Your business is growing and your team is doing their best to meet the tight deadlines and increased workload. You may be exploring the idea of outsourcing some of your web and mobile design and development projects. The next logical question is to outsource to a digital agency, or hire a freelancer?
I’m sure you’ve pondered over these questions while considering your design and development partner –
Which option among the digital agency or a freelancer will be the most cost efficient?
(Note – not “cheapest.” but “cost efficient”)
You might save some money by hiring a freelancer to manage one particular module of your product development lifecycle. However, you’ll soon realize that one person cannot do it all. You’ll very likely need an entire team of freelancers if you are looking for end-to-end design and development. This may lead your project to go over-budget while missing some critical deadlines.
Many factors should be considered while choosing between a freelancer or a digital agency. In this article, we will discuss how a digital agency can prove to be more economical vis-a-vis freelancer/s.
#1 Quality Of Work
Your freelancer may try and deliver the best quality of work but it may not be in line with your expectations, especially when the scale of the project is big.
On the other hand, a digital agency takes complete accountability of your project and maintains consistency in the quality of services they offer. They can arrange a single point of contact to facilitate all the coordination work. Thereby, you can focus on the larger picture. They also provide stringent quality checks and testing before your web/ mobile application is launched to avoid any nasty surprises.
#2 Project Involvement
Freelancers rely on you for direction! You might risk endless back and forth if there is any miscommunication in defining your requirements. You will need to invest a lot of time and effort while working with a freelancer.
Digital agencies are more equipped to understand your business needs as they may have more domain experts. They can convey your exact requirements to their in-house creative and technical team. Your project manager has the onus to ensure that the project runs smoothly.
For example, Project managers at an agency will assist you and your team in the most tricky questions related to your new product and the main features of a detailed specification for business tasks. Whereas, not every freelancer could single-handedly undertake all the tasks performed by the project manager and his team.
#3 Engagement Models
Among the biggest decisions you are going to make about your project is how the development of your dream product is going to pan out. For that, you’ll need an engagement model.
This is one of the biggest factors that you miss out on if you hire a freelancer.
The successful development and implementation of your project are facilitated by flexible engagement models as they ensure client satisfaction and transparency.
It involves engagement types like:
- Fixed price: This is ideal when the client has clear expectations in terms of the project outcomes and timeline. A Fixed-price contract is ideal for relatively smaller projects with determined deadlines, fixed budgets, and MVPs.
- Time and Material: Ideal for a long term project with dynamic requirements and uncertain deadlines. The pricing is determined based on the hours spent on developing the project and resources needed. The model is flexible to accommodate changing project requirements and new features.
Why does it matter for you to have the right plan?
Choosing the right engagement model for your project can help avoid undesirable outcomes, such as friction between you and your outsourcing partner, dissatisfaction with the final product, delayed deliveries, and loss of profit.
#4 Technology Infrastructure
Freelancers often lack the skills and resources to adopt new technologies and tools in case of emergency or ad hoc situations.
Whereas, agencies invest in the latest technology across their entire range of services. They have the best subscriptions, platforms, and most up-to-date technology; ensuring that your project is developed using the best of the resources.
Generally, businesses switch to outsourcing to scale their business in terms of revenue and services offered.
But, if you hire a freelancer, he may have his limitations when it comes to the quantity of work he can offer. The scalability he offers also depends on the projects he is serving and his time of availability.
On the other end, a well-established digital agency has a big team of different skill sets and expertise areas. In the case, your requirement grows, or you have to meet urgent deliverables, an agency can extend its team of dedicated resources for your project.
You need to think about the range of skills required for your product development before deciding to choose among a freelancer or digital agency.
The benefit of choosing a digital agency over a freelancer is you’re not responsible for building a team all by yourself based on your project requirements. For instance – IKEA hired separate freelancers for Web developers as well as UI/UX designers just to figure out that they would need mobile app developers, as well.
Alternatively, you can save your time just by hiring a digital agency with a large pool of professionals who have diverse skills – all in one place!
#7 Reliability And Commitment
Freelancers are usually reliable and accountable for the projects they undertake. However, due to the lack of a legal contract, there may be instances where they do adhere to the committed deadlines or couldn’t deliver the project as per your specifications.
Digital agencies swear by their processes that are built up over the years. This makes them accountable for what they do and allows them to make realistic commitments to their clients. Plus, there is always a Plan B in place, in case there are any unexpected glitches to ensure that the project goes on as planned.
#8 Communication Is The Key
Communication remains one of the most important factors to consider while opting for an outsourcing partner. Freelancers are usually easily accessible and easy to communicate with. Different time zones may hinder communications if you choose to outsource your work to an offshore freelancer.
Your digital agency partner will always provide a consistent communication channel. Generally, professional agencies follow a standard communication and reporting procedure, that is discussed initially with the client. Even the time zones are factored in here.
Digital Agencies deliver the required expertise and ensure an efficient work process as a service provider.
#9 Security And Legality
As a company, they’re able to follow proper documentation that offers you protection from legal risks or copyright infringement lawsuits in the future.
Whereas, freelancers hardly offer protection from potential legal risks regarding copyright infringement.
Choosing the best option between a freelancer and a digital agency can prove to be difficult! While we all want to keep the costs in check, we also do not wish to compromise on the quality and go-to-market.
Choose a freelancer if the scale of your project is small and you do not seek multiple skill sets.
With an agency, pricing is typically based on individual services and projects. They are expensive but they account for every minute they work on your project. We recommend using an agency if you want end-to-end development of feature-rich and intuitive web and mobile solutions.