Should I hire an agency or freelancer?
Why Hire Me Over An Agency?
Ok, this is clearly going to be a bit of a one-sided argument as I am a freelancer and this is merely my experience on why you might consider me over hiring an agency.
Agencies have huge overhead costs to cover and more often than not you or your business will not get the attention you deserve. A lot of an agency’s time and effort is spent trying to make the work pipeline look good to investors or CEOs. So new clients looking to spend large amounts of money get the most attention and often are overpromised on work. Once that initial money is spent you will likely become a retainer client and communications will start to lull.
Agencies tend to be cost-prohibitive for individuals, smaller companies, and start-ups due to the initial cost. Most agencies will not take on new clients without the agreement of a large ongoing spend and this makes sense. The agency will spend a lot of time and money managing client communication as well as the technical and management side of the project. The benefit of coming to a freelancer is that they will give you a quote/estimate for smaller pieces of work and then you can get a feel for the working relationship without having to commit heavily upfront.
I do have to make money, but I will always do it in an ethical and responsible way. I like to think that the clients I take on are because we have a mutual interest in making their product or brand the best it can possibly be. As a freelancer, I have fewer overheads, so I can bring that saving into the work I am quoting.
Agencies have to rely on key members of staff to be happy and motivated for them to not leave. This is especially true for Account / Project Managers as well as Developers. Often work is passed over to various different people in agencies when staff leave and when no one is available it is often just outsourced. This can lead to a lot of inconsistencies and quirks in the finished product, there is no pointless middle management when you work directly with a freelancer.
I am self-motivated to protect my own brand and you will always deal with me directly. It’s a personal relationship, so essentially your success is my success.
You are selective about who you work with and so am I. I want my clients to be passionate about what they do. If you work with me, we will work hard to identify problems and improve upon them. We will have a basic understanding of professionalism.
- You can’t just drop by for a coffee and a chat anytime you feel like it, my meetings are pre-planned and structured
- I’m not going to bid for work, send some free concept ideas, or work for exposure, so please don’t ask
- I am not going to take you or your PR/Sales team out for food and drink and tell you how special you are
If you want these things then a freelancer isn’t for you, you want an agency.
An agency is a traditional business, so you have to work with them during traditional working hours. This is fine if you also work to that same schedule, but you may work on weekends or in the evening and need assistance. Like many freelancers, I set my own working schedule and that always fits around my client’s needs. In some cases, it is preferable to be working unsociable hours. A good example is when releasing new features to a website, I would never do that during the day during a busy period. That can be done late at night when the website is quiet and it can be launched without impacting the users. The same goes for seasonal changes, these tend to fall on a weekend and often need to be addressed urgently.
One issue with agencies can be the turnaround time to get jobs done with it needing to go through so many touchpoints. When your business needs to be reactive to situations, this can be frustrating as not everything can be planned days or weeks in advance.
I work directly with all my clients, so if they need anything on a fast turnaround they can contact me personally by phone or email. I do have a planned weekly workload but I always leave some time available each day to pick up urgent tasks from clients.
Agencies will often have a reliance on the underlying technology and once its popularity is gone, so are your agency. Taking a project to various agencies can be incredibly confusing because they will all push different technologies and essentially the best salesman will win your business.
I am completely unbiased toward technology and strategy, I will only suggest what I feel will be the most effective in terms of cost and scalability. My approach is always to compare the options that are out there and to explain the pros and cons of each solution.
Want to discuss a project?
Quick consultancy meetings I have had with clients saved them from throwing away thousands of pounds on services they didn’t need or weren’t the right fit for their business. If you want to discuss a project then please give me a call or get in contact using the form below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.