10 Reasons For and Against Outsourcing Web Design and Development

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “outsourced?”

For me, it’s spam email.

Spam email from faraway places asking “please can you outsource us some work.” Usually in bright blue text, with some red text mixed in for good measure.

You know exactly the sort of email I mean.

Outsourcing is a funny old thing. There’s a world of difference between:

  1. Outsourcing (to an agency)
  2. Offshoring (to a company in a faraway land)

This whole debate can be a sticky mess of a situation, so we’re going to have to tread carefully.

At Canny, we’re firm believers in working with companies overseas.

In fact, many of our clients are based in Europe, in the Middle East, and North America.

So to say we don’t support offshoring, would be hypocritical.

We support both outsourcing, and offshoring, but it has to be to the right companies.

With that in mind, let’s dive in to the pros and cons of outsourcing your web design and development to a professional design agency.

5 Reasons For Outsourcing Web Design and Development

Let’s start with the reasons you might want to consider outsourcing your website design services to a design agency.

You’re Looking for Expert Help and Advice

This is ultimately one of the key reasons that a lot of clients come to us.

They simply want expert help and advice. Especially when it comes to their website design.

Website design is more technical than a lot of people are comfortable with, and if it bamboozles you, then consider getting professional help.

If you’re a Marketing Manager or Marketing Executive, you might be grateful for the additional support.

If your company is undergoing a rebrand, or even just changing your website, you probably have enough on your plate already. Outsourcing to a professional agency partner could help you out!

Another perk of working with a professional design agency is they like to share their ideas and advice.

They might come up with ideas you’d never thought about, and suggest things that can impact your business.

You’re also going to be able to get a wide range of experience when working with an outsourced agency partner.

As agencies tend to be made up of staff teams with a varying degree of experience, you can be sure they’re going to bring something unique to the table.

You Have The Budget

Design budgets are always a point of contention. And yes, your chosen agency partner needs to know your budget.

We have a handy post for you, if you’re not sure about the cost of a website.

It’s a branding project you’re working on, we have a post about branding budgets too.

Here’s the deal:

Design agencies can seem expensive, but when outsourcing to a highly rated agency, you’re making an investment into your business.

Another perk of working with an agency, is that they can show you how to put your budget to good use.

Have a marketing budget for certain materials? Tap into their network and get recommended good suppliers.

You might even be able to tap into trade pricing!

If you have the budget to work with an agency on your website project, you should.

You Want to Work with a Trusted Partner and Team

One of the big bonuses of outsourcing your web design to an agency, is essentially, you grow your business without the overhead cost.

When we’re brought in to work on a rebranding or website design project, we act like an arm of the company’s business.

By bringing in an agency, you can take the weight off your shoulders, and get them to help share the workload.

You also benefit from bringing in a second set of eyes, or several sets of fresh eyes!

Often, you can be too close to a project, and someone taking a look at it for the first time can offer up a new opinion or a change of direction.

Keeping everything internal, means you never get that set of fresh eyes on your project.

Finding an agency you can trust, gives you an intangible business asset.

You push them work, they’re happy, and go above and beyond to help you out any way they can.

Essentially, you’re funding them, to help you grow, to help fund them, to help you grow. Repeat cycle.

Taking someone along on your journey and ride as you grow, is invaluable. And having an agency partner look out for you, can be invaluable too.

You Want to Focus on What You Do Best

By leaving your web design and development to the professionals, you free up time to focus on what you do best.

As a Marketing Manager or Company Director, I’d assume managing web design projects isn’t what you want to be doing every day.

Outsourcing to an agency gives you your time back, and moves website related time management issues to your outsourcing partner.

Sure, there’s time commitments that come with working with an agency. But having them offsite, means you can’t be grabbed for a quick chat over lunch or on your way to the toilet.

By outsourcing to an agency, you can keep your calendar and diary laser focused and buy yourself some time back.

What’s the Other Option?

If you’re not going to outsource your web design project, what is the other option?

There’s only one:

Hire someone on a part time or full time basis to build your website for you.

And again, there’s more cons than pros that come along with hiring someone internally.

Pros

  • They’re onsite, and will only be working on your project.

Cons

  • You’re only hiring one person to do a job that should be handled by multiple people
  • You have to spend time managing them and guiding them to a solution
  • Progress will be slower, and if they go down with the flu, your project is stalled completely
  • Unless you have a lot of web design work, they might be sitting twiddling their thumbs
  • Good web designers and developers cost good money.

Unless you’re adept in design project management, then bringing in a designer or developer internally probably isn’t the right route for you.

By default, outsourcing your website design project is the best choice.

5 Reasons Against Outsourcing Web Design and Development

Now let’s take a look at the reasons you might decide against outsourcing your website project.

But do keep in mind, we firmly believe bringing in a professional agency is the right choice for 95% of businesses.

Communication Problems

If you’re not a good communicator, outsourcing your web design project probably isn’t the right choice.

You need to be able to put across:

  • The vision for your company
  • The problems you’re facing with your current website
  • Your ideas for solving the problem.

Being able to communicate is the key to every successful design project.

On the flip side, if you’re not a great communicator, your agency partner should be able to help you articulate the above.

At Canny, we use a range of in-person meetings, conversations, and written questionnaires, to make sure we have absolutely everything we need to proceed.

Cost Management

Outsourcing your website to a design agency won’t come cheap.

And technically, you’ll always get more “bang for your buck” or hours on the dollar if you make a hire.

By hiring an internal designer or developer, it also allows you to control your costs easier.

No agency is going to account for every single minute spent on a project. If you have someone on a salary, then that’s made a lot easier.

If you feel like you need to have total control over the finances, then you shouldn’t outsource your project.

But like I touched on earlier, if you hire, you probably need two people, not just one.

Things start ramping up and escalating quite quickly when you bring in multiple people.

Time Management

With every new relationship, comes an investment of time.

When scouting around for agencies, you could end up meeting with three to five potential partners. Maybe for an hour each, maybe longer.

Then, you have to go into the same details with each one of them.

As your relationship progresses, you’ll need to continue to hold meetings and dedicate time in your calendar to them.

In theory, by hiring, you’ll spend less time getting your project off to the races.

But there’s still meetings to have, and essentially, you can be caught in the corridor and questioned about things.

Time management is an interesting conundrum, and there are drawbacks to both approaches!

What Happens When Things Go Wrong?

This is one of the biggest stresses people have when they think about outsourcing.

“What happens if things don’t go to plan?”

There are a whole range of things that can go wrong when outsourcing, including:

  • You hate the work that’s being produced
  • After engaging, you realise you’ve made the wrong choice of agency partner
  • Momentum ceases and the project doesn’t drive forward
  • You disagree over project specifics
  • Money conversations get awkward.

Seriously, there’s a whole lot of things that can go wrong. Relationships are volatile.

Let’s assume the worst:

The relationship with your outsourcing partner has went wrong, very wrong.

What happens now?

Your new website is half finished, and nobody is happy with the way things are progressing.

Well, there’s a few ways that situation could unfold:

  1. The agency insist you pay to progress and finish the project – you’re left unhappy
  2. You refuse to pay and the agency refuse to progress – you’re left unhappy

Either way, you’re unhappy and out of pocket to the tune of several thousands.

Things go wrong in projects, but 99% of things can be solved with clear, honest, communication (see earlier point.)
When you outsource a project, you’re relinquishing some control of your brand.

But honestly, the sooner you can get comfortable with that, the better.

Hiring Someone Just Makes More Sense

Sometimes, hiring just makes more sense.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Here are a few scenarios that hiring an internal design and development duo might make more sense:

You’re Going to be Constantly Producing Work

If you’re a growing business with an ecommerce website (or other large website) then the chances are, you’ll be doing a lot of ongoing work.

Paying an agency for that level of support will escalate costs beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

If you’re at a stage in your business where you’re considering large retainer fees for an agency, then making a hire or two might just make more sense.

Your Company Has Several Sub-Companies

The logic here is similar to above.

If you work at a parent company, with several sub-companies, you might have a large quantity of work that could be better resolved in-house.

For example:

If you have five sub-companies, each with their own marketing budget, could that be better used and controlled from a global level?

This situation is more of a business driven decision, but you could have a creative duo look after the entire business operation, which might save some of your marketing spend.

You Have a Considerable Amount to Invest in a Salary

In the design world, we have these things called “design unicorns.”

These are people that are not only talented designers, but can also develop websites.

They’re unicorns, and unicorns come at a price.

But if you’re prepared to make a sizeable investment, this might be an option to explore.

The Biggest Drawback of Hiring Rather Than Outsourcing

The real drawback of hiring, rather than outsourcing is that you don’t get that broad depth of knowledge you would from an agency.

A wide range of experience is almost invaluable. Experience leads to ideas, and ideas are what you’re paying for.

You want an agency that prides themselves on their relationships. Treat them like an arm or branch of your business, and you won’t go wrong.

Conclusion: 10 Reasons For and Against Outsourcing Web Design and Development

There’s a world of difference between outsourcing and offshoring.

We support outsourcing to the right companies, no matter where in the world they’re based. And we encourage you to do the same.

There are also a lot of pros and cons for outsourcing your web design and development to a web design agency like us.

It all depends on your business, and the situation you’re in.

Evaluate the post above honestly.

Do you feel yourself siding more with the pros, or the cons? Let us know what you’ve done in the past in the comments below.

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