In these modern times, it is no question that most people spend a significant fraction of their time online.
Companies who wish to expand their customer base or widen their audience reach have long been exploiting the benefits of having their very own website. If you want your business to take off, it would be wise to take this tack. Today, the competition can be stiff–particularly in the online world. It is not enough to simply build a website and let it run its course on the internet. Being ahead of the race requires you to think of several moves ahead and have ingenious concepts. Creating a website for your business where visitors can come and know more about you is pivotal in staying ahead. Unfortunately, building a website is not easy, particularly if you are not well-versed with a good website’s comings and goings. Getting anywhere with your company often begins with a well-created and thought-out website. This goes beyond creating a visual design for your company, including SEO optimization, content creation, web applications, features relevant to your business, etc.
Luckily for you, a large pool of talent is available at your disposal, that all you need to do is choose. The problem now lies in whether choosing to go with a professional web agency or a local freelancer. Know that each has its respective pros and cons, which we will explore in this article. However, before we get into that, know that your final decision often hinges on a myriad of factors such as your budget, time-frame, or the services you need. Ultimately, what makes a professional stand out is not their designated label (freelance designer or design agency) but their work output—in any case, determining which of the two to hire can still be quite a challenge for entrepreneurs.
To make the decision-making process easier, below is a PROS and CONS list to make the decision-making process easier.
A. Pros and Cons of working with freelance web designers
Hiring freelancers is particularly enticing to entrepreneurs because of the low cost. Generally, the prevalent opinion among individuals in the industry is that hiring a freelancer will cost you less than working with a web agency. While this is mostly true, you should be aware that the cost depends on the services you need. If you are delegating a complex and massive project, you need to engage more than just one freelancer’s services. In the long run, this might not be so cost-effective.
However, if you are looking for something short-term, then hiring a freelancer is your best option as it will save you a lot of money.
2.) Competitive Prices
Today, there is a myriad of freelancers looking for a job online. Inevitably, this abundance of professionals tends to make the prices elastic. The web design niche might be highly competitive, but many individuals are still looking for their next project. As a result, you may be able to negotiate on the asking price. Moreover, the freelance market is teeming with talented freelancers looking to build their name and experience. These newbies would take up a project for a considerably low price compared to experienced freelancers or web design agencies.
If flexibility is important to you, then you should choose to work with freelancers. Unlike professionals employed by an agency, freelancers are not bounded by the working hours of a company, nor are they limited by an agency’s overheads. With that said, freelancers can work with you and even work at your place. More importantly, they have flexible working hours, which is great if you are working on a limited time-frame or wish to apply any urgent changes at a moment’s notice.
4.) Niche Specialization
More often than not, freelancers are freelancers because they have a focused specialization. Agencies do not require this often, which is why freelancers choose to offer their services freelances. So, suppose there is anything you particularly need to spice up in your website, such as animations, videography, or just unique illustrations. In that case, you can look for a freelance specialist who can do this for you.
5.) Personal Approach
A freelancer’s reputation often hinges on how well they work with clients and their performance on a project. As they do not run big PR campaigns, the only way they can sell themselves is through various feedbacks coming from previous clients and the ratings they are given on the labor market. As a result, freelancers are typically conscious about their reputation deeply, and they care about their clients. With that said, you can forge and maintain a very good relationship with them, which will significantly impact the final result.
1.) One Area Specialization
Typically, a freelancer would only specialize in one or two areas. It is quite rare to come across a freelancer who is a jack of all trades–a full-stack specialist, if you may. So, if you have a massive project that requires a myriad of services, hiring a single freelancer to deal with them all might not work so well. Sure, you might hire several other freelancers to complete different parts of your project, but that would also mean filling in the shoes of a project manager. This often means that you would need to connect several members of your project chain, which is more trouble than it is worth.
Bear in mind that freelancers typically work flexible working hours, which means they are not always available. It might be difficult to convey any urgent instructions or changes you need to apply when they are offline. The coordination process can be time-consuming and, more often than not, might require you to reschedule the terms of project completion.
Freelancers may care about their reputation but keep in mind that there are no actual commitments for them. Typically, freelancers charge you per day, and if your project is not worth it, there is always that window of possibility of them quitting in the middle of a project.
4.) One-man Team
Hiring a freelancer means entrusting your project to a single person. Should anything untoward happen to him, your project would also be at stake. Similarly, if your freelancer does not manage his time well, you run the risk of not meeting deadlines or having your project fail.
B. Pros and Cons of working with a web design agency
1.) Team Professionals
One of the most obvious reasons why hiring a design agency to build your website is that you have a team of professionals working on your project. Unlike employing a freelancer, hiring an agency means that all areas of your project would be covered. This means your web design and development needs, marketing, SEO optimization, and content creation are all accommodated. Plus, you do not need to manage all of this yourself. You can pop into their office or agency, have a price quoted for your project, and then they will do the rest.
2.) Ongoing Services
Your relationship with a freelancer is typically limited to the final project handover unless you wish to hire them again. Web design agencies, however, provide ongoing services, which include SEO and marketing services. These same services help your company run more effective campaigns that reel in more customers owing to the fact that web design agencies typically get to know your company better. As a result, you will have relevant and more convincing material.
Hiring an entire team based in a single building working on your project means better communication among team members. As a result, efficiency is guaranteed. That said, completing multiple tasks at one time is possible, which ensures smoother performance and faster results.
Unless newly established or a start-up, web design agencies have years of experience behind them. Experience is paramount if you wish to have a successful project. A freelancer may be an exceptional theorist and may know everything they need to know about SEO, programming, web design, and the like. But, if they have never applied it practically, it would all be for naught.
Experience has value that cannot be highlighted and overemphasized enough. So, if you wish to have an experienced team take the wheel for your project, you will fare better by hiring a web design agency. Web design agencies deal with several projects each day. That said, they are likely to be more equipped to handle various problems they might encounter and find solutions for them. Keep in mind that the level of experience is subjective, which means a freelance designer can be experienced as well. However, if experience depends on the number of orders done and completed, freelancers can hardly compete with a web design company.
Web agencies commit to bringing your project to completion. More often than not, they will meet your deadlines at any cost. This means that working with a web design agency reduces the chances of encountering unwanted surprises midway through the project.
Freelancers working alone cannot take up more than two or even three projects at a time. Moreover, building a quality website will take them longer than it would for a web design agency. The former relies on a single individual’s skills and talent, while the latter has a whole team at their disposal. As a result, web design agencies can complete projects much faster due to the number of specialists they employ. So, if you are pressed for time and wish to have a project completed in the shortest time possible, it is better to hire an agency’s services.
7.) Lack of Flexibility
Web design agencies have offices. Unfortunately, not all of them may be near you, which means that meetings between you and the agency should all be arranged and discussed prior to the scheduled time. Emergencies might be difficult to address immediately, but you can rely on the fact that you can contact the agency via web applications such as Facebook Messenger, Viber, Skype, or the like. However, your call may not always be addressed as web agencies have fixed working hours. This means that they cannot be reached on holidays and weekends.
Compared to hiring freelancers, web design agencies typically peddle their services at a significantly higher price point. This is because you are not only availing the services of one individual but of the team as a whole. Keep in mind that the price point depends on what your requirements are. For minor services, availing of the services of web design agencies might not be cost-effective. However, for massive and complex projects that require multiple areas covered, the quality-to-price ratio seems quite fair.
While the list above enumerates the various pros and cons of both hiring a web design agency or a freelancer, know that all of the statements depend on a myriad of factors. There is always a possibility of having an agency who would bungle up your project and a likelihood of running into a freelancer who can create you a fully-functional website in the shortest time. To be safe, it is recommended that you approach your choice reasonably and with a set of questions before having them hop on board for your project. Before arriving at any decision, determine what you need and take a gander at your budget and projected time frame. Similarly, it is advised to have a rough idea of the outcome you want.
Whatever you choose, keep in mind that neither of the two options is necessarily good or bad. Each of them has different merits and may be ideal for your project depending on the sort of services you require. The decision is up to you–weigh your options carefully.