There are lots of different types of companies out there offering web design and development services. Generally though, you’ll work with either a freelancer or an agency. There are pros and cons to both but here I outline some of the benefits of choosing a freelancer, like me.
Most freelancers work from home giving them very little overheads and thereby making them competitive on a price front. They just have the running costs of a small home office and their computer software and equipment. Also, many freelancers are not VAT registered.
With agencies, you usually get assigned a customer–facing account manager. This person will be your sole contact at the agency; you’ll never get to speak to any of the people who actually do the work. This can be an advantage as the account manager can talk to you in a language you understand, as opposed to technical jargon. However, your ideas and requirements can get lost in translation.
Some freelancers have the ability to function as an agency. How? Any work they can’t do—because they don’t have the time or the skills—they can outsource to other freelancers. A good freelancer will have a pool of other individuals who possess skills they don’t. By using outside resources in this way you can get the best of both worlds.
Lots of agencies sell themselves as ‘full–service’. Generally speaking, there’s no such thing. I work for lots of agencies in a freelance capacity so I know firsthand lots of agencies outsource in the same way mentioned in the previous paragraph. It’s no bad thing: it’s just not viable for agencies—even the big ones—to employ someone for every single job full–time. For example, if you only need a copywriter for five hours per month, it’s clearly better to pay a freelancer an hourly rate that it is to have someone on the payroll.
So, as you can see it’s not a simple answer that one is better than the other. Rather, it’s about an agency or freelancer that can meet your requirements. In one situation a well–connected freelancer might beat a high profile agency and in another situation it might be the complete opposite. Generally speaking though, you have nothing to lose by contacting a freelancer who has ties with other agencies and freelancer. Here’s where I plug my own services: I am a designer and developer but I know all sorts of talented local individuals and companies that allow me to offer you lots of their services such as logo design, icon design, copy writing, PR, large scale eCommerce websites, marketing, corporate identity and much more!