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If you’re thinking about forming a web design partnership with a web design agency partner or a freelance design partner because you need help with web engineering tasks, there are many things to consider. For one, what is the difference between a freelance web design partner and an agency partner and which one will be a better fit for your business?

Freelance design partner versus a web design agency partner

A freelance web designer is typically a self-employed person who designs and develops websites. The freelancer contracts mostly small to medium web design jobs from multiple clients and is paid upon completion of the website. A freelancer may or may not have a wide range of experience and usually specializes in building certain types of websites.

A web design agency typically has a team of experts who handle web design, graphic design, branding, and SEO as well as hosting and support services. Web design agencies usually have a niche, such as WordPress sites so you will want to choose one that provides the services you need.

Whether a freelance or agency partner is the right choice for you, it’s important to understand that a great partnership comes down to personal relationships, similar approaches and mutual respect.

What makes or breaks a web design partnership?

In most great partnerships, including a web design partnership, the following traits exist:

  • Complimentary skills and abilities. A partnership is a good idea when each side brings valuable skills and abilities to the table but lacks in the skills and abilities possessed by the partner.
  • Trust. A partnership will only work if the partners trust each other to be ethical and produce quality work in a reasonable timeframe.
  • Good communication. A good partnership requires clear and open communication. This means the ability to overcome difficult situations in a respectful way.
  • The ability to work with others. Being an introvert is okay, but partners need to be open to collaborating in order to complete projects.

Traits of a bad web design partnership include:

  • Finger pointing. Inevitably, not every project will go smoothly. If the go-to response is to blame your partner then it can eventually wear down the relationship.
  • Seeking work behind the other’s back. Contacting potential clients without the knowledge of your partner for work that you had agreed to partner on will create confusion and resentment.
  • Different goals and approaches. A partnership will not go well if each partner has different goals for the types of projects to take on and/or different approaches for how to complete the projects.

How to ensure a smooth partnership

Once you have carefully considered your options and chosen a web design partner who shares your work ethic and goals but who brings much needed skills to the table, there are some things you can do to ensure that the web design partnership is a success.

  • Start with a trial project. Before signing a long-term contract, work on one trial project together. You’ll get a good idea of how you work together really quickly and if it doesn’t turn out to be the right fit, you can sever ties when the project is over.
  • Put the details in writing. If the trial project went well and both parties are ready to form a long-term partnership, create a document that outlines the details of the partnership. This should include the percentage of revenue that will go to each partner, who is responsible for which tasks, which types of projects you’ll work on together and those that will be handled individually. You should also detail how the exit strategy will look should either partner decide to move on. It is a good idea to have each partner sign and date this document.
  • Have an attorney draft a partnership agreement. Speak to an attorney about forming a partnership agreement. It may even turn out to be a good idea to change your business structure to an LLC. A lawyer will know the laws in your state and be able to advise you on what business structure is best for your situation.

Softwired provides digital solutions for our partner agencies. We’ve got you covered for web design, SEO, local online presence and optimization, digital marketing, digital sales, and digital advertising. Whether you’re interested in a silent partnership or a referral program, web design only or more; contact us today to get started!

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Topics: web design

Oralie Chapman

Written by Oralie Chapman