The digital world we live in has begun to alter the workforce in profound ways.
The greatest example of this over the past few years is the rise of the Gig economy.
As the workforce begins to shift away from the traditional 9 - 5 structure, freelancers are now commonly hired by businesses of all sizes. We’re not just talking about Uber here. From freelance web designers to high-value business consultants, more and more professionals have begun to offer their services on a for-hire basis.
Many freelancers cite the increased creative freedom and work-life balance for making the move.
However, this change also has many benefits for businesses. When it comes to creative projects such as designing a website, freelancers offer tremendous value and several benefits over an agency at significant savings. In this post, we’ll be looking at the main benefits a business can gain by hiring a freelancer.
Freelancers are Highly Qualified
Don’t think that just because you’re hiring a freelancer that your project will receive a lower quality of service. Many freelancers generally gained their skills by working at a creative shop such as an advertising agency. A qualified freelancer will have experience working on many different brands and creative projects.
This allows them to draw on their wide range of experience to develop unique insights for your project. And as we’ll get into later in this post, freelancers can provide a more flexible and customized service that can result in better outcomes. Read: Why Hiring a Freelance Web Developer Makes Sense for Small Businesses
Freelancers are More Affordable than their Alternatives
Freelancers are much more affordable than hiring another business or agency - there’s no debate about it. This has been one of the main driving factors behind the gig economy. For example, a freelance web designer in New Jersey would likely charge between $2k - $10k for a website (depending on how big the project/business is). However, an agency would likely charge more around $10k - $20k for the same project. It makes sense why they would have to, even if the scope of the project and quality of work is similar.
The agency has much more overhead due to its employees, office rent, equipment, and benefits.
Meanwhile, a freelancer is generally a solo entrepreneur with a dramatically lower overhead and is responsible for their own healthcare/benefits. In short, freelancers have a business model that takes tens of thousands of dollars less to operate than agencies. It’s easy to see how they’re able to pass those savings on to you. The dramatically lower operating expenses have helped freelancers flourish in the gig economy. Freelancers are also more affordable than hiring a salaried employee.
One of the few things I remember from my college accounting class is that it costs on average 30% more than an employee's salary to hire them. In other words, the sticker price of an employee can be misleading. That extra 30% comes from payroll taxes and other benefits, but with freelancers, your company doesn’t have to incur this expense.
With Freelancers, There’s No Onboarding
Hiring a new employee is an exciting time. However, it can take a few weeks to months for them to be fully integrated and able to contribute. Organizations today rely so much on internal and learned knowledge that there’s no getting past this without a few growing pains.
However, when you hire a freelancer there is no wasted time getting up to speed. The best freelancers have a defined process that enables them to produce great work that takes into account the business and project needs. An experienced freelancer with a well thought out process will allow you to get started on your project right away. Just like other services in the gig economy, freelancers provide their services in a direct, on-demand way.
For example, once we agree to terms with a client we immediately book a kickoff meeting and strategy session. We know what information we typically need from a client to design a website, and we have an agenda to keep the meeting productive. This process allows us to hit the ground running once the project begins.
If you were to hire an employee internally for a contract role, they would have to go through the typical HR and corporate paperwork that will ultimately delay the project.
The Freelance Model Benefits Businesses Too
The flexibility freelancers have has direct benefits for the companies they work with. They can offer their clients a more customized service that makes better sense for the project or business. After all, one size does not fit all. Freelancers can tailor their process to your companies needs better than a traditional agency. Need to get a website up as fast as possible for a big meeting? A freelancer can work with you to develop something quickly.
However, an agency would likely tell you your project is in a queue and will need to wait. It’s important to note that freelancers can provide better customer service too. If your project isn’t the biggest budget project an agency is working on, it’s not uncommon for it to be handled by a JR designer in the back corner of the office who’s work is only occasionally check in on my senior designers.
Today, freelancers are more like high-quality consultants than for-hire workers.
The background and skills needed to successfully freelance can translate into unique insights and solutions for your project that an agency or in house employee may struggle to produce.
Freelancers provide tremendous benefits over traditional employees and agencies. As the gig economy has grown, freelancers have become much more popular. If you have a one-time creative project in mind (like developing a new logo or website) it’s almost certain you can find a high-quality freelancer in your area to help.