October 30, 2012 Daniel Burns

A blog discussing the benefits of working with a website design firm over a freelance web designer.

What’s the difference between a website design firm and a freelance web designer? Well, there are several major differences; here are the ones that are the most important.

1. A website design firm has accountability:  Whenever you hire a website design firm, you get a tangible body of people responsible for the creation of your site and ensuring that it runs smoothly and meets your expectations.  If there is ever a problem with your website or it isn’t perfect, even if you just want to tweak something, you can turn to your design firm for assistance.  If you hire a freelance designer you have no guarantees that you will be able to contact them in the future if there is an issue.

2. A website design firm has resources: Not only does a design firm typically have multiple designers at their disposal but they also have top of the line software and platforms to work with.  Firms also have financial resources which allow them to stay on the edge of new technology in website design.  Freelance designers do not generally have access to other designers willing to collaborate unless they charge an additional fee.  Without the financial backing of the firm, freelance designers may not have the most current platforms and software.

3. A website design firm can afford to offer more reasonable fees: Website design firms have a much higher volume of traffic coming through their doors which means they have higher annual revenue.  With a firm juggling multiple clients constantly and the demand for such work only growing, they can afford to offer reasonable prices to their clients.  In order for a freelance designer to survive, they need to either complete a high volume of well-priced work or a lesser volume of higher-priced work. Either way something has to give. If a freelancer is completing high volumes of work they must be quick with each contract and this leaves room for error and little time for post-maintenance work.  If they are doing a low volume then they need to charge more in order to make enough revenue to get by.

Web design is a competitive market with many firms and freelancers vying for your business on a daily basis.  It’s in your best interest to do a lot of research and talk to people who had a website design firm build their site.  Are they satisfied with it? How has customer service been since?  How was the pricing? And most importantly, would they recommend them?  Internet business is largely word-of-mouth perpetuated so finding a good website design firm through colleagues or friends should be easy.  Consider a firm that has a track record of great work and great customer service.  Using a freelancer is always an option but it can be a pretty large financial gamble if it doesn’t pan out how you had hoped.  Businesses thrive on sure-bets and guarantees; although taking risks on certain things is advisable, some aspects of your business aren’t worth the gamble!

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