A question I get asked regularly when consulting on digital is “should we employ additional resource or look to use an external agency?”
Typically this question arises when a client is looking to redesign their existing digital presence. While both approaches have merit, the answer I give usually pivots on three key questions:
1. What skill sets do you require?
2. Is the resource needed for single or multiple projects?
3. Which approach offers the best return on investment?
In 2016, a junior web developer will expect an annual salary of £25,000†, and that is outside of London. However, you have to be realistic with your expectations and ask yourself whether such an individual is likely to have either the experience or breadth of knowledge to deliver your project successfully without additional guidance and resource? In addition, does this individual fit within then scope of your day-to-day business operation? What would be the result of this pivotal resource becoming ill, or worse still, leaving mid-project? All factors that could leave your business vulnerable and exposed to financial risk.
A modern digital build requires a knowledge base usually filled by multiple roles; creative/UX designers, back/front-end developers, and of course project management. To bring even a junior team together with this skill set would require an outlay of £76,750† annually. Then there is the pre/post launch marketing and social media activity, which requires yet another set of skills and investment if you don’t have existing resource.
Small and medium sized businesses are unlikely to spend anywhere near the £25,000† cost of a junior developer with an external agency. In reality you are likely to be left with a shiny new digital proposition along with a healthy budget to invest in marketing and other business activities of your choosing. Don’t forget, that is just year one! With an expected lifespan of 3-4 years for new websites, external expertise would save you a significant sum compared to employing internal resource over that same period.
Therefore, unless you have desires on forming your own digital agency or department to develop additional websites, apps, and tools for your business, using external help is sure to provide a superior ROI.
†creative pool salary survey 2016.