Why might hiring an agency be right for you?
Deciding to outsource design to an agency isn’t a decision taken lightly. The decision is trickier still when it involves such a creative - and vital - role as design.
Will they suit the team we have already? Will they think and work in the same way we do? Obviously, these are questions that cannot be answered until you start working with somebody.
What you can work out is whether the time is right to hire an agency - But how? Here are some signs that hiring an agency is right for your business, now.
1) You're turning down work
There are various reasons to turn down work, but this one could be avoidable if design creation is the cause. You may have “done a bit of InDesign” in the past, but leaning on your Graphic Design A Level isn't enough any more. You might be able to get there in the end, but if work is backing up this approach becomes ineffective.
What about Freelance? It could be a great short term fix. But be careful. If you are ready to go full-time, sticking with freelancers could become ineffective too.
In 2013, the number of businesses hiring freelancers online increased 46%
2) Your output has slowed
Relying on freelancers to outsource design could slow down your service to the point where it costs you business.
If you have to wait for them to become available again, the deadline may have passed. The alternative of finding a fresh freelancer could end in the same result. Sourcing someone, bringing them up to speed and ensuring consistency, all take time. Your customer could go elsewhere.
There's another potential problem. How often are your customers expanding the amount of work or shortening the deadline? Being unable to complete hinders your growth and progress. Hiring a competent agency who can provide a range of services would avoid this.
3) The work isn't getting results or seems below standard
You’ve got ambition, you’ve got passion and you want the design of your campaigns to ooze this. No matter how enthusiastic you are in a kick-off meeting, you may simply fail to get your message across to a less-engaged colleague. A design agency live and breath these qualities. They are on standby to interpret your passion and develop concepts, designs and messages to take your campaign to the next level. Not only will they share your passion - but will be able to share their many years of experience with you from day one.
Their insight into cutting edge techniques, previously accomplished campaigns and detailed log of ‘lessons learnt’ can transform your ideas into lead generation workhorses that provide incredible value for money and save you hours of time and effort.
4) Work is becoming inconsistent
Nothing screams, “we’re punching above our weight!” like an inconsistent approach.
Whichever aspect of design you are covering, continually using freelancers could lead to inconsistency in approach (interacting with the client) or output (differing styles of finished product).
In the long run, both of these will cost you work, unless you police it properly. But do you have the time?
5) Too many ideas, too little time
You may have in-house designers that can do the basics, or what is being requested - you may still be able to get by with the odd bit of freelance help. But as the work floods in and the number of plates you’re spinning increases, you will find yourself short on time to execute the many ideas you have floating around your head.
You might not be able to spend time reviewing and guiding work for a technically able, but less-creative employee.
If there are more pressing strategic tasks to complete it is time to outsource design work to an agency.
6) Finally, your finances will tell you it's time
If you are forever paying freelancer fees, or budget is being spent on an ineffective in house team on yearly salaries - it would be better to invest in a full-time, accountable agency. It brings the benefits of delegation mentioned earlier and offers scope for taking on extra work, as you can take one more thing off your to-do list.
You can also negotiate contracts regularly, hire on a per-project basis or ‘lock-in’ your commitment for as long as you wish. Rather than providing someone with a 9-to-5, you can work with a business that understand your needs clearly and let them get to it.