly unrelated components that their work looks seamless while involving professionals from diametrically different niches.
If you decide to work with freelancers, get ready to hire different people for each of the website’s components: coding, designing, and writing at the very least. Managing a band of freelancers may be very difficult since you have to cope with each of their schedules and have no idea how they will blend working on one project. The established roles and duties in the web design agency make the process smooth and efficient, as these people know how their company works and they are all in the same boat.
Since freelancers aren’t as accountable as agencies, you may run into huge costs and poor results. In contrast, market experts regularly review agencies, and they have to withhold a high bar to maintain a good reputation.
By all means, if you need a professionally executed website that will provide your audience with a great experience and boost your sales, it’s best to hire an agency and save the headache.