Should you hire a freelance web designer vs web agency?

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You want to hire a professional to build your website to successfully represent your company and help bring in more business. Should you hire a freelance web designer vs web agency to handle this aspect of your online presence?  

As you can imagine there are lots of pros and cons to both freelancer vs agency. Here are some benefits of hiring a freelancer:

Advantages and Pros of hiring a freelance web designer ?

  1. More affordableYou’re paying one person not a whole team for a web design job. Agencies have multiple web designers. OK, they are likely not to only have your design project on the go so you can argue it’s all relative. However, when work dries up they still have those regular salaries to pay. To ensure this they have to charge more from the get-go. It’s not just the web designers there are lots of other non-chargeable departments. This could be from admin., reception, directors… You’re one website needs one person. A Freelancer.
  2. Expert web designer – a freelancer does one thing and does it to a high quality. If you take me I decided to niche down and only make websites in WordPress and for eCommerce websites, I add the WooCommerce plugin. I know WordPress like the back of my hand. Not only does this save the client money because I’m not having to learn something new it means I can deliver a higher quality website in a shorter amount of time. 
  3. Freelancers depend on word of mouth and good testimonials. I make sure I over-deliver in every project and I aim for 100% satisfaction. Why? There’s no big agency name to hide behind. It’s me and reputation is everything. Getting you to suggest me to someone else and getting that referral keeps me going. An agency can just pour money into Facebook ads and their faceless so might not necessarily care as much about your project.
  4. It’s a personal 1:1 experience and we will develop a good relationship. So if it’s my name on the line, you guessed it. It’s just me. A one-man band. I’m the person you talk to when on the phone, the person designing your website and maintaining it. There isn’t a separate account manager who then has to take notes and pass them onto the developers.
  5. Freelancers get what it’s like to be a small business. My design niche caters well for individuals and when it comes to websites for businesses, only SME’s. You won’t be suggested or upsold on things you don’t need. Being budget-conscious means picking the easy wins to build a good website on a budget. I love search engine optimisation, SEO but not everyone needs it! It’s optional and that honesty is a big factor when picking a freelancer. 
  6. Flexible working ways a freelance web developer can change their working ways to suit their client instantly. You want to be involved in the development process, sure. You want to see more designs, great. 
  7. Flexible Location I get asked by clients where am I based and do web developers work from home? Yes, home-based! A freelance can work at home but they are not exclusive to this. It’s likely, if needed, they can work only when on your business premises using your machines if that is what you wish. Whatever suits the customers.
  8. Flexible Working Hours to suit. Doing freelance web design means you understand customers might have other work commitments. Maybe your website will be for a start-up and it’s in your business plan to keep working your 9-5. If that’s the case a freelancer is likely to take your call late evenings or at a time best for you.
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The pro’s of hiring a freelance web designer vs web agency are massive (not biased)

I hope the above list helps you understand a freelance web designer advantages. You can hire a freelancer using this website ? or Fiverr or Upwork.

Now I need to be unbiased and not just make it why you should choose a freelancer over an agency? So, as it pains me to say, freelancers might have a lot of advantages but here are some disadvantages: 

Disadvantages of hiring a Freelance website designer ?

  1. Limited skillset – need a website? Brilliant! Need someone to create your small business bank account, you’re on your own I’m afraid. That doesn’t fit in with the design skills. 
  2. Incapacity for very larger projects – if you’re project is so large it also requires the need for public relations, influencers, social media help, videography you shouldn’t hire one freelancer. However, hiring a freelancer who specialises in a specific area and ending up with a team of sole traders; might be better than one agency that just says yes to everything.
    1. Saying yes to everything is attractive. It makes the customer feel like they have a one-stop-shop for all your business needs. This is why clients choose digital agencies over a freelancer. However, let’s hope the agency can not deliver on all its promises.

So you now know the pros and cons of hiring a single person how about the advantages of hiring an agency vs a freelancer? A large company that specialises in digital marketing. Promoting your goods or services in the online world. 

Advantages of hiring a Development Agency ?

  1. Diverse Experience – development agencies have staff with different skill sets. This means they can offer additional services as they can write code in a wide variety of programming languages, write good content using a content specialist and have an in house graphic designer. 
  2. Multi-skilled team – which is brilliant if you require multiple design services. They will employ a large web development team, front-end developer, graphic designers, business coaching.
  3. The internal competition of the workplace can help boost creative work whether that is graphic design to coding.

Disadvantages of Working With a Web Design Agency ?

  1. Expensive primarily due to overheads. 
    1. The business premises the agency rents cost money, all those extra desks and furniture finishings needs to be factored into the prices of the sites they create.  
    2. The latest expensive computers and gadgets on the market. Whereas a freelancer has a good computer suitable for web design, I find agency staff need to have the latest products on their desk. You’re paying for their image. 
    3. Extra premium software. An agency needs project management software and other tools to manage its team. 
    4. Team-building events and regular team-building activities all cost. Enjoy paying for their paint-balling and their psychometric testing ?.
    5. VAT – The VAT threshold is a lot for one person but low for a team of people. Meaning they had to complete a VAT registration adding 20% to all their UK sold services. That means their prices are automatically a fifth more than they would be for an unregistered VAT freelancer. 
  2. Contract and fees – besides the above cost implications agencies are very clear about what is and what isn’t in the contract. If you do pick an agency I hope they are transparent with their web design prices before hiring them. Otherwise what might be a simple task might come with a hefty hourly rate.   
  3. Communication issues! “Too many cooks spoil the broth”. Imagine having to ring your design company (or fill in their contact form), talk to your account manager (who by the way will manage other web design projects). Having to tell your project manager what is wrong, they take note and feed it back to the developer who is busy with other jobs. You’re sat in a queue, waiting! This is when it hits you there are “too many coaches and not enough players!” 
  4. Outsource – At the risk of biting the hands which feed some freelancers a lot of agencies don’t do the work. You should view these types of agencies like lead generation/ sales companies. Once they get the designer requirements they turn to a freelancer. From here someone like myself makes the website and the agency white labels it. Meaning they simply put their name on it and charge you more money than if you went straight to the independent web designer. Cut the middle man out! 
  5. Not local – Ask yourself do local web designers matter to you? Do you want to bump into the people who made your website one day out and about? 

Freelance web designer vs web agency – which one will you hire?

I think it’s safe to say the following list can be applied to both freelancers and agencies. Regardless of who you pick make sure you do your due diligence. I feel like any company regardless of size may have these issues:

  • Reliability
  • Accountability
  • Meeting Deadlines
  • The attitude of ‘you get what you pay for’.
  • Busy with other priorities
  • Can go, never to be seen again

So as a business owner you should hire a freelancer or an agency? Well, if my freelancer point of view hasn’t scared you off why you should pick a freelancer over an agency my name is Simon Womersley and I am a freelance web designer. I work very hard for my customers and I want them to do exceedingly well. Please give contact me for a chat, click here to ring my phone ?, and see how I can help you.