My LinkedIn profile has never been busier with views during the Covid-19 lock-down. With many business owners kicking their heels waiting to get back into their stores, it has become obvious to them, they will have to look again at online remote orders.
During lock-down, many design agencies were forced to close their doors. The only alternative was to look for freelancers that work from home. The thing with design agencies, everyone has their particular strength or position. They tend to work collaboratively. This means it was harder for them to work productively on jobs from home effectively.
Freelance work is something I believe will become a lot stronger after the pandemic. The price point is also very different. A freelancer’s overheads are extremely low, passing on the savings, namely lower client fees. Does this mean their work is not as good as an agency? Not at all. A freelancer is only as good as their last job. Customer referrals define freelancing. If a freelancer upsets clients, they will not work for long because they will not get any work. Also, many freelancers started life as a freelancer, went to work in an agency, hated it, and then returned as a freelancer running their own business.
It is true, you may not choose the best freelancer, however, if you look at their reviews and their work, you should find a good one, (at a fraction of the cost of an agency contract). If you are careful, and never pay too much upfront, then you will minimise the risk if you have done your homework. For example, 30% deposit, 30% after wireframe sign-off, (post-contract), 40% on sign-off. The reason why you need to pay 60% early on, even though you are engaging a freelancer, depending on the complexity of the job, they may need to engage outsourced developers.
Contracts are important. At the start of your relationship, you send over a brief. If the freelancer wants the job they will send you a proposal communicating the common-ground understanding. If you accept the proposal, when asking for a deposit payment, the freelancer will set out the terms of the contract and your obligations regarding payment. If this is something you are unhappy with, you can re-negotiate. If all is well, you can pay the deposit and start along the process.
In life, nothing is set in stone, things can change, problems arise. Take for example Covid-19. Who saw that coming. In your contract, there will be a time-scale. A time-scale you will want to see followed. If a problem does arise, and the freelancer is late for any reason, find out why. Do not pay any further money without clarification, or an agreed time-scale adjustment. Nine times out of ten, the problem will be that the freelancer has been delayed by an outsourcer provider a logo or a developer providing a database for you. The same problems can, and do, arise in agencies, because they too engage outsourced talent for jobs they do not have the skills for.
There are a lot of moving parts to a modern website. In my experience, the vast majority of freelancer deliver a fantastic job. Moreover, a freelancer is more likely to want to form a long professional relationship than a design agency would. I believe, freelancing with soon become the new normal.