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When should you hire an agency

Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
1 of 1

When you hire freelancers for a project, Upwork gives you the option to hire individual freelancers or agencies, which have teams of freelancers on the platform to work on your project. Agencies may be the right fit when your project involves multiple workstreams and functions, or requires a team to meet tight deadlines. The trick is knowing when it’s best to use an agency versus one or more freelance individuals.

Before we give tips on how to decide, it’s helpful to know that agencies range in size. They can be small, consisting of a few freelancers working together, such as a UI designer, a front-end developer, and a back-end developer. Agencies can also be large companies with hundreds of full-time employees working out of a central office. Chances are, there’s an agency that’s right for your project’s size and needs. Don’t forget, however, that you’ll still want to vet the agency just like any other freelancer.



Many agencies are equipped to handle complex projects that require multiple skill sets and significant coordination. They help your projects stay on track by leveraging a range of skill sets to:

  • Assist in scoping the work and determining requirements
  • Assemble and coordinate the appropriate team(s)
  • Transition talent in and out as your project evolves (e.g., from concept to final testing)
  • Manage timelines and deliverables from the concept phase to final implementation


If one or more of these situations applies to your project, you may want to consider an agency.

Project Size and Complexity

  • The project is large, requiring the coordinated services of multiple freelancers with a similar skill set.
  • The project is complex, with multiple workstreams and phases to manage.
  • The project requires multiple disciplines (e.g., planning, development, design, QA).
  • The project is large and has a tight deadline, requiring multiple people to start working right away.

Duration or Length of Project

  • It’s a long-term project, requiring a consistent availability of talent.
  • Your talent requirements will change from stage to stage.
  • The project may require future work phases.

Or should you hire individuals?

Because agency managers can take on much of the project oversight, you often engage more with the agency manager(s) than the individual team members. You may be better off hiring a freelancer, or multiple individual freelancers, if:

  • You prefer communicating directly with the freelancers on your project.
  • You have solid requirements and the ability to accurately convey the project requirements to the freelancer(s).
  • A single freelancer is likely to be able to manage and complete the project from start to finish.
  • You have the skills (and time) to coordinate multiple freelance projects if your project has many moving parts or phases.

Ultimately when you’re deciding whether to work with an agency or individual freelancers, you should take into account how comfortable you are with the project—and how much time you have. There are no hard and fast rules for your final choice. With Upwork, you can opt for either solution and keep your project on track for success.