Brief Answers to Big Questions: In-House Vs. Outsourced Creativity

Published: March 29, 2019

by Justin Difazzio

It would take more time and space than any of us have to fully explore all of the pros and cons of hiring a creative team versus building one. That’s why we’ve started this series – Brief Answers to Big Questions – where we try to at least give you a framework for answering these bigger questions.

In this first entry, as you may have figured out, we’re talking about hiring your creative team in house versus outsourcing. This is a debate that has many committees and meeting rooms talking about what’s right for their given companies. Obviously, being a creative agency that makes its living by being hired, we might be a little biased. But there’s are good reasons why we think hiring an agency is the way to go. Check out the most important of those reasons below.


Because it all comes down to the dollars, we obviously have to start with cost. It might surprise you to learn that hiring an agency is actually less expensive than doing an in-house job. But when you really consider where the costs are, it makes sense. To do a job in house, you have to have the team to do it, which means hiring several people who all have different areas of expertise. Add to that the cost of equipment, whether that be desks and computers and chairs or cameras and a studio and all the trappings of an in-house production, and the price starts to skyrocket.

With an agency, there isn’t a huge initial cost including hours of finding the right person for the job. There’s you, in need of professionals, and the agency, who has the talent and credentials to get the job done. Seems a whole lot simpler to make a phone call and schedule a meeting than to add an entire wing onto your office just to house your creatives. And trust us, we need to be housed and fed.

man with paint-covered hands for outsourced creativity

Availability of Talent

The next point to consider is how easy or difficult it might be to find the right people with the right skills. A creative agency has everyone you need under one roof, whether it’s for photography, web design, video, ad copy, or something else. They’ve spent the time searching, vetting, and hiring creative talent—which means you don’t have to!

Creating an in-house team means doing the same searching, vetting, and hiring, and believe us, it’s not easy to find the right people to fill those slots.

grey pencils on yellow for outsourced creativity


When explaining the hidden costs earlier, we left out the very real cost of training. OC’s creatives have been through many, many years of real world and academic training. We’ve learned all sorts of tips and tricks, software and hardware, secrets and practices. And it’s not the kind of experience you can just buy. Do you have the time to train and raise up your superteam of creative spider-ninjas? In the years it might take to get the right mix of experience and knowledge, we could have been your spider-ninjas all along.

messy desk of outsourced creativity


Say you’ve interviewed, re-interviewed, and hired your team of creatives; now you’ve got to keep them busy. A team with no work to occupy them is not going to stick around. It’s a bit much to expect people to wait around until there’s work to be done. When you hire out, you won’t have to worry about that. It won’t be your job to make sure your creatives are busy, since they won’t be your creatives. All you have to worry about is letting an agency know what you need and working with them to make it happen.

Some companies who have an in-house creative team even hire out when the workload gets to be too much to handle. These hybrid agencies get to enjoy having an in-house team working closely with them and a team to call when they need a little bit of extra help.

us painting for outsourced creativity

Level of Involvement

One of the undeniable advantages of having built-in creatives is the closeness of that team. Many outsourced creative teams just can’t match the closeness and sense of ownership that comes with being directly involved. That being said, OC prides itself on its level of involvement. As we mentioned in a recent blog, we love becoming armchair experts on your industry or cause. We couldn’t do our job without it.

Yes, we might be biased toward hiring an agency, but it’s fairly clear that outsourcing has a bunch of advantages to creating your own in-house team. There’s plenty more to say about the choice, and we may revisit this topic at a future date. For now, though, we hope we’ve at least gotten your brain juices flowing by addressing the biggest concerns. Watch our blog in the future, when we’ll be back with more brief answers to big questions.