Experts define globalization as the trend of increasing interaction between people or companies on a worldwide scale due to advances in transportation and communication technology. In other words, globalization enables businesses to overcome physical boundaries and establish cooperation with professionals all around the globe.
This process inspired the rise of the freelance economy with platforms such as Upwork, Toptal, or 99designs attracting millions of clients and remote workers. According to the study conducted by Upwork, more than 57 million US citizens are already involved in freelance work, which is more than a third of the country’s entire workforce.
There are obviously plenty of fish in the sea, so you can find a perfect match for your projects in every field of work, including graphic design. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced there are more than 266 thousand graphic designers in the US alone, while Payscale estimates that the average salary in this niche is $42 thousand per year.
At the same time, the best graphic design agencies guarantee high-quality work and timely delivery. They form teams of experienced and skilled professionals, leaving no room for unpleasant surprises. But it all comes at a certain price.
Both freelance graphic designers and agencies have their advantages and shortcomings, so it’s up to you to analyze their offer and choose the most suitable option. In this post, we will give you an overview of their pros and cons and hopefully make your decision a little easier.
Pros of Hiring Freelancers
Although they belong to the same class of graphic designers, most freelancers develop completely different professional interests. Some of them become experts in e-commerce design, others prefer art and sports, etc. Each niche has its own little peculiarities.
Amanda Clark, a headhunter at Best Essays, recently stated: “If you need this type of highly specialized service, then freelance graphic designers are the perfect solution. You don’t have to choose between all-around players who know something about everything. Instead, you will find a person who knows exactly what you want and has the skill to do the job almost instantly”.
- Cut Costs
Reducing operational costs is one of the biggest advantages of working with freelancers. Using freelancing platforms, you are sure that an hour paid is an hour worked. There are no additional expenses unrelated to the job itself.
Of course, it is crucial to negotiate the price before you establish cooperation with the graphic designer. They may be less expensive than agencies, but they don’t work for free, so you need to be clear about the terms and conditions of collaboration.
An average freelancer can easily adapt to your style and schedule of work. They don’t work around the clock, but most remote workers will respect your timetable and be there when you need them. In such circumstances, the project can run smoothly because you won’t waste time trying to reach your employee.
Cons of Hiring Freelancers
- Professional Limitations
No man can learn everything about everything. Each freelancer has a certain set of skills that fit your needs at the time of hiring, but what happens if you realize that you need more than planned? In this case, a graphic designer’s professional limitations could become a big obstacle.
First of all, he might not be able to get the job done properly, which could jeopardize the entire project. Secondly, you will have to pay some extra money for new tasks, which could jeopardize the budget. This is an awkward situation that you should think about before sealing the deal with freelance graphic designers.
The most successful freelancers are very precise and accurate, but you could face a reliability issue if you can’t afford top rated graphic designers. Some people just disappear when they realize that the project is too difficult for them.
Such freelancers are not afraid of earning bad reviews – they don’t care because they will probably delete profiles sooner or later. For this reason, you should be very careful when hiring a freelancer even if it means spending extra time testing their skills and willingness to work responsibly.
- No Real Relationship
There are a lot of business people who can’t stand the idea of working with a total stranger. Let’s say you have 5 days to design a new company logo. It means you need to publish a job announcement, check out all the applicants, hire the best candidate, introduce him to your ideas, and wait for him to make a super nice design.
This sounds like the mission impossible for most entrepreneurs. That is why they look exclusively for long-term business relationships and cooperate only with freelancers who understand the real nature of their brands, products, or services.
Pros of Hiring a Design Agency
- Team Work
Agencies don’t delegate duties to one person alone. On the contrary, they engage an entire team to work on your project. They also use state-of-the-art equipment and ensure data protection, so you don’t have to worry about copyright and intellectual property.
Working as a team, agency professional can brainstorm various ideas and find alternative solutions for your business. If you need any kind of additional advice, they will be able to answer you. To put it simply, it’s just a complete package of graphic design services.
Working in groups, agency staff is usually much faster and more productive than a single freelancer. This is particularly the case when you change demands and think of a new idea. In such situations, agencies can adapt quickly and offer alternative solutions to the problem because they have enormous experience with similar projects. They know how their clients think and behave, so they can propose different design suggestions and get the job done efficiently.
Although freelancers adapt to your work hours, sometimes they disappear and there is nothing you can do about it. They could be sick or take a few days off because they believe the project is over. This is not the case with graphic design agencies as they hire multiple designers for the 24/7 availability.
You can always reach someone from the team because agencies don’t allow everybody to unplug at the same time. Customer support is among their top priorities and most companies really appreciate this fact.
Cons of Hiring a Design Agency
Compared to an average freelancer, graphic design agencies are way too expensive. Even the most proficient remote workers will not charge you nearly as much as agencies. The reason is simple – freelancers work only for themselves, while companies need to pay a team of employees plus various taxes, administrative costs, and other bills.
Therefore, it would be a huge mistake to hire an agency if you don’t have a substantial budget at your disposal. When it comes to value for money, freelancers always outdo graphic design companies.
There are no borders or territorial limits when you recruit a freelancer. On the other hand, a vast majority of agencies are location-driven and cannot function remotely. Yes, they also use mobile devices and apps like Viber or Skype to communicate with clients, but you will hardly ever find a European company that wants to work for the American client or vice versa. Agencies traditionally function within a specific city, country, or region, so it’s much easier to make an arrangement with freelance graphic designers.
The Bottom Line
You’ve seen that both freelancers and graphic design agencies have a few substantial advantages over one another, but also some major shortcomings. As an entrepreneur, you have to be really clear about your needs and the final result of this work before making a decision who to hire.
There is no secret formula in this case. You just need to take several elements into the calculation and decide if it’s more important to reduce costs, react promptly, or be sure about the design quality. Once you figure it out, it will be much easier to answer the big question – should I choose a graphic design freelancer or an agency?
Warren is a marketing enthusiast and a blogger at BestEssays, who loves music. If he doesn’t have a guitar in his hands, he’s probably embracing new technologies and marketing techniques online! You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.