Why You Should Hire A Design Agency on Retainer For Your Business.

Hiring a design agency on retainer provides value, expertise, consistency, and flexibility. Retainer agreements are cost-effective and save companies time.

Your marketing efforts, design strategy, and creative content together help your target market trust your brand and position your company as an industry expert. For this reason alone, it is crucial that your branding is consistent, precise, and effective. Hiring a design agency on retainer provides value, expertise, consistency, and flexibility. With a design agency in your corner, you can focus on what matters most while knowing that your brand is growing and making a positive impact in the community. 

Since most companies have different goals, ideas, and needs, hiring the right design agency is very important. A design retainer with a team of creative experts will significantly benefit your company.

If you are here, you are most likely asking yourself four main questions:

  1. What is a design retainer?
  2. Should I hire a design agency on retainer or an in-house designer as an employee?
  3. What are the benefits of hiring a design agency on retainer?
  4. How much will it cost to add a design agency on retainer?

Lucky for you, we will answer all those questions in detail so you can decide what the best direction to take is for your company.

WHAT IS A DESIGN RETAINER?

A retainer is an agreement between a client and an agency to reserve a dedicated number of monthly hours. These agreements can be month-to-month, quarterly, yearly, or extended contracts. Unlike per-project agreements with a one-time cost, retainers can be extended as long as the client needs the agency.

Design retainers should have the ability to be negotiated after a set period if need be. Most design agencies conduct monthly or quarterly reviews with the client to ensure their needs are met, and the marketing strategy is on course.

SHOULD I HIRE A DESIGN AGENCY ON RETAINER OR AN IN-HOUSE DESIGNER AS AN EMPLOYEE?

Each company has different time constraints, needs, and budgets. These three factors mainly determine whether hiring an agency is the right move or if hiring and training an employee makes more sense. 

Suppose you have a limited budget for the year. In that case, it may be beneficial to hire a design agency on a retainer basis. Hiring an employee takes extra time and money to train, onboard, and provide benefits before they start working with your brand. An agency is led by a group of branding professionals that have experience dealing with different aspects of branding. Most of the time, it could take an agency a quarter of the time to complete a design campaign than it would with a single employee.

If time is of the essence, and you needed a strategy yesterday, training an employee will not be quick. A design agency will already have 90% of the knowledge and tools readily available. Before starting, they will need to conduct a strategy and discovery session to understand your company's needs and goals better.

If you plan to have a long-term in-house design team and rely heavily on design to do so, it may be better to start hiring employees. They will be able to learn your culture and clients' needs while providing more time and dedication to your brand. An in-house team of designers will likely offer more long-term stable results.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HIRING A DESIGN AGENCY ON RETAINER?

Hiring a design agency has many advantages. We have listed the four main ones below. Consider each advantage and how it would benefit your company.

Flexibility

How about an example of how flexibility is essential. Let's say you need to create a graphic for a marketing campaign you want to run. Many would think creating one illustration is an easy task. You start to design this illustration, which looks great, so you send it to your social media guy. You think it is taken care of and ready to go, only to find out that four different social media platforms require different sizes of that illustration. Also, one platform requires a specific form of text, one needs a story, and one requires a carousel to be most effective. Then once you submit your graphic, it gets disapproved on one of the platforms. These circumstances alone make you want to hire someone to take care of it.

Welcome to the reality of design. To add to it, anytime you need a strategy created; it will have to be consistent with that last piece to keep your branding consistent. 

We bring this example to say that you may or may not have that time available to complete campaigns, designs, or other illustrations to fruition. Having the flexibility of a design agency comes in handy.

Design retainers allow a set amount of monthly hours you can use when you need them. Retainers are not for one-off projects that may push down in a queue. Since you agreed to a set amount of time, the agency will have it secured for you immediately when you need it.

Consistency

Leveraging a design container with a professional creative agency allows the agency to learn more about you as a company. Ensuring your brand is consistent in every visual produced is vital to a company's reputation and professionalism.

A design agency will conduct a strategy and discovery session. They will learn every aspect of your brand, goals, and needs to create a consistent strategy for all your visuals. Most of the time, they will work alongside your team to review new ideas, techniques, and directions your company can take to increase brand awareness. Long-term design solutions always stay consistent with a professional design agency.

Value

The cost effectiveness of design retainer is more sought after than you may think. You may be asking yourself if it will be worth it or too expensive. Maybe you are worried that all your purchase hours will not be used. These are all common concerns when considering a retainer agreement. 

When you sign a retainer agreement with a design agency, you will most likely be saving money. 

The cost to hire an employee with training, benefits, and salary will likely be more expensive and time-consuming. Not to mention most agencies can work four times faster than an employee and have extensive expertise in design and marketing. After all, time is money. 

Many agencies value retainers over hourly rates because consistent and predictable work is coming in. This will likely result in a lower rate for work. 

Expertise

The most significant benefit of retainer agreements, especially with a design agency, is having a team of design experts at your disposal. Agencies have extensive knowledge in design, case studies, and testimonials, and even some have consulting backgrounds. They can save time and money, meet tighter deadlines, and communicate better when presenting projects, ideas, and direction. 

Design agencies are independent, meaning you do not have to micromanage the day-to-day operations. You can focus on running a business or department. 

As mentioned before, hiring, training, and managing an employee takes time and money you may not have. The expertise of a design agency on retainer alleviates that burden.


IS A DESIGN RETAINER RIGHT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

We see many businesses needing help marketing, designing, and creating a brand strategy to help move their business forward. Retainer agreements can be beneficial if you have a limited staff yet need professional work done consistently.

Suppose you already have a staff or have the budget to train your staff. In that case, it may be worth hiring a consultancy rather than an agency with a design retainer. In the long run, you will save time and money.

Not every business needs a design retainer to meet its marketing goals. If you still need advice on whether it would be a good decision, feel free to contact us anytime. We offer free consultations with no pressure and will provide you with an honest opinion if we believe you may or may not benefit from a retainer agreement.