The battle of designers: is in-house or agency right for your business?

Should you hire an in-house design and marketing team, or would an agency be better for your business? This is the inevitable question that pops up time and time again when growing a company.

Spoiler alert – before we delve into some of the advantages and disadvantages of both, there really isn’t a right or wrong answer. It will depend on several factors including skillset, budget, and your requirements.

If you’re unsure on the difference, an in-house team will be employed by your company as staff, usually in a full-time capacity. Agencies are independent and work with several clients. You can generally hire them on a one-off or an ongoing basis.

Whichever route you decide to take, there will be pros and cons. That’s why we’re here to iron some of them out before you dive in.

Advantages of using a creative agency

Outsourcing your design or marketing to a creative agency is a good idea if you have a big project in mind, such as a new website or a rebrand, because you can hire them on a one-off basis. This is a particularly good advantage if your budget doesn’t stretch to a full-time team.

Often operating in fast-paced environments and dealing with multiple clients from a wide range of industries, creative agencies are more likely to bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to the table.

Another advantage is they’re more likely to have access to the latest technology and software, as well as larger teams with broader skillsets available. This may make them more inclined to push the limits and take some risks with your projects compared to an in-house team.

Advantages of hiring an in-house team

One of the key differences between an in-house team and an agency is that in-house colleagues are paid to live and breathe your company. They work for you day-in, day-out, and know everything there is to know about your brand.

This is one of the biggest advantages of hiring an in-house team, because of the familiarity they will have with your company culture and goals. They’re likely to have a deeper understanding of your products or services, and they may be more personally invested in helping you succeed.

In-house design and marketing teams can also be a little more flexible, so if you change your mind or your priorities shift, you can stop or start new projects at no additional cost. They’re also likely to be able to complete last-minute jobs with little hassle.

Disadvantages of using a creative agency

Agencies need to pay their staff, their overheads and also make a profit from their projects, so this could result in a higher initial cost compared to that of an employee. Of course, everyone’s budgets are different and the price you pay upfront for an agency should bring a significant return on investment once their work is implemented.

Another disadvantage is that colleagues at an agency are likely to work remotely or in their own offices, meaning the team might not be available at the drop of a hat. Efficient communication methods and well-established boundaries should help to overcome this, though.

Disadvantages of hiring an in-house team

Hiring a permanent team can be costly, and there can also be HR headaches involved such as recruitment, retention, as well as continuous learning and development requirements.

Building a strong in-house team requires a lot of time and resources. Then, even if you hire the very best candidates in your industry, there will still be a limit to their skillsets. You would likely need to hire a very large team to cover the diverse expertise and knowledge that an agency could provide – and this would soon add up.

An in-house team is definitely a long-term investment, with employee costs, equipment and software expenses to consider. If your requirements are short-term, one-off or part-time, then hiring a team might not be the best option for you.

Best of both worlds

Like we mentioned before, there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all solution to this question. In-house teams and agencies both have pros and cons and only you can decide which ones take priority for your business.

We often find that the best option for many brands incorporates a hybrid solution, utilising the advantages of both and limiting the disadvantages. For example, perhaps you could hire a smaller in-house team to cover your day-to-day design and marketing tasks, then bring an agency on board for the bigger, one-off projects.

Here at Wildish & Co, we’re an independent creative agency, so of course you might think we’re a little biased. However, we only want to work with clients if it’s a right fit for both of us, and if we think you’d be better suited to an in-house employee or team, we’ll always let you know.

If you do need some help with you branding, campaigns or digital design and you’re looking for an agency to combine creativity with originality to help you achieve your goals

get in touch!

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