AskFreelancers questions Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

Web designer Simon North, the creator of the HelpDeveloper site, has been asking independent designers a series of questions on the FreelanceSwitch Forums. A selection of the responses end up on his site in the form of an AskFreelancers feature.

This week he asked: As a freelancer you have the option to work with both clients and agencies, but which do freelancers prefer and why?

North got a variety of responses - including my own - which are included in the latest AskFreelancers entry.

Early in my career I did a lot of work with other design firms and advertising agencies. In fact, at one point a single agency represented about 80% of my business. Over time, my feelings about working with agencies changed. As I responded to the AskFreelancers query:

I quit working with agencies (other than the one that was owned by my sister) about 20 years ago. I prefer direct contact with clients and many agencies will not allow you to have that with their clients. Often, they don’t want the agency client to know the work is being outsourced to an independent designer. Additionally:

1.) Many agencies will not outsource work until it is already late in the project schedule and expect the independent source to make up for lost time;

2.) Agencies will seldom agree to my contract/project agreement terms;

3.) I’m not willing to work under their “we’ll pay you when they pay us” terms - which can bump a payment out 60-90 days or more;

4.) Agencies will very often not let a designer make use of completed projects for their own marketing/promotion purposes;

5.) There is MUCH more creative freedom in working directly with a client.

As my sister closed her agency several years ago, it's not been some time since I worked with such a company. I still prefer working directly with a wide variety of clients. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of working with an agency in the future. However, it would need to be an ideal collaborative situation.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

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