Should you hire a small agency or a freelancer? Whether it’s an ongoing job or a project, you need assistance with your digital marketing. Both small agencies and freelancers have an interest and a certain level of expertise in the digital marketing field. Both work continuously to provide better outcomes to their clients, and ideally, both strive for optimum growth. What is the difference between employing small agencies vs. freelancers?

Despite the clear benefits of outsourcing, the decision to enlist help can be a tough one to make.

“Companies are turning to freelancers rather than hiring hourly or salaried permanent employees. And it makes sense: utilizing freelancers in place of a conventionally constituted staff can, in most cases, allow a company to take greater advantage of the growth and profit potential inherent during times of prosperity.”

Generally, freelancers work alone, while small agencies are composed of a group of (3-6) people who are experts in certain fields. Here are the 5 differences between small agencies vs. freelancers that you should take into consideration when outsourcing.

1. Expertise

Content marketing involves a wide range of skills. As an expert in your industry, whatever that may be, you are the sum of your experiences.
A freelancer can only depend on himself and his knowledge and past experiences. Small agencies are made up of 2-3 +people with varying expertise. To remain competitive, agencies tend to adapt to the latest technologies, implementing them in your project. The same can be said for a freelancer, although a smaller agency has the upper hand here, as they have specialists in different fields, making their level of expertise immediately more advanced, while they already have the necessary communication and collaboration tools in place. They’re essentially a one-stop shop. This means that as a client, all you need is to lay down your objectives and expectations and then measure their output against your ROI benchmarks.

 The Content Marketing Team Matrix by Chris Lake, DueDil’s VP of Inbound Marketing, presents 16 roles and their required skills. Most people possess two or more of the said skills, but those who possess all of them are a rare gem.

2. Dependability

In line with time, a key difference between small agencies vs. freelancers is dependability. An agency has the resources and the manpower to schedule and substitute its workforce with minimum risk to the project and its deadline. With dedicated project managers to designers and programmers, an agency provides minimum risk to your project. It is not always the case with freelancers, but a lot of freelancing jobs are side hustles, is done after a full workday or on the weekend, where an agency is dedicated to their clients the whole day, week, month…

3. Flexibility

Generally speaking, freelancers do not follow the traditional working hours, like an agency would work the normal 8-5. This is very dependent on the freelancer or agency, as some freelancers may not take calls over the weekend, or you may find an agency that goes above and beyond to provide the best results for your campaign.  

4. Costs

It is generally true that agencies are more expensive than hiring freelancers. Outsourcing a freelancer usually means you only pay them for their time and the rate the freelancer evaluates himself, no taxes, offices, or software.
When working with an agency, no matter how small or large, your bill is also covering overheads along with reliability and proven quality that goes with the name of the agency.

“When you hire an agency, you’ll be paying per individual project or month. Usually, they work on a contract basis and they cost more than a freelancer but less than in-house employees in the long-run.
Despite the fact that an agency’s hourly rate would be higher than your full-time employee, you won’t be needing to pay for overhead costs, taxes, benefits, or have to deal with any of the other costs associated with full-time teams.” 

5. Time

Consider turnaround time, and with that, the project management.  An agency typically works 8-5, whereas freelancers don’t have set working hours. There are pros and cons to both small agencies and freelancers when it comes to the turnaround time. With a small agency, you will always have the promise of getting the job done, as there is more than one person able to take on the project. As a client, factor in what effect sick days, work overload, and annual leave may have on your campaign.


Hire a small agency if:

  • The project is complex and you need multiple work streams and phases to manage.
  • Need multiple specialists
  • On a hard deadline
  • Not always free to keep eye on the project

Hire a freelancer if:

  • Your project is small
  • You can easily manage two or more freelancers
  • You don’t need multiple specialists in different working fields

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