When you’re considering outsourcing your WordPress website development and maintenance, you have the choice of working with a full agency or hiring a freelancer.
There are a lot of factors to consider among these options and it isn’t a decision you’ll want to make blindly. Here, we’re going to break down the differences between freelancers and agencies to help you make a fully-informed decision.
Ease of Contact
When you hire a WordPress developer you need to be able to contact them and get a swift response. After all, if your website is broken or down, it needs to be fixed immediately so it won’t deter customers or cut into your profits.
A WordPress maintenance agency has multiple points of contact. You have the developer you’re working with directly as well as a customer service line. These lines are typically open 24/7, 365 days a year. In other words, you always have a point of contact to get a fast response to your requests.
On the other hand, a freelancer is only one person. No matter how talented they are, they aren’t going to be able to answer you at any hour every day. This isn’t a fault with the freelancer, it’s just one of the cons of working with a singular, independent party. When you work with a WordPress development agency, you’re essentially working with a team rather than a single person who has their own needs and splits their time up between you and other clientele.
This is a particular problem when it comes to finding a freelancer. For every good, reliable freelancer, there’s plenty more that are unreliable. If you suddenly lose your point of contact when working with a WordPress developer, it can cause a huge halt in progress and profit while you look for a new one.
There is also the issue of reliability when the freelancer can’t necessarily control it. If someone takes a day off when they work with a WordPress maintenance agency, there are other agents available to help you. If a freelancer is sick or suddenly has to take off, you don’t have another person to turn to in their place.
When you’re looking for a WP maintenance service, the cost is an important factor. You have to consider what your company can afford and balance the benefits.
If you work with an agency, you pay a pre-set monthly rate for a WordPress website maintenance plan. These are displayed explicitly on an agencies’ websites and tell you exactly what you’re getting out of them.
Take WPDandy, for instance. You possibly already observed that email support, WordPress Security, as well as monthly reports, back up, and updates come at a cost of $69 a month. If you want additional services, you can look at plans that include more services, you can look at the flat rate for those.
Freelancers, on the other hand, don’t typically have pre-set WordPress website maintenance packages. Instead, freelancers and clients typically negotiate costs based on the services you need and how much time and energy it takes on the freelancers part. If you need to add additional services later on, you’ll have to go through this negotiation again.
As we mentioned before, there’s a higher chance that you’ll lose a freelancer than an agency. If this happens, you have to worry about the monetary repercussions of the period when you’re trying to find a new freelancer.
The basic principle behind WordPress development services is that you’re hiring an expert who can handle a job that you can’t or don’t have time for. If you hire someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, you’re losing both time and money.
When you work with a WordPress development company, you can generally trust the quality you’ll receive from them. This is because employees go through a rigorous training process to work for a company and their performance is regularly evaluated to ensure they meet the standards of that company.
Freelancers, on the other hand, don’t have this same training standard. There’s also a lot of room for freelancers to stretch their skill set to be more impressive to potential clients. For example, they may say they’ve managed WordPress before when they haven’t.
There are also mistakes that some freelancers make early on in their career. They may offer their services as in WordPress support with the intent of learning by doing. Others might try to impress new clients with tight deadlines that they can’t meet. Even if these errors are born out of good intentions, it doesn’t make for the best, timely custom WordPress development you need right away.
That isn’t to say that all freelancers are malicious or deceitful. There are plenty of freelancers that operate in a professional, trustworthy manner. However, if you need WordPress support and maintenance, it can be a problem if you hire someone only to see them give subpar work. It loses you not only time but a broken or insufficient website will hurt profits as well.
This concept is rather straight to the point. When you work with WordPress support services through an agency, you have access to a number of people with a number of specialties. This means that you have an expert opinion on every aspect of web design and management. Agencies aim to cover the big picture and, in doing so, pay attention to every little detail to make that big picture come to life.
Freelancers, on the other hand, are typically highly specialized. Since they work independently, they know they don’t have time to learn every potential skill in their field, so they focus their energy into being an expert in a specific niche. This makes freelancers great if you have a corner of your website that you need outside help on. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to completely outsource overall WordPress site maintenance, it’s going to cost you a lot to pay for specialized freelancers for every part of that maintenance.
Single Person Vs. a Team
We mentioned earlier that reliable freelancers have excellent time management. They give you accurate but competitive deadlines and they meet those deadlines.
The downfall is that this means they need some notice to complete jobs that lie outside of the originally negotiated workload. If you need a large or complex task done, you probably aren’t going to be able to get it done almost automatically.
Of course, this shouldn’t be a day-to-day problem. But, if your website suddenly crashes or there’s a security error, you can’t necessarily wait until the freelancer you’re working with has time. It’s also an unrealistic expectation to think that a freelancer can drop everything they’re working on for you and other clients to take on a complicated, brand new task.
This can be summed up to one of the inherent downfalls of working with an independent freelancer. Agencies, once again, have strength in numbers. They also typically have set deadlines on orders that are company policy to maintain. WPDandy ensures that all problems are answered within a 24-hour turnaround time and they have a team to make that happen. When you use an agency, you aren’t dependant on a single person’s schedule and workload.
When you decide you need to outsource WordPress development, you probably aren’t going to want to take forever to find someone to do it.
Hiring a freelancer has a lot of the same steps as hiring an employee. You have to look for a freelancer who has the skillset you need which is usually done by using a platform that connects freelancers and clients.
Then, you either wait for freelancers to contact you about a job ad you put up or you can forego the wait and contact freelancers you’re interested in directly. Either way, you’ll go through an interview process to find the right candidate. As with any other interview process, you may not go with the first person you talk to.
When you work with an agency, it’s a much quicker process. Once you choose the WordPress outsource agency, you’re automatically enrolled in the WordPress maintenance plan of your choice and connected with the specific agent that will help you handle your website. There’s no interviewing or hiring process – you can just get the website maintenance services you need right away.
One of the biggest risks with freelancers is that they can technically leave whenever they want. Since they aren’t bound to your project the same way an employee does, so it isn’t set in stone that you’ll have the courtesy of a two-week notice.
If a freelancer is going to disappear, it can happen all at once but there are also some warning signs. The main thing to watch out for is reduced work quality or suddenly missed deadlines. This could even happen with a freelancer that seems like a perfect fit from the beginning. That’s why it’s so important to look back over a freelancer’s work. This can be a particular problem if you’re hiring a freelancer because you don’t know how to do the tasks you’re delegating.
Agencies, on the other hand, are more reliable. Even if the person who’s working on your case leaves the company, another will seamlessly come in to help you. When you’re working with an entire, trustworthy company, they’re going to carefully carry out their business mission and deliver the quality and passion of that mission.
It’s also much easier for freelancers to leave because they’re typically paid after a job is done. This usually leaves clients in a tight spot because that freelancer hasn’t taken anything they weren’t owed. In large part, freelancers don’t tend to do this. For many, their work is their passion as well as a primary source of income. That being said, it’s a risk worth acknowledging all the same.
Variable Rates Shift Loyalties
This is specifically an issue when you work with freelancers. Talented freelancers are offered jobs quite frequently but they don’t have time to take on every job introduced to them. This means that they have to prioritize these offers to maximize their profit.
This makes sense – everyone wants to get the most for their money. As a business owner, you probably have to make some of the same decisions yourself.
There’s a downside to this, though. If the freelancer you’re working with is offered the same job at a higher rate from another client, they’re going to consider going to that client. This can put you between a rock and a hard place because you might have to choose between finding a new freelancer or increasing your payments to compete.
As we’ve already discussed, agencies offer their WordPress services for a consistent rate. You don’t have to worry about that rate changing because of client competition.
Flat Rates vs. Hourly Fees
When you’re outsourcing work, you’re not directly supervising what’s happening. This is why flat-rate fees work so well. Someone completes a set list of tasks and gets paid a set amount of money for those tasks.
There are some freelancers who charge hourly. This way, they get compensated for the time it takes to complete the tasks set in front of them. This poses a risk to the client because they can’t directly see that a client uses the hours they bill for. Some freelancing websites have the choice of only letting clients bill hours that are tracked. These use systems such as timed screenshots to ensure that a freelancer is working during the hours they’re logging. This isn’t a perfect system and it can be time-saving to opt out of an hourly system altogether.
When it comes to choosing between an agency and a freelancer, there is a lot to consider. Agencies, though, can help you quickly find a WordPress website maintenance plan that does exactly what you need it to with a strong support system and predictable payment plan.