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Spotting Agency Red Flags July 19, 2022

We’ve all been there at least once. You’ve ignored the warning signs and your better judgment to bet on hope! It’s easy to be enticed by the promises of quick fixes and unbeatable prices. But what happens when expectations aren’t aligned and you get to the end and neither party is satisfied? What does it mean to “get what you pay for” when you don’t have any idea how much something should cost? We’ve put together a list of some of the most common red flags to watch out for when selecting an agency partner.

  1. Lack of guardrails 
    1. If an agency is promising you a “full solution” without any clear technical requirements laid out prior, you are likely in for misalignment on expectations, which will end up with overages, unhappiness, or a lack of project completion to your desired results.
  2. “We can work with any budget!”
    1. Especially if you have complex needs. You’d question the quality of a diamond for a few dollars, right? The same goes for development.
  3. Generalists vs specialists
    1. Pending your specific need, you might need a specialist and be seeking the experience of a generalist. Not sure what you need? Read more about the difference between the two here.
  4. Contracts
    1. Poorly or undefined deliverables
    2. A quick hand-off of the contract before you have a clear understanding of how they work or what you’ll be getting
    3. Undefined costs
  5. Agency Personal Motivation
    1. Agencies can get a kickback or higher praise from platforms when they refer clients to them. Preferences are normal based on experience but if you are truly looking for a partner to help you pick the right platform for you (and not them) you will want to engage in an agnostic platform evaluation to weigh your needs vs platforms capabilities (for instance, build in vs custom builds)
    2. You need to demo platforms and review pricing tiers. An agency is responsible for helping move your assets, building you a custom design, or providing development options. They won’t know your operations in and out so you will need to ensure the platform you are considering moving to works within your price range and is scalable based on your business needs.