Making the Choice Between an Agency and Freelance Web Designer

Who Should Design Your Website?

It’s easy to understand why having a quality website is integral to your business, but deciding who you want to build that website requires more consideration.  One thing is certain – there are a plethora of choices out there. If you casually mention to an acquaintance that you’re in the market for a website, odds are good they’ll have a suggestion for you. Beware – plenty of people can build a basic site, but not that many can create the website you need.

In general there are two options for website design; agencies and freelancers. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and figuring out who you should talk to is a matter of evaluating and understanding your needs. Your primary goal is to create a list of essential features and the basic purpose of your website. Once you understand the potential scope of your project, you can talk to different agencies and freelance designers to get a feel for who will best address your needs.

To help you get a firm grasp on the differences between freelancers and design agencies, we’ve got a quick chart for reference:

Freelancer

Agency

Experience

Varies by freelancer, but they tend to specialize in one or two areas. Keep in mind that less-expensive freelancers are often inexperienced in real-world practice.

Agencies, by definition, employ multiple employees. This means there will be more eyes on your project to come up with creative solutions.

Cost

Freelancers generally offer lower prices than agencies – they’ve got less overhead. Rates vary widely depending on skill level and experience.

Again, rates vary widely depending on the agency, but in general they can be more expensive than independent contractors.

Communication

Direct contact. With only one contact point, communication should be fairly direct. However, that also means if you have a problem and can’t reach your point of contact, you’re on your own.

Generally an agency will assign a project manager to move the process along smoothly, but if they fall out of communication for some reason, you can generally reach somebody else in the office. 

Reliability

In some cases, freelancers are operating for secondary income. This means your project has the potential to fall behind their primary work.

Any agency will have someone you can contact during regular business hours when you need assistance, and their employees are dedicated to your project.

The fact is that there is no “right” answer to this question. There are certainly situations where a freelance designer is a great solution to your needs. If you’re looking for a small update or quick change to your branding it can be a good idea to save costs and go with a freelancer. However, if you’re building a website from the ground up and considering full-scale branding, an agency is probably the right choice.

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