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Less is More: Why Your Web & Design Projects Are Better Off With Small Agencies Or Freelancers

by Diana Stutz

Our struggling economy has created an intensely competitive environment in all industries, not excluding creative services. It seems overrun with an extremely diverse choice of designers, agencies and the like to build your website, design your print materials, promote your image or add flare/interactivity to your project. Choices range from dirt-cheap oversees website companies that often miss the mark and offer limited communication; to mid-size/large agencies with intimidating costs, drawn-out timelines, and bloated overhead; to a plethora of independent small agencies and freelancers that don't carry big name agency recognition/confidence.

The good news is that everyone, large and small, is vying for your business... the bad news is - how do you decide on who to work with when there are so many options? It's a daunting task, but here are four convincing arguments on why you'd be better off working with an experienced small/single-ownership design agency or freelancer.

1. Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen?

Some of the biggest challenges in client and mid-size/large agency relationships are communication breakdowns, extensive project timelines, and cost effectiveness. Communication often becomes too complicated and muddled with the lack of direct contact with creative staff who are designing/developing your project. More paperwork, meetings, and staff means more time and money billed to the client. Small agencies and freelancers offer quick responses by eliminating the extraneous paperwork, account representatives and salespersons, to simply focus on getting your job done more efficiently with less cost. An additional benefit gained in working with the small agency and freelancer is that off-peak business hours are used to meet deadlines and maximize creativity.

2. Big Agency = Big Cost

Mid-size to large agencies equal mid-size to large overhead. Smaller firms and freelancers can translate their lower operating costs of office space and staff, directly to their clients. More efficient workflow adds up to less cost to the client.

3. Don't Get Left in the Dust

Every client enjoys the benefit of being a VIP when working with small firms and freelancers. Larger firms are known to focus resources and attention to high-budget projects. Quick turnaround and personalized attention is an advantage to working with small agencies or freelancers. You can work directly with your companies principals and/or designers through every phase of your project. Additionally, small firms and freelancers are simpler, more flexible and cost effective to work with on updates and tweaks after project completion. Often, these "tweaks" are big bucks from larger agencies (after you contact your account rep, who talks to the office manager, who discusses it with the creative director and asks for the work to be done by the staffer who did the original job!).

4. Creativity Unleashed

Innovation, originality, cutting-edge technology and great design are the main goals of a small firm or freelancer because the designer(s) own the company. Design and development isn't just a part of client project work, it's the main focus.


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