Mar 2024

WordPress Freelancer Vs Agency

WordPress Freelancer Vs Agency Designer or Developer
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When it comes to getting help with your WordPress website, be it design, development or support, you might be wondering whether a freelancer or an agency would be the right fit for you. However, there is a middle ground which I have created and it enables me to offer the best of both worlds. Let me explain...

I am a freelancer but I also have a team of specialist developers and designers who support me with projects. An analogy that springs to mind is when you want to build a house, you wouldn't expect one lone builder to turn up and carry out every part of the project themself. It just wouldn't be as quality or finish as fast as it could if that was the case. A builder would have a brick layer, a carpenter, decorators, etc... but also get stuck in with the most important parts and be an ever present part of the project from stat to finish.

When I take on a medium-large project, I bring on board my team of frontend developers who will code the front end of the website according to the designs, backend developers who will take that code and integrate into WordPress as a bespoke theme, whilst I do a million and one other tasks including project management, creation of functionality, testing, refinements, SEO, security, launch etc. A real team effort.

You're probably still wondering what the actual difference between a freelancer and agency experience is though. After working in a global top 20 WordPress agency for a number of years, as well as purely as a freelancer and now as a convenient middle grounder, I've summarised what I see as the main differences based on my experience.

Cost

Agencies tend to be more expensive than a freelancer as they have more overheads. They have staff salaries, office or desk space, the occasional pizza or beer to distract employees from how overworked they are. Freelancers usually work from home and don't employ anyone else, so they can offer services at a much more cost-effective rate. I am a freelancer and all members of my team are also freelancers, so together we are able to offer an agency size team but at a freelance rate.

Expertise

Agencies tend to attract more talent and have a range of skills within the team, whereas a freelancer will often only be able to offer one skillset or service. There are freelancers who are able to carry out a number of services, however, in general you can assume that a jack of all trades is not going to be quite as impactful as individual specialists. My team is made up of award winning designers, frontend and backend developers, all specialists with a diverse set of skills - known as a 'full stack'.

Quality

Freelancers can't pass the buck, ultimately they're accountable for their work and so they have to ensure a quality result is produced. Often their livelihood is at stake so it's important for them to craft a thing of Beauty rather than slapdash it before clocking off at 6pm. Agencies, however, also produce quality work, especially given they have the resources that come with a team with lots of expertise, money invested into tools and collaboration which can bring a more balanced solution. Agencies do tend to win bigger projects and with more prestigious brands, so agencies often produce a more enterprise level of quality, however, often freelancers leave agencies with their own wealth of experience, so it's swings and roundabouts when it comes to quality.

Time

A freelancer only has roughly 8 hours in a day and that time might be split between various clients, whereas an agency team of 10 would have roughly 80 work hours in a day - all be it 79 of those in meetings which could have been an email. Therefore agencies tend to be able to produce a finish product much faster than a freelancer possibly could. Another reason why I chose to work with a team of developers and designers, so we can take on big projects and deliver them at the same speed as an agency could. So when it comes to big projects you'll would typically want a team in order to finish it faster, however, some agencies are constantly fighting fires with too many clients or projects on the go and therefore you might not get a reply for days. Another one which could go either way.

How they see you

Employees at an agency tend to see you as a means to and end. At the end of the day, metaphorically and literally, they're going home and they will still collect their salary regardless of how well they've performed, on the whole. Whereas a freelancer sees clients as critical to their livelihood, without happy clients they aren't going to get paid. They rely on that repeat business in order to have a predictable, stable income. From my experience at an agency and as a freelancer in the past, I can hand on heart say freelancers really appreciate their clients and don't take their business for granted. This means they will tend to go the extra mile to ensure you're happy with their service and build a relationship based on genuine mutual support.

The sales pitch at the end

Over the past decade I've built a team of people who I've worked with time and time again, on projects of various scales and complexities, who I know and trust can help me to deliver a world class result I am proud to put my name to. So if you're interested in getting the best of both worlds but still dealing with one person like they're a fully integrated part of your team, but with the skillset of a agency and a competitive price model... get in touch.

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