How to decide between a freelancer or a web agency for your website project

The two common options to develop websites are freelancers and contracting the work out to web agencies. So how do you make the decision?

The single biggest advantage of hiring a freelance website designer is the cost. The freelancer, working independently, is not saddled with the overheads of a web agency, and in a highly competitive field, would more likely pass on the resultant cost savings to the customer.Many talented freelance website designers, new to the profession, and eager to develop a valuable client-base, would develop the website at a considerably lower cost than what web agencies or even experienced freelancers would charge.With freelancers, the company is always at a strong bargaining point. In fact, freelancers may be considered as de-facto staff of the company, assigned on project work. The company has the best of both worlds, enjoying both the flexibility to dictate things and paying for results rather than for the time spent.

A freelance website designer, however, has serious limitations, as well. The freelancer is a single individual, with no or few associates, and as such, would have limited time to offer. The resources on hand including the software would also be limited.

Most freelancers have their niche in certain areas. In areas where they are weak, they rely on fellow freelancers. Or, such weakness becomes apparent in the end product. For instance, a freelancer may be very good in providing innovative designs, but may be weak in content. Very often, the company would have to make improvements over and above the freelancers finished work. Developing a website requires both creative and technical expertise. The freelancer would in most cases be proficient in either, but rarely in both.

A web agency, being an organisation, is more likely to have a wide talent pool to deliver a complete package, not lacking in any areas. For instance, the agency would have multiple designers with varying background, and experience who pool in their creative expertise, to offer much wider range of ideas for the design and functionality of your project. On the execution front, the web agency can adopt the iterative approach, or entrusting portions of the work to different designers, and then joining it all together, to get the work done faster. The agency would more likely have a broader range of resources, including software, and licences, as well.

On the other hand, the advantages of hiring a freelancer, such as costs and flexibility, translate as disadvantages of website development using a web agency.

For all the advantages and security that web agencies provide, at the end of the day, they may simply sub-contract the work to a freelancer, and take a cut as the middlemen. That’s something to certainly watch out for.
Whether it is better to hire a freelancer, or a web agency, ultimately depends on the nature of the Website. For simplistic and straightforward website designs, a freelancer may be a good option. For more complex projects, and where a long-term relationship with the developer may be beneficial, a web agency may be a better bet.

As a rule-of-thumb, it is better to entrust large and complex ecommerce websites, CRM portals, and other content management websites, with web agencies, and it is more effective to hire freelancers for simpler projects.

2 comments on “How to decide between a freelancer or a web agency for your website project

  1. Jem Robinson on said:

    I think that’s a very balanced and well thought out article, the advantages of both touched on well. Experience and time on the floor could also be applied to both. For example a very young agency looking to balance the books positively at the earliest opportunity may well be a good financial bet for the customer and likewise a freelancer who has years of experience in multiple fields may be more costly than less experienced and less multi skilled freelancers but may be a better financial proposition and more flexible than an agency, young or old. But I think your basic breakdown would generally be right, the larger and more complex the project the more suited to an agency budget allowing, the more average sized project the better suited to a freelancer. In either case though an experience check and references/testimonials as can be found on WWDC will pay dividends.

  2. I think agancy is better on because of we can connect with their office, the best comapies all are registerd so we can give ou project without fearless, and they have agreement, they wont violate this, but the freelancer is a free bird, but they are all experienced ,a freelancer may be very good in providing innovative designs, but may be weak in content. but how can trust him..this only my daubtes not others, any one have reply on this