Shopware agency or freelancer? What makes more sense?

Through Corona, e-commerce has clearly gained in popularity. If you are in the process of planning your own online store, then you are probably wondering a lot of questions right now. The most important question is, to whom you are going to entrust the creation of your store. In addition to the option of developing the store yourself, there is also the option of hiring a freelancer or an agency. Or maybe you are thinking about to outsource the development of your store abroad? - There we have an great article about. Take look on it here.

It isn't advisable to develop the store yourself, because a lot of mistakes can happen. However, if you only have a small budget, a freelancer is certainly a good decision. You take over the "easier points" in the creation of your store. The rest you outsource accordingly to freelancers. There are many trustworthy experts in the e-commerce field. However, if you have more budget available, it makes sense to outsource several services to an agency. Because agencies have more "manpower" and can complete your project faster.

Now, you are probably asking yourself what the difference between a freelancer and an agency should be. After all, both are service providers and offer the same or at least similar services. Well, we will get that question answered in this article. 

But first, let's clarify one of the most basic questions: What is the difference between a freelancer and an agency?

The difference between a freelancer and an agency

An agency isn't a legal entity, so anyone who has registered a business can call themselves an "agency". Therefore, contrary to the assumption of many, an agency doesn't necessarily consist of several people. Even a single person can call himself an agency; all that is required is a business license. 

Usually agencies offer many services, so for Shopware agencies everything from the planning of the store to the design to the ongoing store maintenance. This means that a larger agency, the more people work in it. The more services can be provided by the agency. 

A classic agency, consists of a team of different people. This usually includes a small management team consisting of a CEO, COO and CTO. Agencies often also work with freelancers or have their own employees. 

Freelancer usually refers to a self-employed person. However, the term freelancer doesn't exist in Germany. If a freelancer is meant by the term, this person will not be subject to the Business Regulation Act (in German: Gewerbeordnung). People in Germany are allowed to work as freelancers if they provide creative services. However, not everyone in Germany can become self-employed as a freelancer. For this it is necessary to verify qualifications in form of an education. Freelancers are ALWAYS single persons.

Due to the fact that the term freelancer doesn't exist legally in Germany, people with a business license can also call themselves freelancers. In this case, the difference between the freelancer and an agency is that the freelancer works alone and self-determined. 

Now we have clarified the difference between a freelancer and an agency. But what should you choose now? 

Pros and cons of an agency

Even if an agency can be one person, it usually consists of more than one employee. This is an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time. Let's start with the advantages of an agency first.

  • Different experts realize orders together. Each employee has their own part of the task on which they can focus. 
  • Fail-safe. If a team member is sick, someone else steps in.
  • Through different experts, complex orders are also possible. With a freelancer, it would be necessary to use other service providers more often.
  • Agencies usually have a broad network of experts. This will help you quickly, even if the agency doesn't know what to do. (Full service)
  • Structured way of working and defined processes

Now the cons of an agency:

  • Agencies usually take a higher per-hour rate. This is clearly due to the expertise and the higher administrative costs. Mostly, these costs are quite fair, too. 
  • Because of the larger team, it' possible that information gets lost. However, this can also happen with a freelancer. 

Now those were the pros and cons of an agency. There are definitely more advantages than disadvantages here. But what about the freelancer?

An example for the services that an agency offers. (This services are from the agency Dream Productions)

Pros and cons of an freelancer

In this context, we also talk about individuals who call themselves an agency. Cause here it's mainly about how many people you work with directly. Let's start with the advantages.

  • Direct contact with you! The freelancer is a real expert and can answer your questions directly. With an agency, you usually talk to a "salesperson". This person has only a basic knowledge of the expertise in the field. 
  • More personal work, as no agency specifications have to be observed
  • Mostly a freelancer is cheaper than an agency
  • More flexible schedule possible than with an agency

Now the cons of an freelancer: 

  • For large orders, a freelancer has limited resources at his availability and takes more time
  • Failure of the project in case of sickness
  • Unexpected events can mess up the project planning

We are a Shopware agency. So, how we do handle it?

The owner of ShopStudio, Alexander Barton, was once a freelancer. We know about the pros as well as cons of an agency and a freelancer. That's why we try to combine these advantages in the best possible way. 

Through direct contact with one of our experts over the entire order period, you always know exactly what is currently going on. No salesperson falls in between. We also provide permanent work on your project. If one of our experts gets sick, someone else will step in. In addition, you will not find any hidden costs with us. You get an absolute fixed price and pay exactly for the work you get. 

What should you choose? Shopware agency or freelancer?

This choice definitely has to be decided individually and depending on the project. If you only need a specific service, the freelancer is certainly the winner. But if you want to hand over the entire project of your store. In addition, you can outsource the subsequent store optimization, support and possibly also the marketing. Then an agency would certainly be the better choice. 

There is no universal solution about what is best. Basically, you should answer the following questions before making your decision. You can then let the answers flow into your process of decision. 

  1. In how many areas do you need help? 
  2. How big is your company?
  3. What's your budget?
  4. How complex is your problem?
  5. The size of your own know-how and capacities.

Finally, it also depends on what kind of freelancer or agency you are dealing with. Are you currently planning the creation of your online store? We hope this article helped you with your decision. We would be happy to help you with your project! Just contact us directly 🤓

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