Biz Tips: How Do I Choose the Right Agency for My Project?

Biz Tips: How Do I Choose the Right Agency for My Project?

Biz Tip:

How Do I Choose the Right Agency for My Project?

How Do I Choose the Right Agency for My Project?

Start by identifying what skills and expertise your project requires. From there, you can write a thorough job post and either review agency proposals or search for specialized agencies that meet your project’s requirements.

Watch this video to learn how to find the right agency for you.

STEP 1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK

It’s helpful to do a little prep work before you set out to find an agency. Agencies–like all freelance businesses–appreciate the context and the detail, as it helps them determine if they’re a good fit for the project. Answering a few questions up front can also help you write a thorough job post, tailor your search, and have a more meaningful first discussion.

  • What are your goals? Think of the problem you’re trying to solve, your goals, and any expectations or limitations.
  • Is your project a good fit for an agency? Should you hire individual freelancers, or do you need the additional oversight of an established agency? Projects well-suited to agencies typically involve multiple skills or need a degree of project management. Try to determine if your project is a good fit for an agency.
  • Do I need project-based support or an ongoing collaboration? What will the partnership look like? Agencies on Upwork often provide clients with ongoing support and dedicated capabilities such as design, development, customer support, translation, and digital marketing. Agencies also work with clients on a by-project basis. These aren’t just small, low-value projects, either—agencies can tackle big, cutting-edge projects and programs for Fortune 500 clients.

STEP 2. ATTRACT THE BEST AGENCIES WITH A GREAT JOB POST

Top-performing agencies on Upwork are highly sought-after by clients. They receive a lot of proposals, so you want yours to stand out—and be thorough.

Aleksandr Z, President of Beluga Labs, a design and development agency on Upwork, says the right agencies are more likely to apply to your job if they have a clear sense of what your problem or need is. “The best advice I can give to clients is to write a project description with as much detail as you can, whether it’s a technical requirement list or general features you require,” he suggests.

Write a job post that includes your goals, expectations, and requirements or limitations that will impact timing and deliverables.

Note: If you’re not entirely sure about your budget or project requirements, try inviting agencies privately—which we’ll cover next—and outline your goal and that you’re not certain how to accomplish it. Agencies want to, at a minimum, understand your core problem to know if they’re a good fit.

STEP 3. SEARCH FOR AGENCIES TO INVITE TO YOUR PROJECT

You can search for an agency in the same way you’d search for an individual freelancer. If your project is private, this allows you to hand-select who submits proposals to ensure you’re choosing the best agency for you.

Use the Filters button to select “Agencies” under “Talent Type.”

You can also narrow your agency search by

  • Size
  • When they were founded
  • Main services offered

Agencies can have multiple specialties and categories, so we’ve designed profiles to show you what percentage of specialization they have in each category based on their past work.

Tip: Agencies on Upwork with a history of great performance will have a Top Rated badge on their profiles. Fewer than 10% of agencies have earned the Top Rated Agency distinction.

STEP 4. REVIEW PROPOSALS & PORTFOLIOS FOR THE RIGHT FIT

Once you’ve narrowed the field or received proposals, take the time to look at agency portfolios. Nicolas A., CEO of CodigoDelSur, a web and mobile development agency on Upwork, says it’s up to clients to do their due diligence when searching for the right agency. “Check references and previous projects—that’s my best advice to clients. There’s no better reference than a previous customer,” he adds.

It goes without saying, but try not to focus entirely on the rates or quotes very early on in your search. When reviewing proposals, be sure you’re also taking into account the skills, capabilities, and relevant experience that will make an agency a great partner for your organization.

STEP 5. INVITE AN AGENCY TO HAVE A CONVERSATION

What’s the most important thing a client can do to find the right agency? Aleksandr says clients should take the time to have in-person conversations. “There has to be a discussion. That’s the only way you can get the right company.”

“Don’t expect to write a brief RFP and get the perfect applicant without any conversation. It’s important to get on the phone and discuss things,” he adds.

Nicolas says conversations are also a good way to get a feeling for if an agency is a good fit.

“When you’re hiring an agency—especially a remote agency—the key thing is trust. You have to find someone you trust will be up to the challenge. My advice is to try to find someone that makes you feel, through conversation: ‘These guys are the ones I trust.’”

Look for an agency to be able to answer your core questions, and have ideas for how they’d approach your goal. This will show you they understand your problem and how to tackle it.

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