Have you ever found yourself in a place where you had to deliver projects your internal teams are not qualified for, nor have the time to handle?

While many business owners feel there’s always more work than time or resources to do it, the reality is you have options. The Mighty Internet has made it easier for companies to outsource new talent and deliver projects on time and within budget.

And this is usually the moment when you ask yourself:

Should I hire a freelancer or an agency?

Working with independent experts or a team of professionals has its advantages and disadvantages, but eventually, it comes down to your unique needs and goals. We’ve previously discussed when it makes sense to hire a freelancer for your business, so in this article, we’ll focus on the benefits of working with an agency.

Here’s what you need to know first:

  • A freelancer is a self-employed,  independent contractor who offers their professional services to clients.
  • An agency is a company consisting of a built-in manager in charge of a team of specialists who work together to deliver results for clients. 

The agency advantage: multiple specialists under one roof

Working with agencies offers many of the same perks as freelancers, but a significant difference worth exploring is your access to everything under one roof. 

Let’s dive in and learn more about some of the benefits of hiring an agency:

  • Expert knowledge – hire a niche or specialist agency for a target market and get an in-depth level of expertise.
  • Experience – after spending years working as a team, most agencies have the strategic and tactical skills needed to support businesses.
  • Accountability – agencies have a proven performance track record.
  • Ability to scale – agencies scale up or down to handle both short-term and long-term needs; they also deal with onboarding and training.
  • A new perspective – agencies can push businesses out of the dangerous “we’ve always done things this way” approach.

Let’s say you’ve got a complex project that requires the combined work of several specialists, like building a website. You’ll need to cover the following roles: 

  1. Web Designer
  2. SEO Expert  
  3. Copywriter 
  4. Developer 

If you go the contracting way, you will have to hire and manage all four freelancers, which can turn out to be a challenge (especially if you’re dealing with multiple time zones). With this in mind, it may make more sense to hire an agency to handle the whole process for you—the planning, development, testing and ongoing maintenance required to build and launch a successful website. In the long run, this may actually save you money, time and be far less stressful for you.

Less management = less stress

Agencies do not require the management and oversight individual hires do. They have their own systems and managers in place to ensure things go smoothly. 

When you hire an agency, you are paying for their built-in processes and industry knowledge. You gain access to a multi-faceted team that can lead all your marketing and design needs. Agencies are a team made up of niche experts who are comfortable working together toward creating a cohesive and polished product. This may be more difficult to achieve when working with several independent freelancers. 

Probably the best thing about working with an agency is their invaluable experience when determining the resources needed to complete a project which gives them an advantage with scoping and meeting deadlines.

To determine if you need to hire an agency or a freelancer, ask yourself:

Understanding your needs

To decide if it’s time to hire an agency, you should first understand your project’s needs and identify the scope and expectations. It all comes down to your project’s goal, timeline and available budget, so make sure you have a clear brief and strategy in place. 

After you dialed down your project’s needs and established the basics, you can assess the skill-sets that exist within your internal team and decide where they need assistance.

The agency price tag

Finances are a crucial factor in the decision-making process, especially if your business is small or a start-up. 

The cost of hiring an agency is definitely greater than that of a freelancer, as agencies have far more overhead. Most of the time, these added costs are what make hiring an agency financially out of reach for some businesses. At the same time, larger businesses struggle with hiring one freelancer to handle the myriad of tasks. 

The real question is: can you afford it? When determining the value for money, think about how hiring an agency, despite its higher price-tag, can allow you to focus on building your businesses and deliver better results.

Over to you

Determining when to hire an agency can be daunting. To make your decision easier, here are some examples of when working with an agency makes sense:

  • You need to save time. It’s hard enough to manage your time and handle the day-to-day operations of your business. Agencies have a well-organised structure that allows them to deliver on time.
  • You need a fresh perspective to overcome areas where your business has stalled. 
  • You need more accountability. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed with the idea of managing multiple freelancers and multiple streams of work. According to Medium, every agency has a project manager who “handles the team, tracks the hours, and provides feedback. It’s easier to go through a project manager who watches the team, than individually checking each freelancer.”

At Communo, we recognize the value agencies bring to businesses of all sizes. In fact, our talent platform was originally designed to support agencies’ needs as they scale their teams to handle niche roles.

Whether you need an agency for a complex project, or an expert freelancer, our talent team will help you fill talent gaps, deliver cost efficiencies and innovate at scale. 

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