Graphic design is an indispensable aspect of marketing. Without it, marketers can’t promote the business properly which means small business owners like yourself can’t scale as quickly as you would want to.
But should you go for freelance designers or have your in-house team? That poses a big question mark indeed.
Did you know over 68 million designers work as freelancers in the US alone, and only 137,220 designers employed by agencies? By looking at these numbers, it seems that the former is better than the latter. But deciding solely based on numbers is a case of tunnel vision.
If this dilemma seems familiar to you, then read on to understand the pros and cons of both options to arrive at an informed decision:
Quick response to changes: One thing that agencies do better than individual freelancers is that they can respond to client feedback on time and offer changes whenever necessary. Their quick response time is what makes agencies reliable. What more? They also make use of past feedback to give you the best possible response.
They work as a team: The employees of a design agency typically go through years of training and many group-based projects. That makes them effective in coordinating with each other, and the sum of their team output is more efficient than if they worked individually.
The level of team coordination is hard to achieve in a team consisting of several freelancers, who may have never met each other before the project.
High costs: A premium-level service that is offered by design agencies comes at a price. With overheads to cover and salaries to pay, design agencies are viewed as a costlier option than individual freelancers by small business owners.
Cost Savings: Since freelancer graphic designers are individuals, they don’t charge as much as agencies do. So, if you are looking for a cost-effective way to complete your project, hiring a freelancer is what you should do.Please make sure you set up an agreement with the freelancer about the scope of work and commercials beforehand, so that little issues come up over time.
Flexibility: Freelancers have the benefit of having flexible hours, suited to meet your specific needs. You can quickly contact them and set up meetings, whenever necessary. These interactions need not be physical, because unlike agencies who have a fixed area of operation, freelancers usually work remotely. A Skype video call is more than enough.
Uncertainty: The freelancer you hire, may not be somebody you know or are close to. That could be a problem especially if the freelancer does not have the necessary credentials for your project. Sure, a portfolio will help you understand the freelancer’s expertise. But it is also wise to do a background check. Ask for references and talk to people or companies the freelancer has worked with previously.
Availability: Even when you establish a proper communication channel with your freelancer, there is still a risk of them not being available at critical times. They could be busy with another project or a personal issue.Therefore, it is best to hire a freelancer who has enough time to offer you their undivided attention, especially when the project is complicated or highly critical.
What is the better option?
The answer is: it depends.
If you want to get several small projects done in a short period, it is best to hire a freelancer. But if you have a few projects that required a high-quality output, it is best to hire a design agency.
But, these are not hard and fast rules. As a small business owner, it is your responsibility to make the right decision based on your project. I hope the article sets you in the right direction.