Currently, eCommerce is the most rising mode of business around the world. With that, if you are also someone who wants to build an eCommerce website, you will probably go for Shopify or WooCommerce. However, with this decision comes a dilemma of agency vs freelancer.
Who will you trust with the responsibility of building your eCommerce website? A web design and development agency or a freelancer of this niche?
Truly speaking, both agencies and freelancers have a fair share of benefits and drawbacks. How to determine then? The solution is to find out which one is the best option for you.
In this blog, we have a brief comparative analysis of agencies and freelancers for developing Shopify or WooCommerce stores.
Well, if you are expecting a “better” label for the agency vs freelancer debate, this blog will disappoint you. Nonetheless, this is an attempt to present why it is a better choice for a particular scenario. Ultimately, the aim is to help you find the answer that is best for you.
Agencies for web development
Usually, the agency model has a hierarchical structure with the owner managing a group of developers, designers, and other relevant people depending on the size of the agency. Some agencies have almost no hierarchy and are basically a group of freelancers working together.
On the contrary, some of them offer multifaceted services in branding, digital marketing, web development, and so on.
These organizations usually have many people working at different stages of the hierarchy. In most cases, agencies have consultants and experts on their team who can suggest ideas that fit your needs.
Here’s a catch, many freelancers form agencies when they deem their skills to be scalable and high-quality.
In a lot of aspects, web development agencies serve the convenience and keep you headache-free. For our discussion of agency vs freelancer for eCommerce website building, here are the reasons why you can go for an agency:
- Structured plans for specific needs:
Usually, most agencies have the groundwork for their potential clients. Hence, they have a set of packages that cater to different problems and are very likely to cover your needs.
For instance, A digital marketing agency has a different segment for Shopify eCommerce website development under which there are 3 different packages. These varied prices and offerings can help you choose what you need easily.
- More accountability and responsibility:
Due to its model, Agencies tend to have more accountability. Moreover, they have managers to report to and consequences when anything goes wrong.
This in turn increases the responsibility level for an agency as well. When you assign a task to an agency, they at times offer inclusive consultancy or after-service delivery or assistance for free. If you do not have time for these details, agencies can be a great gateway to this.
- Diverse expertise and skills:
This is a simple point in our agency vs freelancer argument where agency wins. Most agencies have more than one developer and other employees experts in other areas. This is why if you have varied needs like designing, developing, testing, managing, etc., web development agencies are your go-to place.
- Related services all in one place:
Yes, this point refers to the previous one. Since most agencies have people with varied skills, it is easy to find people for every need in the same place. Along with eCommerce website development, if you want social media marketing, software development, maintenance, etc. services, you are likely to find all of them in a digital marketing agency.
Take Ashwood Agency of Los Angeles for instance. They offer multifaceted needs like digital marketing, content creation, designing, and development all under one umbrella.
- Better management due to teamwork:
At times, it is difficult for a freelancer to juggle between different functions for multiple projects. Here, the agencies have an edge in the agency vs freelancer talk.
Since they have dedicated employees designated for particular functions, agencies can easily achieve productivity and manage tasks at the micro-level better.
- Less risk for their previously tested frameworks:
No, the risk factor does not work for scammy cases only. A major risk aversion for agencies is that they have tested methods or frameworks for projects. Adding to that, they have alternative human resources as well in case one falls sick or cannot work for some reason.
- Capacity for bulk projects:
Usually, agencies form based on scalability. Undoubtedly, agencies are the must-picks if a business wants a bulk of tasks done. Since they have adequate resources and experts, they will gladly take up projects of different sizes yet deliver them efficiently.
- Comparatively higher cost:
Usually, agencies have a higher overhead cost and other adjacent costs resulting in higher prices for their services. So, when your budget is really tight, it is a bad idea to go for a reputed agency. In most cases, reputed agencies maintain a certain market price which you can find through market research.
- Less room for inputs and customization:
While it is a good thing to be out of the responsibility of looking after things, sometimes you want to control them to an extent. However, most agencies have less room for input. Even if they do, it takes a bit of an effort which turns our agency vs freelancer debate turned against the agencies.
- Rigid professional timeframe:
Most digital agencies being structured organizations maintain a specific time for queries and services. All of a sudden, you cannot expect an agency to deliver you a task within 24 hours without prior notice. More so, they have other projects in the pipeline.
- The standard packages often offer generic solutions:
This does not stand for all agencies. However, some agencies offer very generic solutions and basic outputs for their standard projects. If you are looking for innovation and depth, agencies are not good for you.
- Not interested in small projects:
If you are a small enterprise wanting to start your journey in the eCommerce industry, chances are you will be heartbroken. One of the reasons is that big agencies often do not want to work with simple tasks and small projects.
Say, you want to fix a page on your eCommerce website. You may be rejected if the agency does not take up small projects.
Best suited for:
Given the above pros and cons, agencies are best suited to large Shopify brands wanting to renovate, big-budget Shopify startups, and businesses that are focusing on scalability. If you want to be less involved, your task is complex and has layers of work and you need a fixed timeline, agencies are your go-to’s.
If these scenarios match your needs, here is a list of the top 10 Shopify agencies to work with in 2022. If you decide to go for WooCommerce, you can look into this list of top 10 WooCommerce developer agencies to look out for in 2022.
Freelancers for web development
Who are they?
In general, freelancers are independent individuals who work without any direct supervision from anyone. They alone perform the tasks of connecting to clients, planning, working, and delivering projects.
Currently, the majority of web developers are freelancers. In fact, many freelancers have experience working in an agency. At present, there are 1.2 billion freelancers around the world which puts more credibility on the demand for freelancers. Let’s see where freelancers stand in our agency vs freelancer conversation.
- Usually budget-friendly:
Freelancers do not usually have overhead expenses like buildings, utilities, wages, and insurance. In most scenarios, a well-functioning computer is all they need. For this reason, freelancers usually have a lower quote in developing Shopify and WooCommerce websites than that agencies.
However, in some cases, overly skilled freelancers charge more than the agencies which nullifies this benefit point.
- Specialized inputs and expertise for particular tasks:
Since a freelancer is one person, he/she usually has profound knowledge and expertise in a particular topic.
For instance, Mr. Joe (pseudonym) has fame in the market for having unparalleled expertise in designing unique WooCommerce websites. If you are looking for high-quality payment options integration in your eCommerce website, you might want someone who is an expert in this.
- Flexibility and testing:
If you do not have any fixed plans, rather, you want to try out an idea on your website, freelancers are your go-to. Why so? They are usually more flexible and less formal to communicate with.
So, you can easily share your ideas over the phone and make the freelancer implement and test your idea and improvise on the go.
- More scope for your involvement:
In this agency vs freelancer debate, the point for flexibility goes to freelancers. It is a simple concept; you can add your inputs whenever you want to one person more easily than you’d have to in the case of an agency.
- High flexibility in terms of methods and time:
Freelancers often provide the scope for communicating beyond office hours and change the schedule as per needed because he/she does not have to think of an entire team.
You can also request the freelancer for particular methods of executing the project which would not have been easy in the case of agencies.
- All stakes on one person increase risk:
No, we are not trying to bring the concern that freelancers can go out of reach all of a sudden. Because that is a concern to have for agencies as well. Nonetheless, freelancers have a higher risk because due to sickness or other unavoidable issues, a freelancer can go out of work and there will not be many alternatives.
On the other hand, agencies can easily transfer their project to another developer within their agency.
- Multiple services cannot be expected:
A freelancer who is a Shopify web developer expert will not usually provide digital marketing solutions alongside. So, if you want to get done with multiple services from one place, the point goes to agencies in our agency vs freelancer scoreboard.
- Low capacity:
Logically, it is not possible for one freelancer to magically scale up and deliver bulk projects in a short span of time. So, if you need delivery for a large project or have multiple projects, a freelancer will have a hard time delivering you within your desired time. Hence, agencies are the best option for this one.
- Difficulty in synchronization due to cultural differences:
The majority of the freelancers are spread across the world and in most cases, they are in a different time zone. So, communication time synchronization becomes difficult. Often, explaining details also become harder due to language barriers or simply for different trends in the countries.
However, this issue does not usually occur in the case of agencies.
Best suited for:
Based on the above pros and cons, freelancers are a wise option for small businesses and startups with a low budget. Additionally, if you have a small project or a particular task with specialized and customized inputs, freelancers are your best bet.
Making the Final Call
Undoubtedly, this agency vs freelancer debate is a close call for both parties. We cannot put the ‘best’ crown on any of these since it varies from company/individual to company/individual.
However, these are some final points that can help you make a better decision. Firstly, make sure they have experience in your niche or industry. Then on, take market reports on their experiences. Lastly, evaluate word of mouth and recommendations.
These combined with our rigorous comparison analysis, you can easily make your decision. Furthermore, if you are particularly looking for a helpdesk solution for your eCommerce business, the definite answer is MyAlice. Sign up to MyAlice today for free and check it out!.