We were recently pleased to be contacted by an old client of ours for some work. It’s always great to hear from customers satisfied with what you do—it’s the highest compliment that a digital craft agency can be paid. However, the client’s story was one we’d heard before.
Our client had initially solicited a solo web designer for some services, with the expectation of getting the work done by a certain date. Weeks later and with little warning, our client received the bad news that the freelancer was moving out of the country, relinquishing his career in order to branch out in new directions.
An international move doesn’t have to be a big deal, but your freelancer closing up shop definitely is. Like most businesses, our client had deadlines to meet, and the abrupt “out of business” notice left them in the lurch. We were happy to pick up the slack and do great work for this old client, but this type of story is more common than one would like to think.
If you’re running an online business, you understand that your website is the face of your company. Here we’d like to inform you of the advantages of hiring an agency over a one-person operation for web design work, so you don’t end up facing the same obstacles as many others.
1. A Design Firm Is More Stable
Our client, and other cases we’ve dealt with in the past encountered one of the most common issues that come with a solo web designer: the possibility of instant quitting. Though it won’t happen every time, it’s much easier for a solo web designer to end their business with a little warning than a web design agency.
Though exact numbers are hard to come by—freelancers are individual people rather than incorporated businesses—we can get a pretty good idea of how many solo web designers go bust overnight. First, there’s the fact that 90% of tech startups fail. Those are small businesses with the backing of investor capital, too, rather than a solo designer working paycheck-to-paycheck. Even if your work is getting done consistently, you may be the only client, and sooner or later that freelancer may need to transition to something more reliable.
Particularly in the last year,
Changes in American health care laws have made working for an agency more attractive, since it may be more appealing for a designer to join up with a firm to get good insurance. We’ve heard from numerous clients in that position who’ve been left holding the bag.
2. A Chain of Command Is Good for Clients
One of the most appealing aspects of freelancing is precisely that it’s free. Most of us working in the digital world have freelanced at some point, and Being Your Own Boss is part of the American Dream. However, in practice, this means creating and adhering to self-imposed goals and timetables. In a way, it’s more work than having a boss sometimes. Countless popular blog posts demystifying freelancing explains that this is a big problem behind-the-scenes.
Part of hiring a web design agency means paying for a pre-existing structure to get things done. You’re more likely to get lightning-fast email responses if someone’s boss is applying external pressure to do so. This structure of accountability applies not only to deadlines and communication but all other aspects of the business.
3. More Experts Means You Can Get More Done Better
The team at a web design firm isn’t just a supervisor making sure employees meet deadlines. By virtue of its size, a digital agency will have many more skill sets under one roof than a solo web designer.
Design work is a dialogue between the client and the creator, and every client knows the best work comes from a passionate creator. A designer who’s dynamite at graphic design might find wireframes to be a slog, or vice-versa. Most web design projects will involve multiple components, so the best work comes from multiple people working on the components they’re most passionate about. Other issues notwithstanding, a company that just needs a logo redesign could get someone to mock up a few images. However, something with more moving parts calls for a bigger investment, rather than a quick fix. A web design firm has multiple employees that can each focus on their area of expertise—their passion.
A lot of companies like solo web designers out of the perception that a firm is more impersonal. However, everyone on our team knows that an agency’s individual members bring as much dedication to their jobs as a freelancer do to their own businesses.
Do you have a success story about working with an agency?
Let us know in the comments below.