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Why Do WordPress Agencies Charge More Than Freelancers?

As a WordPress agency, we often get inquiries for work that gets questioned in terms of total project cost or a plan. Small business owners and individual clients reply with offers from freelancers and ask us why our costs are higher than the ones by a regular freelancer.

WordPress Agencies are Not for Everyone

First off, hiring a WordPress development agency may not be the right choice for your business. There is a certain additional overhead when hiring a whole company that is significantly higher as compared to an individual – a solopreneur or a freelancer – that should be taken into account. We’ve covered some of the differences in our Employee vs. Freelancer vs. Agency article, and each option has its own pros and cons.

Freelancers are suitable for minor customizations, longer projects that don’t require active development (such as 200-600 hours a month), or helping out a team with a specific module or building a new component for a system. Most freelancers can afford working from home, a co-working space or a coffee shop, don’t invest in marketing, and don’t have certain expenses that larger teams have.

Hiring an agency with 10, 20 or 50 people on staff means a much different workflow that brings additional expenses. For example, at DevriX we have several employees responsible for office management, business development and research or other activities that are not directly billable for us. We invest in marketing and sales in order to fill up our pipeline of regular projects. We have office costs, taxes and insurance expenses for employees, and additional fees that we need to cover for different purposes.

Additionally, since our technical, creative and marketing teams are growing, we need team leaders and project managers who can oversee the work, make sure that it’s implemented effectively, distribute responsibilities to team members who are familiar with a certain technology or stack, coordinate code reviews and navigate the quality assurance process with our testers.

Working with an agency is beneficial when it comes to security (having more people able to tackle on an assignment, and a project manager in charge), potentially higher code quality when several people perform code reviews and the process includes automated testing or other goodies, and ongoing scalability given the diverse expertise of our WordPress developers. That said, small businesses – non-profitable sites, businesses that just start or marketing portfolios – may not yet be in need of a professional solution that performs better and scales further – even though a poorly coded solution may have a massive impact on your SEO, user experience or general marketing strategy.

Technical Expertise and Ongoing Professional Development

Freelancers who have been working solo for several years have to wear multiple hats – dealing with negotiations, writing proposals for new projects, working on a couple or more projects at a time, deal with accounting, some personal marketing and so forth. As time flies by, new technologies emerge, WordPress gets three major updates a year, new tools are being developed that could improve the quality of work for a developer and so forth.

Agencies invest – directly and indirectly – in the ongoing professional development of front-end and back-end developers in the WordPress field. We do implement several different strategies that improve the skills and the code quality of our staff in multiple ways, such as:

  • several people work together on a project, help each other and discuss different strategies to solve a problem
  • we offer training courses, seminars, books and other educational materials that our team can use – some of that happens during business hours
  • our technical leads follow different sources and spend time researching innovative technologies, libraries and tools that could improve our process – we test these for some of our internal projects first in order to gain expertise and validate assumptions
  • working with many engineers in the same team helps for solving a large group of problems with people experienced in different verticals, and knowledge is further on shared across the group

Effective Use of Skills for Problems

The web industry is ever-growing and nowadays consists of dozens of high-end specialties, each one having a large group of specific skills that a single human being cannot understand and implement efficiently at all times.

For example, a site includes a design that should be usable, i.e. implementing user experience best practices. That same design should be converted to HTML, CSS and JavaScript – being three different “technologies”, and be mobile friendly as well. That design is to be incorporated into a WordPress theme whereas all dynamic components such as menus, sidebars, footer widgets, and general content areas must be connected properly and coordinated with the backend. A number of features should be built as custom plugins by a back-end developer who should be aware of the front-end specifics and business needs through a manager who can navigate the implementation details that should serve a given purpose given the target audience.

That final product should be bundled together and hosted at a specific server environment, very well optimized for speed and security, which increases the user experience and overall quality of the product, and also positively affects the website in its online marketing efforts. SEO and marketing people can build a strategy – both before, during and after the development process – including certain custom landing pages for products or services sold by the business owner, social media strategy, affiliate campaigns, email automation sequences, planning the content marketing efforts, building partnerships and monitoring the analytics stats while adjusting creative, technical and marketing forces in the right direction.

Working with a WordPress agency employing creative staff, developers, marketing experts and other professionals could offer a complete solution for a profitable business that wants to bring their venture to the next level. If you are interested in learning more about our work process and how we work, fill out this questionnaire and let’s talk.

2 Comments

  1. James Hipkin says:

    I get asked this question almost every week. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    While I agree with everything you’ve said, there is one fact that I find resonates with prospective customers. While Fred the Freelancer may be as capable as our guys on a good chunk of the project, say half, he won’t have the experience and expertise that the other half requires, he will have to figure it out. Whereas our team has a broad range of experience, we put the right people on the tasks rather than asking one person to figure it out.

    1. mpeshev says:

      Absolutely, thanks for the follow-up, James! I did try to cover that bit in the article, probably not too explicit, so definitely worth clarifying here.

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