Benefits of Using a Creative Agency

You love your job — everything except charging clients. While accountants and MBAs might live for sending out invoices and collecting checks; many creatives hate invoicing clients.

Unfortunately, you have to pay bills, and profits provide resources and time to do your most creative work. You need to justify your price so you can get back to the work you love — Bric is here to help. Use this article to leave any tension behind, and help clients understand the benefits of using a creative agency.

As a creative agency you can recruit and manage employees in ways your clients can’t.

  • Recruiting. Typically, creative agencies can recruit better creative talent. You provide employees a variety of projects, and minimize distractions, and help employees improve their skills. Your business is you people.

By hiring your agency, clients don’t have to worry about keeping creative employee constantly stimulated with new work.

  • Management. Managing creatives is paradoxical. Creatives don’t like to be managed, but when managed produce amazing results. The key is to understand their motivations, and how to focus them. As an agency owner you are an expert at managing creatives. Using mentorship, empathy, and variety you can push them to produce their best work.

By hiring your agency, clients don’t have to worry about managing employees with ambitions that are centered on their creative abilities. Most employers except loyalty to the company, not to being a creative.

  • Process. Creative agencies often sell their “process”. They think their “process” is what sets them apart from other agencies — their competitive advantage. Wrong, your process is what sets you apart from your clients. All agencies have similar processes. Clients don’t typically have any process — project work is not business as usual.

Your client’s don’t have the familiarity you have. They can’t see common pitfalls. While you spot danger far off in the distance, and are able to change course before it is too late. You know how a project is completed.

In addition, there are financial benefits of using a creative agency.

  • Replacement Value. True, it is typically more expensive per hour to hire your creative agency than to hire a full-time employee. It can be useful to remind your clients that this is per hour. On a full-time basis, creative agencies can look like a great deal.

Most creative agencies charge billable rates 3.5 times the salaries of their employees. Combined with careful management agencies can generate a 10 to 15% project margin. While client’s might see 350% as a huge mark-up, remind them that no one is getting rich quick.

This is because employees don’t spend 100% of their time working on a project. The average employee at a creative agency only spends 42% of their time on billable projects. This will be worse for your clients — they have a business to run. Their employees have to take care of operations, administrative tasks, and clients. This can make it really hard to get the project done.

Perhaps it is worth paying a 3.5 salary multiple, to be able to hire an expert that is focused on getting the project done on time. An added benefit is that your client’s don’t have to recruit and train a specialist only to terminate them once a project is finished. They only pay you when your employees work on the project.

  • Efficiency. Your team can focus, this will allow them to complete the project more efficiently than your clients. It is inefficient to switch between projects. Also, your people are experts with these projects. They have all the tools, know how to use them, and can clearly envision each step of the project.

In addition, to completing the work faster, you can help your client ideate faster. Your clients will still need to do work. They will have to think through and communicate what they want the final product to be. Clients have to do this work even if they don’t hire you, but you can help them do it faster. You know what questions to ask, when to push back on an idea, and when to ask a probing question. You know how to pull the ideas out of your clients, and how to refine them.

  • Confidence. Your clients have a budget to complete their project. Their budget is based on your estimate. If it is wrong they will have to go back and ask for more money. They might not get it, or the business might not have it. The project could die because of a bad budget based on an inaccurate project plan. You need to provide them with confidence, and an accurate project plan.

Thankfully, you can collect data to create accurate project plans. By keeping timesheets, you collect data every time you complete a project. This data can increase your confidence that you know how long a project will take and how much it will cost. We created Bric to make this easy. We believe that time tracking should be about more than invoicing, and payroll. Bric makes it easy to use past timesheets create more accurate project plans.

Focus on quality — it is what matters at the end.

It is risky to concede quality to create a project plan that meets a client’s budget. Because, clients’ priorities evolve over the life of a project. Pre-contract, client’s care about cost. They want to know that they got a deal. Once the project starts, they evolve to caring about speed. The anticipation is killing them. They want it now. However, once delivered the focus is on quality. This is what they remember — quality.

Focus on quality and you might not win every project. However you will build a great reputation, and have a roster of referrals.

In conclusion, client’s will question your value. It isn’t that they don’t trust you. It is because they don’t know what to expect. They are hiring you for a project — something that is outside of their daily operations. Be confident. Explain the benefit of using a creative agency.

Like this article? Read setting your billable rate.