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Should you choose a freelance team over a digital agency?

If you are a project manager, or you are responsible for finding talent for the company that you work for, you may be tempted to turn to large digital agencies for your project. Sometimes, though, it makes more sense to choose a freelance team over a digital agency.

Looking to a large agency is a perfectly natural response and it does make a certain amount of sense: established reputation, larger teams to work on your project, etc.

The trouble is that the two reliability signals mentioned above are largely perception based. Reviews can be faked, for example, leading to false signals in terms of reliability and professionalism. When choosing a freelance team over a digital agency, you are more likely to head for a freelance network such as PeoplePerHour.

Reputation signals here, such as reviews and ranking, are near impossible to spoof which makes them much more reliable and trustworthy. If the numbers say a freelance team is of very high quality, you can take that to the bank.

Of course, an established reputation is not the only consideration.

Cost versus quality when you choose a freelance team over a digital agency

Contrary to popular belief, the cost does not always reflect quality. For professional freelance teams, the quality is always going to be on a par with their much more expensive digital agency counterparts. In fact, very often, the quality coming out of a freelance studio is even better.

It may well seem like the opposite would be true, but let’s take a closer look at this. Agencies have lots of staff, in terms of the creatives and the behind-the-scenes staff that keep everything else ticking over.

All of this is very expensive, as you can imagine, and this isn’t taking other running costs into consideration either. Things like office space for all those people, equipment, IT departments, exorbitant advertising costs to stay ahead of other agencies… it’s a very expensive business.

This, of course, is reflected in the cost to the purchaser, the client, but in order to keep even those rates down, so they actually sell services, to begin with, they have to do something else too.

Digital agencies are under immense pressure to make sales, keep the revenue coming in and keep the business going. To this end, each creative department is under a massive workload weight. With strict output targets to meet, so they serve as many clients as possible, quality is obviously going to suffer.

In the instances where quality is maintained, there is going to be other areas that are lacking: delivery times, customer support, query responses, time taken for edits to be performed… everything is affected when companies put staff under undue pressure.

Why choose a freelance team over a digital agency? What’s the difference, surely freelance teams are under similar pressure to stay afloat? Not so. Let me explain.

Freelance teams are often the better option

A bold claim, right? Maybe, but it’s entirely justified. Depending on your actual needs, you may be much better off if you choose a freelance team over a digital agency. Here are just a few reasons why that statement is true.

Freelance teams are cost-effective

Because freelance teams have much lower overheads (they rarely have multi-user studios, with members of their team often working remotely) there is much less pressure on them to stack clients like an air traffic controller in order to pay their bills. In fact, a freelance team can take fewer clients at one time and still meet financial requirements.

What does all of this add up to? The quality of work that is produced remains the same, and very often it is actually increased as pressure is reduced, but the cost of the creative work is brought down and sometimes dramatically.

Cost does not equal quality, and freelance teams have been proving exactly that for years.

You know exactly who is working on your project

When deciding whether you should choose a freelance team over a digital agency, you need to decide how much you value accountability. Sure, the agency as a whole takes ultimate responsibility but are you entirely comfortable not knowing who did what, why and when?

Agencies are pretty well known for their inherent lack of transparency, which is not something many companies are comfortable with.

With a freelance team of creatives, you always know who is working on what, as teams are usually comprised of people with very specific skillsets and the teams are, by their very nature, quite small. Many freelance teams will also brief you on who will be working on which part of the project for you.

All of this helps to instil a level of trust that just isn’t possible with a digital agency.

Freelance teams are heavily invested in your success

A freelance team wants your business to succeed… Scratch that, they need your business to succeed. If their own business is to survive, they need to be sure that they do the very best possible job for you. A customer that is dissatisfied is very likely a customer that they will never see again. Worse, they could actively damage overall reputation.

Freelance teams are by nature heavily invested in the success of their customer’s business, particularly where the work they have done has a direct influence on their success or failure. It’s because of this, above all other reasons, that the question “should you choose a freelance team over a digital agency” stops being a question.

A digital agency, unless they are totally useless, will survive a customer’s failed project or business. A freelance team has much more to lose, so you can be sure they are going to put every effort into making sure your project is everything that it can be.

Digital agencies are not usually as responsive as freelance teams

Digital agencies typically only operate between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, sometimes a little later but not usually. Outside of these hours, they are not normally contactable, so if you need to get in touch with them regarding your project you will almost always have to wait until the next business day.

Many freelance teams are comprised of creatives in several different countries. Silva Web Designs, for example, has freelancers in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Portugal. What these varied time zones mean for our clients is that we are contactable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Ask yourself “how quickly do I need an answer to something that is time-critical?”.

The answer is pretty obvious, but if you are responsible as to the answer is pretty obvious, but if you are responsible as to whether or not your company is to choose a freelance team over a digital agency then you should know that freelancers are much more responsive. Their business depends on it, and if yours does too then you already have the answer to the overall question… you choose the freelance team. whether or not your company is to choose a freelance team over a digital agency then you should know that freelancers are much more responsive. Their business depends on it, and if yours does too then you already have the answer to the overall question… you choose the freelance team.

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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