Freelance Web Designer, Leeds. Need a website? Call Abi (0113) 279 7731 / (0781) 805 8158
LEEDS: (0113) 279 7731 MOB: (0781) 805 8158

Web design agency versus freelancer?

What are the pros and cons of using a freelance web designer as opposed to a web design agency? A question heavily debated and frequently asked!

Choosing the right person or team to build your website or even brand is vital, so you need to be sure you’re making the right choice.

Ultimately there are benefits and disadvantages of employing either. So, to help your decision, I have highlighted some of the pros and cons of working with freelancers and web design agencies.

Employing a Freelance Web Designer

PROS:

Specialist: They are often an expert in a specific area but also due to the nature of being a freelancer have picked up a multitude of skills in complimentary areas too! For example they may have worked previously for a company specifically as a designer, but since becoming a freelancer have had to gain extra skills in SEO and Web Development in order to be competitive.  In essence you can find a freelancer who has specialist skills in the particular area you require, but that is also able to advise on related services.

Contacts: A freelancer often has a little (or large) book of contacts who they can call upon to help with projects. Not having to employ these people keeps costs down. Often graphic designers and web designers and copywriters work together on projects using their area of expertise when required.

Cost: Working with a freelancer is cheaper than working with a web design agency. If you are just looking for one particular service or the project is small scale, then it is usually cheaper to work with a freelancer. Obviously working with a freelancer poses a lower cost option. Freelancers are often cheaper than web design agencies due to the high competition for work from other freelancers, you may find that you can get a cheaper deal.

Flexibility: Due to the fact that a freelancer isn’t burdened with overheads, this means that they are flexible to travel to client’s locations. Although in many cases this isn’t necessary as the internet has made the world smaller, so working with freelancers outside your area is far easier with messenger, mobiles, skype and the rest! Freelancers can work outside normal office hours and irregular time scales to cater for needs and priorities too.

CONS:

Inconvenient: If the project isn’t scoped thoroughly then mid project changes can affect deadlines since the freelancer is juggling many projects on their own often with no help to call upon. This sort of inconvenience means that projects and tasks are harder to complete and therefore they take longer, which can cause problems when a deadline is looming.

Reliability: There have been some incidents where freelancers have disappeared mid project and the project stalls. Perhaps a holiday with no cover, a family health issue or a health issue with themselves. For longer, larger projects delays can result.

Outsourcing: When freelancers outsource their work to other freelancers this can affect the consistency and quality of a project and can cause delays due to the chain of projects multiple freelancers are working on. Projects that are completed by a team who work together in close proximity come out noticeably better in the end.

Employing a Web Design Agency

PROS:

Multiple Specialisms:  Web design agencies consist of teams of specialists that cover many areas of web design and development, e-commerce, SEO, graphic design etc. This means that all of your design and marketing needs are catered for by the same team in the same office.

Ongoing service: You will receive an ongoing service, whereas with many freelancers the working relationship ends with the handover. Although this isn’t always the case, the point is, even with a continued relationship with a freelancer work will have to be scheduled into their diary. Freelancers book up weeks even months in advance to keep the work coming in and might not be able to squeeze and urgent job in for you. A design agency has more staff to juggle and can usually offer immediate ongoing service.

Software: As a larger business design agencies invest in more up to date software and people with multiple software skill sets. Broader range to software licenses, and with all this comes more possibilities for your website.

Efficiency: Working with a team that are all based in the same building has its benefits in reducing timescales and meeting deadlines.

Experience: Finally and most importantly is experience which in the end translates into overall quality and success of a project.  If you want an exceptionally brilliant website but you have no pressing deadlines then a freelancer is a great choice. On the other hand if you are pressed by time then you may want to consider an agency.

CONS:

Cost: Web design agencies are noticeably more expensive to work with than freelancers. If you are only looking for one particular service then you may find a web design agency a bit steep for your budget.

Reliability: While on the whole design agencies may well be classed as more reliable since they have offices and a team of people, this may not always be the case. For smaller projects design agencies often farm out work …. to freelancers, like ME! Yes, I complete small to medium projects for design agencies on a regular basis. Therefore, if there is an implied reliability issue with freelancers this can also apply to using a design agency for smaller projects.

Flexibility: Web design agencies are usually based in their own studio which is obviously off the client’s site. This means that any form of meeting between the client and the web design agency needs to be arranged in advance and due to the volume of clients and agency has they may not be able to respond to calls immediately, whereas a freelancer is often willing to speak at 8pm at night to suit your working hours. Agencies usually operate a 9-5 hours system so you may struggle to arrange a convenient meeting time.

Conclusion

When it comes down to it the choice of freelancer or web design agency is one that is fitted to the dynamics of the client concerned. Things that need to be taken into account is the size of the client’s business, their requirements and services that they require.

For small businesses or start ups then Freelancers are often the best choice as ultimately it boils down to budget. Larger businesses on the other hand my have far greater requirements and a Freelancer may struggle to deliver to deadlines and expectations.

 

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