When starting a new business or side project there are so many questions and things to consider before even getting started. You know you need at least a logo and a website, so you perform a simple Google search. This brings up an overwhelming amount of results. Even more decisions. “Who should I go with?” and “Should I hire a freelance designer or a design agency?” are common questions that many entrepreneurs ask.
In this post I’ll discuss the benefits and disadvantages of both types of service providers, to help you decide which is more suited to you and your needs.
Benefits of Hiring a Freelance Designer
With lower overhead costs due to working from a home office, a freelancer can charge less for our services than an agency would. From time to time a freelance designer may bring in an outside contractor for a specific task, but unlike an agency or design studio, we don’t have multiple employees to pay each month, so can keep the costs down.
Communication and Relationship
When working with someone, building and maintaining a relationship can lead to more successful outcomes. When you work with a freelancer, you know who you’re talking to, who to call for questions or concerns, etc. Working with a freelance designer means having to deal with just one person, unlike an agency or studio who often have different people handling certain tasks.
For me, building positive, helpful, and valuable relationships with each of my clients is important.
If you like the work and style of a freelance designer, you know what you’ll get. Additionally, working with a freelance designer allows you to be more involved in the design process.
Most freelancers work more flexible hours, so are likely to respond to emails outside usual working hours if necessary. If you need something urgently at 7pm for example, you won’t need to wait for an agency to open the following day.
Cons of Hiring a Freelance Designer
Capacity and Availability
Unlike an agency with multiple employees, a freelancer is limited in our scope of work and how many clients we can take on. Sometimes this means a waiting list or having to go somewhere else. My work ethic motivates me to give my best to every client and project. I don’t believe in just taking on clients and rushing through jobs. Quality is more important than quantity.
Due to only being one person, if the freelance designer has an emergency or is unable to work for a few days your project may be put on hold until they get back.
Benefits of Hiring a Design Agency
Agencies often have more resources for complex projects. They have different departments for handling the services they provide, so experience is a big benefit to working with an agency.
An agency has more employees, so can take on bigger projects and a higher volume of clients.
Cons of Hiring a Design Agency
The fees for their services can be quite expensive due to large overheads and expenses.
Due to there being multiple employees, it can be frustrating when you can’t figure out who to approach for various aspects of your project. You won’t always be speaking to the same person, so it can be difficult to develop a working relationship.
Every designer has a unique style. When hiring an agency it can be difficult to know how the final product will look, as there will probably be more than one designer working at the agency, all with a different style and process.
Conclusion: Freelance Designer or Design Agency?
If you’re a large company and looking to re-brand or have a project of a large scope, an agency may be the best choice for you. However, if you’re a start-up or small business owner, a freelance designer is ideal.
Finally, when deciding on whether to hire a freelance designer or agency, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Most importantly, do some research. It’s not just a case of hiring the first designer or agency you see. You need to determine whether it’s right for right for your needs. Have a look through their portfolio’s and see which style you prefer. Don’t just look at price. Keep quality in mind as well when deciding.