Savvy small business owners understand that regardless of their business’s size, branding is everything. Branding lets you appear bigger than you actually are, which inspires confidence, and confidence leads to sales, which in turn may create a solid customer base.

Of course, to make branding work, you need competent designers to make it happen. There are several ways to do this, but more than ever, hiring the services of design companies has become by far, the most compelling solution, especially for cash-strapped startups.

Here are 5 ways using a digital design company can be a smart way to make the most of a limited branding budget:

1.) You don’t pay for training, development, or downtime

In a typical contract with a digital design company, you usually only have to pay for whatever is produced or for specific billable hours. This isn’t the case if you decide to build a team to provide design work. Training, development, payroll, and permanent employee benefits all contribute to the cost of retaining in-house employees to do design work. This means that you still have to pay for all the associated “non-productive” hours.

If you hire a design agency, they already absorb these costs themselves. This can make them much more appealing, especially if you only need design work done intermittently.

While in-house teams are certainly useful if you want instant access to your designers or if expect to be able to closely supervise the design process, having those capabilities certainly isn’t cheap and comes with a cost.

2.) You can get expert designers immediately

While there is certainly no shortage of talented in-house designers, agency designers typically handle much greater volumes of work and are thus tend to be more experienced and more proficient in the nuts and bolts of design.

This is especially handy for fledgling organizations as they can immediately get the input of professional designers, rather than rely on trial and error as often happens when businesses that do not specialize in design attempt to do design work themselves.

3.) You don’t need to get more space or purchase new equipment

Acquiring plant assets such as space and equipment can be quite expensive for smaller businesses. While it’s true that you can often make do with older (and cheaper) computers and hardware, this can severely cripple your workflow and may not necessarily give you value for money.

By getting the services of a digital design company, you can get around these issues altogether. Agencies already have their own space and equipment, and they already made the necessary investments to create faster workflows for the tasks they are hired to do. This means that you can enjoy world-class design work even if you don’t have the equipment, space, or manpower needed to produce it yourself.

4.) They can invest in design solutions, while you probably can’t

Agencies tend to produce design assets at a lower cost per piece compared to most in-house departments largely because they can focus on just creating design solutions. This means they can justify making the necessary investments in equipment, hiring, and workflow optimization that lets them produce design assets quicker and at a lower cost.

 5.) You avoid making expensive rookie mistakes

Using an agency lets you skip over the growing pains that come with developing your own design capacity. It’s inevitable to make mistakes when building any kind of complex system, and creating workflows and capabilities for design work is no exception.

While these mistakes can normally just be charged to experience, they will still cost you nonetheless. And if you’re not willing to commit all into building your design capabilities, these expenses are harder to justify. By using a vetted digital design company, you are better able to avoid the risks and expenses associated with developing your own organization’s design chops.

Be sure to visit 500 Designs to learn what you can do with your branding budget!