Agency -VS- Freelancer


We describe ourselves as "small but mighty"–or even better–"small by design" because these phrases represent a value we bring when we partner with clients.

While we purpose those idioms to compare ourselves favorably to larger agencies, they do represent very real themes that define just how different we are from the classic big agency. In the same way, a case should be made for how we, as a small agency, differ from the other end of the creative spectrum–independents or creative freelancers.

First, let us start by saying Columbus has some amazing freelancers. In fact, we often bring in the best-of-the-best when the needs of a client require a specific expertise outside of our own. However, we want to offer a nuanced perspective on how the small agency differs from the freelancer landscape out there.

Here is a (hopefully fair, but not exhaustive) list of pros and cons of working with a small branding agency team vs. an individual freelance creative:

Agency Pros

  • More creative minds and varying perspectives can result in more holistic solutions

  • Diverse industry experience

  • Design specialty plus creative strategy direction

  • Full service account management

  • Standardized time tracking via client portal

  • Integrated writing services

  • Brand strategy & management

  • Broad array of capabilities

  • Standardized processes

  • Activity projections & reporting

  • Easier communication and higher quality with less headaches

  • Workload able to be redistributed to meet deadlines incase of vacations or sick leave

Freelancer Pros

  • Low overhead means able to take smaller budget projects

  • More likely to have the ability to work onsite if needed

  • More focused capabilities / specialties

  • Most likely mid to senior level

  • Design focused, tactical recommendations


Freelancer Cons

  • Manually self-reported time sheets

  • Variable weekly fees based on workload

  • Talents / skillset varies based on individual experience

    Experience varies based on individual’s specialties

  • Standard processes & client-integrated workflows unlikely

  • Client has to work with freelancers schedule (vacations, sick time, other clients)

Agency Cons

  • Budget most likely higher than freelancer

  • Depending on relationship, ramp up and turn-around time could be longer due to collaboration needs

  • Less likely to be available nights and weekends

  • Less likely to have someone available to work on-site


Obviously we’re a little biased, but that bias comes from an honest perspective on being on both sides of the fence–or all three sides if you will (big agency, small “but mighty” agency, and freelancer).

If we’ve sparked any thoughts or additional questions, hit us up! We’d love to continue the conversation.


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