I’d like to start off by sharing that I’ve worked with many clients while I was just a freelancer myself. Freelancers have a place, obviously since there are so many out there and many brands work with them. However, as with everything, there is no one size that fits everyone.
The second thing I’d like to mention, which is probably its own post itself, is how selecting the right design partner is crucial. Many times, I’ve worked with clients who selected a freelancer or agency based on price, and that is a terrible way to make a decision. I’ve had too many people come to me after a bad experience through that decision process, and it is usually more expensive than if they had chosen the right partner in the first place.
Often people assume a freelancer will be easy to work with, low cost, and fast, but if this were always the case firms would go extinct. With that, here are three reasons why you should use a firm instead of a freelancer.
When looking at the cost of a freelancer, many have rates much lower than a firm would. But what does that cost end up being? Do you need 10 different freelancers to get the expertise you need on a project? There are costs to managing individuals and having additional conversations to convey everything happening to separate people.
The value proposition for working with a firm instead of a freelancer is quite different and can be more cost effective when looking at the true cost and value provided. Choosing a good firm over freelancing usually means you will have less project management overhead because it’s handled by the firm, not adding effort to your team.
Overall, firms provide greater value to their clients than freelancers do. This is why their pricing is higher. Often, this is a time and money exchange. Firms already have teams of people on board or who they can bring on board quickly, saving time in vetting. This also means that can bring together a multi-discipline team together quicker, easier, and therefore less costly overall.
If you value time over money, then working with a firm is the best value for you. You must look at all the time spent on a project that a firm can take over and do quicker than you. To do this, you need to understand what the firm is taking over for you. With the right firm, they will be able to take on everything you can’t do or do slowly and do it faster. This includes finding other resources.
One of the biggest time savings a firm can offer is their network. They have often spent years, even decades, finding and vetting all kinds of service providers that they can hand you on a silver platter in a short amount of time. This can be something a single very experience freelancer can do, but with a firm you are getting access to the network of the company as a whole but also the network of each individual in the firm.
When you hire a freelancer, you hire one person, that’s it. There are times this will work, but if you are needing multiple disciplines, you would need to go through a hiring and vetting process several times. This is where the scalability of firms really shines. When planning long term, you’ll also want to think about who you may need in the future.
Ideally, your product is so successful that you will need more design and development support. A firm (like the Peterman Firm) can grow with you because it will have the resources needed, either in-house or already vetted, to help you. Typically a firm can accommodate more rush work and meet tighter deadlines with multiple clients due to the fact that their team will have the resources to properly put toward a project as important as yours.
When thinking about scalability, think long term like 5-10 years down the road. If you want your design and development team to be an expert in your business and products and you want to grow quickly, working with a firm is often a great choice because the “pain” of growing a team quickly to meet demand is the firm’s problem, not yours. Firms naturally scale up and down with the projects they take on, so they are often built to scale. Not every firm is built this way, some only take on work that fits their current team, but others, like the Peterman Design Firm, scale based on the project and have in-house systems to accommodate this kind of growth.
Your job is important and working with a team means the flexibility is there to put whatever hours are needed to get your project done. Firms can offer more resources with easier lines of communication that hiring a group of individual freelancers to do the job.
Hiring a great firm will give you more knowledge and experience about the design and development process, this means better decision making for your future projects.
Firms are sometimes perceived as being slow, stuffy, or overpriced. While they do cost more, price isn’t value. At the Peterman Firm, we offer far more than just a designer or developer. We’ve gone far beyond the days of it just being me, a freelancer, working on a couple projects at a time and only able to offer my skill set. Working with a firm, either us or someone else, means you should get more expertise quicker, which means less wasted time, our most valuable currency.
We work with our clients to provide resources and support every step of the way, which means you aren’t using a series of freelancers to get your project done. This saves you time and money in finding and then managing all the different people needed to bring a product to life.
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Working with different clients, I learned that there are many things that I find important. One of these important things is how to make it easier when you hire a designer. I found out that these three things are crucial if you want to hire the best designer for your project.