Digital Production Company vs. Freelancers: Weighing the Pros & Cons

Today’s digital dynamism has created a lot of opportunities for teams to push their visionary limits and explore new innovative techniques. But that also comes with the need for additional bandwidth and creative brain power.

In these situations, many organizations are faced with a decision: do we hire freelancers or partner with a digital production company? The choice is a big one — it will significantly impact that company’s efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and overall success.

So in this article, we’re diving into the pros and cons of both paths and highlighting why a digital production company is often the best move (you’ll see why).


The Pros

Flexibility & Expertise: Freelancers offer a repertoire of specialized talent that companies can tap into on an as-needed basis. This means you can access a wide range of skills without committing to a full-time hire. Freelancers will typically bring niche expertise, which enables them to focus on very specific tasks and produce high-quality work to meet your unique needs.

Cost Savings: If budget is a concern, freelancers can be a cost-effective solution, particularly for short-term or project-based work. If your needs are flexible or minimal, they can be a good option to help avoid the overhead costs associated with full-time employees, such as benefits, office space, and equipment.

Agility: With freelancers, companies can quickly scale up or down based on customer demands or market conditions. This agility is especially valuable when dealing with fluctuating creative needs.

Access to Diverse Perspectives: Engaging with freelancers from different backgrounds and regions can bring fresh, diverse perspectives to projects, which contribute to innovation and creativity. It’s easier to pick and choose creative partners with the experiences and backgrounds you’re looking for when you’re choosing each individually.

The Cons

Consistency and Reliability: Relying solely on freelancers can make it more challenging to maintain consistency across projects. Freelancers have varying availability and could potentially lead to project delays or disruptions.

Integration and Communication: Coordinating with a diverse group of freelancers can sometimes result in communication gaps, which can negatively impact project cohesion and alignment with the company’s overall vision. It can also be more time consuming if these individuals aren’t regularly working on the same projects or clients.

Legal and Compliance Concerns: Ensuring compliance with labor laws and managing proper payroll and benefits for freelancers can be complex to say the least. If these requirements aren’t handled meticulously, you could be looking at legal and financial implications.

Skills and Talent: Even though providing specialized skills is one of the benefits freelancers can provide, finding the right freelancer with the exact expertise you need isn’t always that easy. The search and vetting process, particularly for niche areas, can be time-consuming and challenging. And if you’re doing it repeatedly for different projects or clients, it can cause more hassle than payoff.

Digital Production Companies

The Pros

Comprehensive Solutions: With a digital production company, you get a one-stop solution for a wide range of creative needs. They’ve already recruited a diverse team of experts, so you don’t have to worry about finding the right person for each job. These pros can handle all kinds of different aspects of a project seamlessly.

Consistency and Accountability: Because digital production companies already have their own established processes and quality control measures in place, companies can expect a higher level of consistency and accountability in each deliverable. That means less need for follow ups and micromanaging on your end.

Project Management: When you have a designated person managing that accountability and pushing work through, you can feel a lot more confident in your deadlines and deliverables. And that’s exactly what a project manager at a digital production company does. These teams typically have robust project management systems that will handle all workflows between departments, ensuring efficient coordination, communication, and timely delivery of projects.

Full-service Expertise: Bringing on a team of experts gives you access to a lot more services and capabilities. A digital production company can provide end-to-end services, from ideation and conceptualization to execution and delivery, so you can tap into fresh and proven expertise at any point along the process. This reduces the need for complex coordination across multiple freelancers to get the skill set you need.

The Cons

Higher Costs: Engaging with a digital production company typically comes with higher upfront costs compared to hiring individual freelancers. But that’s because you’re investing in a partner that offers much more than any one individual can. If you’re looking for a more long-term solution, the benefits in terms of consistency and quality may outweigh these costs. Make sure to compare this to the cost of having your senior leadership teams manage your freelancers as part of the project. At a high hourly rate, these management costs can rack up costs quickly.

Less Flexibility: While digital production companies offer comprehensive solutions, they might have less flexibility in tailoring their services to specific project needs. Not all agencies have the agility or customization that many of their clients value and may expect when hiring freelancers with specific skills.

Potential for Overcommitment: It’s not uncommon for companies to find themselves tied to contractual agreements that go above and beyond what they actually need. Some digital production agencies offer certain packages or retainers that lock you into certain commitments, limiting your ability to pivot quickly in response to changing demands.

Choosing the Best Option for Your Creative Production Needs

While freelancers can certainly help companies address increasing creative demands by offering flexibility and niche expertise, the benefits of partnering with a digital production company are invaluable to marketing teams looking to elevate their strategy at every level.

A digital production company gives you access to a whole assortment of resources and creative minds that can bring fresh perspectives and talent to any phase of the production process. Having a full team of digital experts gives you a more comprehensive and strategic solution for your creative demands with more consistency and reliability throughout the process.

The key is finding the right production company partner that will serve as an extension of your team and customize their services to meet your unique needs. They’ll be able to offer the flexibility you’d expect from a freelancer with niche skills and capabilities that you want — and only those you actually need. They’re able to think outside the box and bring those ideas to life flawlessly, while ensuring all compliance and regulatory requirements never become your issue.

If you’re looking for a production company partner that checks all the boxes, contact Assemble today. We’re purposefully built to offer a deep expertise in all the areas our clients need with some of the best and most diverse talent across North America and LATAM. Let us be the partner you need to empower your marketing strategies and drive your production forward.