Why do agencies have hourly rates?

If you are currently looking for a marketing agency and have gotten a quote for your project, you must have noticed the invoice broken down hourly with an attached monetary compensation for a given part of the project. In case you were wondering why it’s done this way, and most importantly, how long the actual work will take once you start working with the agency, here’s a quick breakdown on that (no pun intended).


First off, while you might cringe at the hourly rate of the project when you first look at it, it actually is a good thing that your marketing agency is detailing everything out for you. You need to know how much time they will be spending on your account. Transparency and trust go hand in hand, and if there’s something left unsaid or not discussed, it will be very hard to dial it back mid-project. Leaving no room for assumptions, but firm confirmations on the scope of work and the time put into it, is one of the best ways to make sure the project is set for a good start.


Seeing how much time is being put into the project should shed some light into what you are actually getting. If you are hiring a freelancer or one of those crowdsourcing websites and paying $100 for your logo. Be sure that your designer is not going to spend 20 hours on the logo, and will try to make it as fast as possible. Naturally, there won’t be any room for an in-depth collaboration or strategy, a that’s all cut out of the project to save time to execute it. This could be a very convenient service for someone who is just starting a business and is not yet sure if the business is a viable idea, but if you have been running your company for at least 5 years and you’ve proven your business concept – you might be ready to clean up your brand and have a proper strategy in place – and that takes time.


That being said, one thing you do want to clarify with your agency is how accurate their estimates have been in the past. Here at Cucumber, our estimates are 99% accurate and I can’t think of the time when we had to charge our clients more than what we have estimated (unless the scope of work was changed by the client).  Keeping the project on time and on budget is one of the things you should be expecting from your agency – after all, that’s exactly why you are hiring a marketing agency (and not a crowdsourcing platform), so they make those marketing recommendations and help you to execute them too.