Who’s the bigger man? – Freelancing VS Agency

Illustration by Jack Page

 

The evolution of technology doesn’t only give birth to new platforms and other advanced tools to improve our daily lives, it also paves way for new skillsets to be learned and for some industry facets to be updated or overhauled.

 

One of the many products of this evolution is the emergence of the outsourcing industry. From customer service to medical billing and creative services, the outsourcing industry helps many businesses address issues their internal structure can no longer handle. This new wave development also comes with new competition. And thus, the rivalry between freelancers and agencies is born.

 

People seem to think that there has been an unending, yet silent professional competition between freelancers and agencies on bagging clients for their creative projects such as web and graphic design, web development, multimedia, and creative writing projects. But one thing you should know is that there are different advantages and disadvantages for each, and the competition should be recognized more like a dilemma in choosing which one is the perfect setup for you.

 

Illustration by Adam Grason

 

The Task and Skills Needed

What are the tasks you are looking to outsource? Freelancers are a good choice for short-term or one-time tasks that require a specific skill, such as projects like video animation, graphic design, and article writing. Each freelancer has a specific skill set; if you are looking for a certain creative style or skill, you will surely find a freelancer who can do the job. In September 2017, a study showed that 55% of freelancers updated their skills by participating in skill-related education within the last six months, while only 30% of non-freelancers did this.

 

Long-term or full-scale projects and jobs that require constant maintenance fit creative agencies perfectly. Creative agencies like MicroCreatives are one-stop-shops offering full-service solutions, making them the ideal choice if your project requires collaboration within a team of creative professionals with different roles. An example would be creating a website. Creative agencies will have the content writer, web designer, and web developer in one team.

 

Availability and Accessibility

The key to finding skilled and professional freelancers is knowing where to look. There are websites and communities online where you can find freelancers. However, regardless of how easily they can be accessed, availability of the right freelancer for your project is another thing. The good ones may already be fully booked at the moment or are already in a long-term commitment with a repeat client. According to a study by Upwork and Freelancers Union, 52% of freelancers usually work on ongoing or repeat work with a consistent set of clients.

 

It can also be a risk handing over a project to someone who you are not sure will be able to provide you with regular updates and who can easily become unreachable. There are many accountable and skilled freelancers that you can create long-term partnerships with, all you need is to do a lot of research and make careful considerations.

 

With creative agencies, you’ll be working with people with different skills and specializations all in one location. This setup can assure you that your project is handled well. At MicroCreatives, the projects are supervised by the creative director, allowing you to have a point of contact even if you are working with different employees or have different projects with us.

 

Creative agencies also have more than one designer, developer, copywriter, and other creative experts, assuring you that there will always be someone to handle your project and that it will be allocated and scheduled according to an agreed timeline. Agencies are easily accessible to through emails and their website contact form. Just shoot what you need and expect a response with team or project setup options immediately. Agencies are also often referred by business owners to another.

 

Turnaround Time

From getting referrals and reviewing resumes and portfolios to asking for samples, looking for someone who is qualified to take on your creative project for is a time consuming process. Looking for a creative agency to work with is easier than looking for a freelancer, as all the info you need is on their website and their creative portfolio will be curated according to what you are looking for.

 

Selecting the right freelancer can be a challenge as you are looking for specific skills and personality traits of the person you want to work with. But, after finding the right candidate, the project will sail smoothly.

 

As mentioned, working with a freelancer gives you one man to do the entire job. Aside from being the web or graphic designer, developer, animator, or copywriter, freelancers are their own salesmen. With agencies, you can expect a group of people doing things simultaneously.  Someone is assigned to answer emails, talk to the clients, organize the details of the proposal, and to execute the project. That’s why it is faster in terms of turnaround time to give a project to an agency because they work with the economic theory of Division of Labor.

 

Quality Assurance Checks

Both freelancers and creative agencies can meet your requirements and present to you a high-quality output. When working with a freelancer, as they work on their own, you might have to hire another freelancer that specializes in quality assurance checks, or have to do it on your own and give your feedback for revision. While quality assurance is an automatic part of any project execution process, it helps to have another keen eye for counterchecking.

 

With many hands collaborating on your project, an agency can provide your desired result fast and in good quality. Being composed of a diverse group of people, mistakes can be minimized as your project is screened by multiple eyes to produce excellent results. At MicroCreatives, the service you acquire comes with supervision by our creative director and quality assurance checking from our QA Specialist.

 

Costs

Hiring a freelancer is typically cheaper as you do not need to pay for other miscellaneous expenses. And if you no longer need their services, you’re not obliged to keep them.

 

Similar with freelancers, you can acquire services from creative agencies on an hourly or project basis. You can also choose to hire a dedicated staff for a period of time for long-term projects, but you are also not obliged to keep the services once they are no longer required. However, services outsourced to a creative agency are generally more costly. But rest assured that your money will be put to a good investment. Agencies can assure that from end to finish, your project will be handled by experts and you’ll gain quality work that will require minimal maintenance in the long run.

 

Costs may vary depending on the end result you want. There is no bad choice between a freelancer and a creative agency to do the job. They will always assure that the end result will reflect the money you invest in it.

 

Similarities

Despite the differences and the variety of benefits and advantages agencies and freelancers offer respectively, both work for the same cause and deliver good results. It’s just a matter of preference and the aspect you are looking for that will determine which will better suit your needs.

 

By 2020, 85% of customer-business relationships will be performed without human interaction, as forecasted by Gartner. This denotes that the need for visually appealing, engaging, and interactive design, content marketing, and other digital products will be of higher value. Whether you choose to work with a freelancer or a creative agency, both options can offer you flexible solutions that will help you achieve your brand and business goals.