Updated: Dec 10, 2022
Every business’ dream is to scale profits. Scaling up usually means more work and responsibilities. When the time comes, you’ll need to procure more workforce by expanding your in-house team or contracting freelancers or an agency.
Most businesses settle for outsourcing rather than hiring an in-house team since they find it cost-efficient. However, choosing between a freelancer and an agency has never been easy.
This post will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of hiring each and highlight other factors to consider when determining the best choice for your company.
But first, let's quickly go over the basics.
Who's a freelancer?
A freelancer works as an independent contractor/consultant on an as-needed basis. They can be specialists in a particular industry or offer various services, such as content writing, virtual assistance, graphic design, project management, etc. Depending on their flexibility and your needs, they may work remotely or on-site when the need arises.
What's an Agency?
An agency comprises a group of professionals or experts who merge to form a single entity to offer end-to-end solutions in a given industry. Agencies base themselves on a single specialty (the service they offer or the industry they serve) or a range of complementary specialties.
For example, a content-writing agency offers writing services exclusively. In contrast, a content marketing agency creates content strategies, produces, distributes, and measures the performance of the content.
Like a freelancer, hiring an agency is no longer geography-restricted thanks to technological advancements.
Freelancers Vs. Agencies: Pros and Cons
Choosing between an agency and a freelancer won't be a clear-cut decision. Therefore, you'll need to assess the gains and losses your business will incur for selecting either.
Benefits of Choosing a Freelancer
1. Specialized Skills
Most freelancers are professionals who offer their skills as independent contractors. Usually, they've leveraged agency (where they used to work) resources to hone their skills, gaining niche-specific expertise.
Freelancers specialize in doing specific jobs, so there is always someone available to do what you need. You can find such specialists on freelancer sites like Fiverr or Upwork.
2. More Personalized Solutions
Fostering a personal relationship with a freelancer is easier than with an agency. There's a constant connection between you and the freelancer via call, physical meeting, or chat. For projects that require direct connection between you and the person executing it, working with a freelancer gives an edge.
On the other hand, in an agency, there are probably several people working on your project, and you may not always get to speak with them directly.
3. Direct Communication
Working with a freelancer gives you a direct communication link. You can reach them through their email, phone number, live chat, or whatever you agree upon.
Freelancers are the sole point of contact, unlike agencies, where information has to go through a chain of involved parties before reaching the individual working on your project. Lack of smooth and immediate communication between the client and the expert may result in costly errors that could be avoided to some extent by hiring a freelancer.
A freelancer study conducted in 2022 claims that 71% of freelancers are into freelancing because it allows flexible work schedules. Freelancers make their own rules and can work with you anytime, anywhere. Some freelancers may even go the extra mile and have meetings with you during odd hours or deliver your work faster than usual.
Cons of Choosing a Freelancer
1. May Cost More Money and Resources
Managing a freelancer while running your business can be nerve-racking. All the chatting, project reviews, meetings, and managing their payments might drain your energy.
Agencies generally have bigger capacities to manage and supervise your project, leaving you with the simple job of approval and making payments.
2. Reduced Reliability
70% of freelancers juggle 2 to 4 projects simultaneously. This exerts pressure, even on experienced freelancers, reducing their ability to meet deadlines on time. If you have an urgent project, assigning it to a freelancer risks delays that may cost your business money and time.
3. Security Risks
You may need to provide freelancers access to company data so they can better grasp your project requirements. Additionally, you might grant them access to the database or systems of your business, which might reveal sensitive data. Since not all independent contractors are trustworthy or discreet, critical information can get into the wrong hands and be used against your company.
Benefits of Choosing an Agency
Believe it or not, hiring an agency saves you money in the long run. You don't need to hire oversight staff, as agencies have their own. Agencies hire quality assessment and management officers to ensure the client gets quality end-product on time. If you're preoccupied with other core business operations, you only need to employ one person to interlink you and the agency.
Moreover, when dealing with freelancers, you may need to offer specialized training on the task at hand. On the other hand, agencies have experts on their teams with the required experience and skills to handle your projects from start to finish.
2. A Pool of Resources at Your Exposure
Hiring an agency gives you access to a multi-faceted team that offers solutions tailored to your project needs. In addition, agencies have a wide range of bonus resources like technology, software, licenses, and tools at your exposure.
Your project's success rates may dramatically increase as there are several other perks a good agency brings to the table, including task management, time management, and quality control.
3. Offer Continuity
Most professional agencies have backup resources on standby in emergencies. For instance, if any of the experts working on your project gets sick, someone will step in on their behalf to ensure your project doesn’t stop.
Other possible backup resources include power & internet outages and system-breakdown backups. These shadow resources ensure that your business continues to operate normally, even during unplanned hiccups. This is hardly the case when working with freelancers.
4. Provide Integrated Services
Most agencies offer complementary solutions in one package. For instance, if you hire a digital marketing agency for your website, they may offer web design and development, SEO, content writing, website maintenance, graphic design, and social media marketing services for a single price.
This gives you a seamless experience saving you the hustle of outsourcing related services from different contractors.
Cons of Choosing an Agency
1. Small Fish May Get Overlooked
Agencies rely on consistent income to survive. They tend to be selective about their clients because of their slightly higher average project expense. Therefore, if you have a small budget and hire an agency for your project, you may get little attention compared to a client with a bigger budget.
2. Can Be Expensive
An agency has more needs than a freelancer. They have rent, utility bills, salaries, taxes, office maintenance costs, and marketing budgets to fund. Therefore, every project they take on has to contribute to all these needs, making their pricing a little higher.
3. Communication Challenges
Client-agency communication takes longer than a freelancer. This type of communication is prone to misunderstandings, which can negatively affect your project's final results, costing you time and resources.
How To Determine What's Best For Your Business?
Here are more factors to consider when choosing where to outsource your workforce:
Your budget and flexibility requirements
The complexity of your project
Your project's timeline (deadline)
Your current workforce (do you need outside help?)
The size of your project
Skillset and experience
Your project objectives (your expectations)
The verdict is always yours.
Whatever you choose depends on your business-specific needs. Take time to conduct your research before deciding on an option. Use reviews of your industry peers to draw a strong comparison.
If you want to consult an agency, feel free to get in touch :)
Klarecon helps you scale your operations by providing one or all of these: content writing, translation, and virtual assistance. Feel free to book a consultation here.