Creative projects are a necessity for almost every business, from the smallest to the largest. Even a kid’s lemonade stand has a sign on it, right? When it comes time to do one of these projects, such as graphic design for a flyer or writing up a company history for the website, many businesses will handle it internally in an attempt to save money. After all, your own people are on a salary – why not squeeze another project out of them? Those creative agencies would be great, but they always seem to want to be paid at the end of the project for their hard work, and money doesn’t grow on trees.

At first, this approach seems like a great way to save money. But then there are hidden costs. Once you understand and factor in the hidden costs, you can see it’s actually cheaper to hire a professional to get the job done right. Let’s dive in:

Hidden Cost #1 – Inefficiency
When you task non-creative staff members with creative work, they’re just dabbling. They don’t do this type of work every day, and will probably re-invent the wheel many times on their way to creating the final product. A professional could get it done in much less time.

Your people are also probably quite busy. In the current lean business economy, each employee is shouldering a larger load than normal. Tasking your people with a side project will strain your resources, and it will probably take a back seat to their main work. The result, quite frankly, will be a half-assed product. When it comes to creative work, it would be better to avoid the project altogether than to do it halfway.

Hidden Cost #2 – The Numbers Game
When companies compare internal staffing costs to the cost of hiring a professional, they usually just use a salary number for internal staffing. Professionals, on the other hand, have to cover all of their own overhead expenses when they bid for a job. When the amount of overhead allocated to an internal staff member is put into the equation, however, studies show that hiring a professional can actually cost less than handling things in-house.

Hidden Cost #3 – Low Quality Work
Your staff may mean well. They may even have a spark of talent. But their work product generally is not as good as that of a professional. A professional has the spark of talent, too. The difference is that they’ve been fanning the flame for a long time, and they’ve got a nice hot fire going. They have extensive experience, relevant training, and like their niche so much that they decided to dedicate their life to it. All of this shows in the end product.

If you got sued, you wouldn’t ask your sales team to represent you in court. You’d hire a lawyer. The same goes for logo design, or web design. These things impact your bottom line. It pays to hire someone who can get the job done right.

Hidden Cost #4 – Blinders
When you hire a professional, you get a new perspective on your business. You get someone who hasn’t been drinking the Kool-Aid all day. Sometimes, you need an honest, outside assessment in order to set things straight. You generally won’t get this from your staff.

Tally these hidden costs up, and you’ll see that it’s well worth it to hire a professional. Let your HR people handle HR, let your sales people handle sales, and let your accounting folks do accounting. When they do creative work, chances are it will make your company look like a small-time outfit. Leave the creative work to the professionals, and keep your company’s image, voice, and bottom line strong.

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