Why are Agencies So Expensive?

  • Author: Bradley Pawson

Marketing and design agencies are usually pretty expensive, right? …How come?

Have you ever wondered why agencies – and freelance designers alike – tend to not charge according to man-hours? Instead seem to have some kind of weird pricing model in place whereby they carry out evaluations. Asking a bunch of questions about the client and the work they want doing. Then seemingly pluck some random figure out of the air as a ‘quote’ for a project?

It’s because in the world of branding, marketing and design (particularly in the contexts of creating logos, brand identities, marketing materials and websites), it’s all about operating within a client’s budget and working around ROI. Return on investment is everything to companies, and it’s everything to us here at Diony too.

Well, not literally everything but it’s very, very important – is my point!

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How we do it.

When a company approaches us and asks us to work with them on a project, we evaluate the business. Finding out what they’re all about, before even thinking about a final quote.

Instead we want to get to know a business first before we fully price things up; we need to evaluate their wants and needs, their target market/audience, their products and services, their model and most importantly, their core values. We need a company to be transparent with us so we can be transparent with them in return.

Understanding a company in terms of their brand – their identity, their personality and how they want to be perceived – is how an agency decides which steps are necessary and is then able to develop a plan of action accordingly. Arguably the most fundamental thing for an agency is understanding a company’s problems and using that understanding to provide real, working solutions to those problems.


So there we are, that’s it. Agencies don’t charge based on man-hours or raw material costs but instead charge according to value and return on investment. And it’s probably worth noting that a cheap agency likely offers services and work product that matches their pricing.

The old saying “you get what you pay for” isn’t always 100% applicable in the world of business but indeed couldn’t be more relevant to the marketing and design world. When you hire an agency, like us, you’re making a long-lasting investment from which you will reap benefits for time to come. What you’re not doing is taking a cheap, blinded punt in the dark and hoping for the best.


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