For the past six years, I have been a freelance designer working specifically with design recruitment agencies. During this time I’ve also worked on some solo freelancing projects. In my opinion, I’ve found design recruitment agency freelancing a good alternative. Here are 10 reasons I believe working freelance with design recruitment agencies is a good experience.
1 – Freedom & Flexibility
Now initially when people think of freelance they think of the freedom to work whenever they like. This is one of the obvious positives to design recruitment agency freelance. But what’s also great is that you have the freedom to work for whomever you like. Sometimes during busy times of the year, a design recruitment agency freelancer will have multiple options and can pick and choose.
Now one of the best things about being a design recruitment agency freelancer is that it’s not forever and you have a lot of control over what you do. The design recruitment agency freelancer has a lot of power, especially when compared to a full-time employee.
A design recruitment agency freelancer has the freedom to leave a contract if it’s not working out or if they don’t like the work. For example, if a freelancer works a contract for a week or a few weeks and the client wants to keep them on, if they don’t like the job, they can leave. It’s that simple.
There have been many contracts I have worked on that I didn’t necessarily enjoy; whether it was the work or the people, or I was simply feeling uninspired by the project. Despite this, I have always seen these projects through knowing that it would only be a few weeks. Once the project finished I could leave and start something new. If I was ever asked back I could respectfully declining. I wasn’t tied to these companies.
2 – The Design Recruitment Agency Works For You
Now, there is a kind of symbiotic relationship between the design recruitment agency freelancer and the agent. Both work hard for each other. The agent works hard to find jobs to put the freelancer into and the freelancer works hard to maintain their own reputation to get more work.
The freelancer earns the day rate and the agent gets the commission. So in this instance it’s really a win win for both parties.
There is no one who has the upper hand, which can differ drastically with someone who is a full time employee and managed by the senior staff.
3 – The Day Rate
How freelancers are paid differs from project to project, but typically, design recruitment agency freelancers are paid by the day. This differs from a solo freelancer who may be paid by the project or a full-time employee who is paid a salary.
A freelancer’s day rate is negotiated before they accept a contract and is based on the freelancer’s experience and the type of job they will be doing.
Therefore, the more experienced a freelancer is, the more they can charge for their day rate. As a freelancer progresses they can increase their day rate in line with industry standards for their level of experience and speciality. To put that into perspective, since I started as a design recruitment agency freelancer six years ago, my day rate has almost tripled.
4 – Fast Guaranteed Payment
As a solo freelancer there is always anxiety about when you may get paid. Having to do the whole job to get that last payment from your client, then invoicing the client and chasing them for payment. It can be a stressful and time consuming process.
With design recruitment agency freelance, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be paid either weekly, fortnightly or monthly. You do not have to invoice the client or even deal with them directly regarding payment whatsoever. This is the agency’s responsibility and drastically reduces the stress and anxiety involved in being paid.
5 – Getting Out of The House & Working in Cool Studios
For some, working as a solo freelancer at home or in their own studio space at home can be a very solitary lifestyle and, sometimes, rather uninspiring. I’ve done this a few times and have found it can be quite dull. Sometimes I could go days without speaking to anyone! So definitely not the best option for an extrovert.
In contrast, a design recruitment agency freelancer is required to work on location. This means they will always be out of the house, working in a cool studio environment, which is typically filled with interesting people and a cool vibe. Not only is it just nice to get out of the house and be in a new and inspiring environment, but meeting new people can inspire creativity and challenge your ideas. This helps you grow as a designer and as a person.
6 – Creative Opportunities
Now, one of the best positives to design recruitment agency freelance is the creative opportunities available. If you’re employed full-time by a design agency, typically they will have a few clients on their books who they will be working with regularly.
In contrast, a design recruitment agency freelancer can work several jobs a year, at a variety of places. This opens up a huge potential for variety to where a freelancer can work and what they may work on.
A freelancer may have the chance to work on many projects and get the opportunity to work on projects they may not have had the chance to before.
7 – Working with Creative Professionals
Now, this may be one of the most important positives to working as a design recruitment agency freelancer. One thing I don’t hear mentioned often is the amount you can learn from working with so many different people. Working by yourself or with the same group of people means you’re not exposed to a huge variety of skills, talent and ways of working.
I have met so many amazing creative people, business people and managers as a design recruitment agency freelancer. I’ve worked with so many talented people, and I always try and learn as much from them as possible. Working at so many studios and with so many creative people has made me a much better designer and transformed my career.
8 – Amazing Experience… and Lots of It!
Nothing is more valuable in the design industry than experience.
This is the same as the previous point, but more oriented around work. Over the past six years I’ve worked at over 35 studios. In this time I have seen how many studios approach their design. I have seen a myriad of design processes and have had the opportunity to cherry pick the best practices.
A design recruitment agency freelancer can amass a huge amount of experience in quite a short time. For a designer, this kind of experience is priceless in the industry and can accelerate a career.
9 – No Pressure to Maintain Clients
As a solo freelancer, there’s a desire to keep clients as this will keep the revenue coming in and help generate potential work in future. This is not typically the case with design recruitment agency freelance.
During the course of a year, a design recruitment agency freelancer may undertake several contracts with several different design studios.
As mentioned earlier, the design recruitment agency works hard to provide contracts to their freelancers so they can earn a commission. Once a design recruitment agency freelancer is available, it won’t be long before their agent is calling about new opportunities. This diminishes the anxiety that solo freelancers can feel to maintain clients.
10 – Your Time is Valued
Now this is a big one! A design recruitment agency freelancer will work between the working hours of the studio they are working with. When the day is done, they are done. This differs from working as a solo freelancer, where a client may request updates or tweaks, which could push the freelancer’s work to go over the agreed time limit.
A design recruitment agency freelancer will work on day rate and the client will only have a freelancer for a limited amount of time. Because of this, they want the freelancer to be as productive as possible, so tend to show a lot of respect for a freelancer’s time.
Now there may be times a freelancer is required to work overtime to get a job done. In that scenario a freelancer can claim overtime. So even when they’re doing more hours they still get paid.
In my experience, a client will typically extend a contract for a few more days or weeks if there’s more work to be done. So in this instance a freelancer gets paid for exactly the time they work.
The 10 big positives to design recruitment agency freelance are:
- Freedom & Flexibility
- The Design Recruitment Agency Works For You
- Day Rate
- Guaranteed Payment
- Getting Out of The House & Working in Cool Studios
- Creative Opportunities
- Work with Creative Professionals
- Amazing Experience and Lots of It!
- No Pressure to Maintain Clients
- Your Work Time is Valued
So what do you think? Can you think of any other positives to working as a design recruitment agency freelancer?
If you have any questions regarding design recruitment agency freelance, be sure to pop them in the comment section below.
Hi Gareth, love reading this perspective from someone on the other side of the world. I am in the US, I have been working with recruiters since I went freelance 5 years ago too. Definitely agree with all your points, it definitely gives more of a sense of security and the feeling of having a team behind you to find work.
I am curious how the day rate works over there, I haven’t come across that yet. Does the agency reach out stating they need a designer only for x number of days at x rate? Or is your preference to be booked out by day and your recruiter works solely on finding those types of positions? Kudos to you that your rate has tripled. Thanks for all the knowledge sharing!
Hi Angie, thanks for your comment. So regarding the day rate, this is typically set by the client depending on their budget. However, the agent will know your potential and experience and will have a range of clients with a range of budgets, so will only put you forward for roles that are suitable.
So, when a freelancer is available for work they’ll let the recruiter know and the recruiter will check their books to see what roles they have within the freelancers rate and experience level. If there’s anything they’ll let the freelancer know and the freelancer can choose to go ahead or not. The agent only wants to get the freelancer on roles they’ll do well in as it’s the reputation of the agency on the line with the client and there is also commission for them if they can get more jobs booked in.