Know when to hire a freelancer and when to hire an Agency

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Know when to hire a freelancer and when to hire an Agency

A lot of people worry about when to hire a freelancer and when to hire an agency to get some work done.  We know that hiring a freelancer can save you a lot of money, but is it always worth it since an Agency tends to have systems in place to get everything done efficiently and on time?  Well, in this discussion I'll be going over whether you need to hire a freelancer or an Agency for your next job.

We all know about the freelancers around the world getting jobs done on a daily basis.  If you don't know about them, you likely don't know much about this website lol (Welcome to SEOclerks!).  Freelancers are people around the world getting small jobs done for clients that need one or two things completed.  Rarely will you hear about someone hiring a freelancer to do all of their optimization, design, marketing, etc. because that's just a lot to take on at once.  Think about it, you hire a guy or girl to do all of your online marketing, lead generation, email responses, social media marketing, etc. and you expect top-notch performance.  You won't get it due to the fact that the single freelancer you've hired is spread so thin that he or she can't focus on specific things and show how they are top performers.  On the other hand, you can hire an agency to do all of this and not have to worry about micromanaging 10 different freelancers while you focus on your own work throughout the day.

When should I hire a freelancer?
There are a few key signals that should push you more towards hiring a freelancer over an agency, and they are:

Your budget:  If you are pinching pennies, you should hire a freelancer, and this is because they won't lock you into any sort of contract.  Their pricing is also up front and there won't usually be any hidden costs.  You can budget easily when working with a freelancer because you're paying per job, not per hour, which is why freelancers are awesome to work with 99% of the time you need them.

What you need to be done:  If you just need a logo done, some content is written, or any other small task that shouldn't take more than a few hours, go with a freelancer.  They will do the work, submit it to you, and you can approve or ask for some revisions.  It's pretty simple and this is another reason people love freelancers.

When should I hire an Agency?
I absolutely love working with freelancers because I see them as digital employees I can hire when I need something done, but there's no comparison to an Agency when I have a monumental task that needs to be completed.  Here are a few signals that will tell you if you need an Agency over a freelancer.

You need detailed work each month:  Many agencies work on a 6+ month contract because they know what they are worth.  If you can find a good one that goes month to month that's great, but that won't always happen, so don't be afraid of a contract lol.  If the amount of work you need done consists of them working 40+ hours a week, you'll need to go with an Agency who has the staff to accommodate.  You may need chat support, web design, content generation, etc. in mass and a freelancer won't be able to do that just for you.  Sure, you could hire 10 freelancers for the same price of hiring 1 agency, but you'll now have to manage all of those freelancers, which can be a headache.

You don't have time to test:  If your workload is already full, you won't have time to test out freelancers to figure out who is the best, and this means you're likely better off hiring an agency.  You don't have to worry about an agency getting the job done, submitting late work, or giving you the run around because "They were sick".  You pay for the work to be done, it gets done, and you never had to stop focusing on your own boatload of work to be done.  I like to think of agencies as a sort of manager because they work with their teams and only report to me when they're done or something messes up lol.

In the end, you may want to work with dozens of freelancers instead of just 1 agency, and that's up to you but an agency is less time-consuming.  On the other hand, an agency will require more upfront investment and you aren't really sure how much time they're putting into your work.  So, you'll need to do all of your research prior to sending any money just to be sure you have the right freelancers or agency working on your next project.  Always be sure before you start the job Know when to hire a freelancer and when to hire an Agency




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Hi Tommy,

Thanks for writing the article. Its quite informative, but I feel it misses the single biggest trend happening across marketplaces and elsewhere - the agencies that work as freelancers. What do you think of this hybridised approach?

For customers, I would argue that they are benefiting from an extremely competitive rate backed by strong deliverables that standalone freelancers cannot provide.

In your experience how would you find these hybrid type agencies that are foraying into marketplaces and diversifying?

What are their benefits? etc.

Interest to here your thoughts. I would just say that in the little article, it's not necessarily any new information that we haven't heard many times over. But thanks for your 2 cents!

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Hey GodOfLinks,

Great questions Know when to hire a freelancer and when to hire an Agency

In your experience how would you find these hybrid type agencies that are foraying into marketplaces and diversifying?

I see agencies going into marketplaces and selling smaller services as a way to use a loss leader approach to bring new clients on board that they can then sell higher ticket items. Think of how McDonald's works, they sell chicken nuggets for a loss but they know the person buying the nuggets is likely there because their child wanted them. This means the parents are now going to buy themselves something to eat, and they likely don't want nuggets, so they'll buy something else. McDonald's has successfully brought these people in, using a loss leader, and they are now profiting because they were actually targeting the parents through the children lol.

Agencies are taking a similar approach, but using cheaper services to put their new clients onto bigger monthly type packages/services. I've actually seen plenty of these agencies get banned on platforms like SEOclerks because they try to take their customers off of the platform in order to get the sales going directly through their own websites.

Also, the term "Agency" is pretty loose right now. There are plenty of people who are freelancers but put up their own marketing "Agency" website and say they're a big deal. The real agencies aren't really selling on marketplaces, it's more of a freelancer who thinks they're an agency, which is where the hybrid agency/freelancer comes in. The 10mil+ companies aren't on small marketplaces trying to pull in clients, they're using their own brand name and ranking skills to pull in clients. They also get a lot of referrals from their top dollar clients, so they don't really have to search too much lol Know when to hire a freelancer and when to hire an Agency

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