Is My Project a Good Fit for An Agency or a Freelancer?

Is your project a good fit for an individual freelancer to tackle, or is it better suited for an agency? That can depend on the size of the project, how many different disciplines are required to get it done, and how much strategy and planning you’ll need, among other things.

There’s no shortage of talent on Upwork who can handle projects of any type and size. Both freelancers and agencies can track multiple timelines and deliverables using their own employees, subcontractors, or a network of other freelancers.

But sometimes you may want the one-stop-shop of an agency, especially if you want to execute larger projects that involve multiple workstreams or functions, particularly within a tight timeframe. There are agencies on Upwork that range in size from a few specialists in a niche market to a full-service agency with hundreds of employees.

So which is right for your project, an agency or a freelancer? When engaging talent for your project, you’ll want to consider:


Small projects can be great fits for solo freelancers. You get the flexibility and ROI of an independent professional who can turn deliverables around on a dime. But larger, more complex projects tend to require robust coordination and planning—something that’s often built into the services an agency offers.

Agencies can provide a convenient, single point of contact, which can make more complex projects turnkey—although, you may be able to connect with individual specialists directly as needed.

Tip: If just sketching out a brief or timeline seems overwhelming, an agency might be your best bet—or at least, the help of a freelance project manager.

How Much You Anticipate Project Volume to Fluctuate Over Time

One of the best things about tapping remote talent—whether it’s freelancers or agencies—is that they can give your organization the ability to quickly ramp up support when you need it, then ramp back down when demand decreases.

If you anticipate that the scope of your project could change or evolve, you might consider an agency. An agency with a full-time team will be able to quickly flex to your needs. They can determine the skills required for each stage of the project and transition talent on or off your project as needed. For example, if there is a degree of seasonality to your production needs—for example, a spike in customer support tickets or traffic during certain times—engaging an agency will help you address volume quickly, with fewer concerns about availability or bandwidth.


A project doesn’t have to be enormous or complicated to require multiple people to get it done; however, coordinating all of those different contributors can get complex. For example, an iOS app might take months to code from scratch, but a single Swift developer can handle it from start to finish. On the other hand, a simple landing page may only take a week to produce, but could require the coordinated talents of a developer, a designer, a copywriter, and a photographer to pull it all together.

With complex projects such as big software projects or multi-channel marketing campaigns, you may find agencies have easier access to a wider range of resources. They can tap into a larger network to source and engage required skillsets more quickly.

MobiDev, a development agency on Upwork, has entire teams dedicated to managing more complex projects, handling everything from day-zero scoping and planning to final stage testing and deployment. That makes it easy for already busy, resource-strapped organizations to hand off entire projects worry-free.

How Quickly You Need it Done

Have aggressive goals for timing? Both freelancers and agencies help some of the world’s biggest organizations get to market faster, spin up new initiatives, and meet deadlines they couldn’t otherwise. Tactically speaking, individual freelancers can be very efficient partners. But if you have a larger deliverable and a fast timeline, an agency with ready access to a wide range of resources could be a more nimble option.

Project Consider an Individual Freelancer for Consider an Agency for
Video Motion graphics video with a script and V/O On-site, multi-day television commercial shoot with actors, multiple locations, editing and an original score
Branding & Graphic Design Creating or refreshing a logo design and related visual assets Overhauling a brand, with new messaging, logo, website, visual assets, and PR launch
Software Development Coding new functionality into an existing app Iterative, from-scratch development of a mobile app and IoT device software with testing
IT Support Penetration testing of a network to identify vulnerabilities Migrate an enterprise backend system and databases to the cloud without disrupting operations
Customer Support Support answering support tickets and customer questions during off hours or seasonal spikes Coordinated CS and engineering support to respond to technical support tickets and tackle bug fixes
Marketing Content marketing strategy support, including regular articles and SEO for a company blog A multi-channel marketing campaign with advertising, social, paid search, and data-driven messaging capabilities
Data Science Tableau data visualization of recent analytics for use in marketing strategy planning An analytics team to process data, mine for insights, and deliver actionable reports on an ongoing basis
Web Development & Design Build a WordPress site Code a data-heavy B2B customer portal web app

Ready to get started?

Upwork is a freelancing website where businesses of all sizes can find talented independent professionals across multiple disciplines and categories. Ready to let freelance experts help you get more done? Start today!