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How much do agencies charge per hour in the uk?

Are you looking to bench mark your agency rate again other within the industry? Or perhaps you are starting out and looking to find out how much do agency charge per hour on average? Here is our summary of the most recent information out there on agency rates!

Digital agencies play a vital role in the success of businesses today. These agencies provide a range of services, from website development to social media management, and help companies build their online presence. However, one of the most significant concerns for businesses is the cost of hiring a digital agency. In this blog, we will explore how much agencies charge per hour in the UK and what factors affect this cost.

It was estimated that there were over 25,000 digital agencies in the UK. However, this number is constantly changing as new agencies are established and others may close or merge with other companies.

Hourly Rates of Digital Agencies in the UK

The hourly rates charged by digital agencies in the UK can vary widely depending on the type of agency and the services they provide. According to a recent survey by Clutch, the average hourly rate charged by UK digital agencies is £86, although rates can range from £25 to £200 or more per hour.


Common Factors Affecting Digital Agency Hourly Rates

Several factors can affect the hourly rate charged by digital agencies in the UK. Here are some of the most significant factors:

  1. Type of Agency: The type of agency you hire will have a significant impact on the hourly rate. For example, a smaller agency may charge a lower hourly rate than a larger, more established agency.
  2. Agency Expertise: Agencies with highly specialised skills, such as those in artificial intelligence or blockchain development, may charge a premium rate due to the high demand for their services.
  3. Location: The location of the agency can also affect the hourly rate. Agencies located in major cities such as London or Manchester may charge higher rates due to higher overhead costs.
  4. Project Complexity: The complexity of your project will also impact the hourly rate charged by the agency. For example, a project that requires significant research, planning, and development will generally be charged at a higher rate than a simple website redesign.
  5. Timeline: The timeline of your project can also impact the hourly rate. If you need a project completed quickly, the agency may charge a higher hourly rate to account for the additional resources required to meet the deadline.

Types of Digital Agency Services and Their Hourly Rates

Here are some of the most common types of digital agency services and their corresponding hourly rates when considering how much do agencies charge per hour:

  1. Web Design and Development Agencies UK: The hourly rate for web design and development services can vary widely depending on the complexity of the project. However, the average hourly rate for this service is around £75.
  2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Agencies UK: The hourly rate for SEO services can also vary widely depending on the complexity of the project. However, the average hourly rate for this service is around £85.
  3. Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)Agencies UK: The hourly rate for PPC services is generally higher than other digital agency services due to the expertise required to run successful campaigns. The average hourly rate for PPC services is around £110.
  4. Social Media Management Agencies UK: The hourly rate for social media agency services can vary widely depending on the scope of the project. However, the average hourly rate for this service is around £60.

How Do Digital Agency Rates In The UK Differ To International Agencies?

Rates in the UK can differ from international digital agency rates in a number of ways. Some of the factors that may influence these include:

  1. Cost of living: The cost of living in the UK is generally higher than in many other countries, which means that digital agencies in the UK may need to charge more to cover their costs.
  2. Competition: The level of competition in the digital agency market can vary from country to country. In some countries, there may be more competition which can drive prices down, while in others, there may be fewer competitors, leading to higher prices.
  3. Skill level: The skill level of digital agency staff can also impact rates. In countries with a higher level of education and training, such as the UK, agencies may be able to charge more for their services due to the higher skill level of their staff.
  4. Market demand: The demand for digital agency services can also vary by country. In some countries, the market may be saturated with digital agencies, while in others, there may be a higher demand for these services, which can impact rates.

When hiring a digital agency in the UK, it’s essential to understand the factors that impact the hourly rate charged by these agencies. While hourly rates can vary widely, it’s important to choose an agency that offers the right balance of expertise and affordability. Ultimately, the cost of hiring a digital agency is a necessary investment in the growth and success of your business.

Do most Marketing Agencies in the UK charge an average hourly rate or by monthly retainer?

Digital marketing agencies in the UK will employ different pricing models, depending on the nature of their services and the preferences of both the agency and the client. There are two primary pricing models to consider:

1. Hourly Rate: Agencies that adopt an hourly rate pricing model charge clients based on the actual time spent working on specific tasks or projects. This approach is commonly used for services that can be easily tracked by the hour, things like as consulting, graphic design, website development, and advertising campaign management (PPC and social advertising for example). Average hourly rates can vary based on things like location, agency size, and the experience of the team within the digital agency.

2. Monthly Retainer: Lots of digital marketing agencies prefer to work on a monthly retainer basis rather than an hourly rate plan. With this model, clients pay a fixed fee each month for ongoing services and support. Digital agency retainers are often used for services like ongoing SEO, content marketing, social media management, digital advertsing like PPC and social media plus many more functions. The agency retainer structure provides clients with a predictable, ongoing relationship with the agency, and it is often more cost-effective for clients with ongoing needs. In some cases, agencies may opt for a hybrid approach, using a combination of average hourly rates and retainers based on the client’s requirements and the services needed. When deciding between agency hourly rates and monthly retainers, it is important to consider factors such as the project or campaign’s nature, the client’s budget, and the agency’s preferred pricing structure. It is also important to have a chat about pricing and billing terms with the agency before initiating a project to ensure there is a clear understanding of the payment structure and expectations.

There is no right or wrong way to structure agency payment and as we say is will often depend of the project type or the way the agency is set up.

What Is The Female Led Agency Landscape Like In The UK?

In recent years there have been several research studies conducted on women-owned digital agencies in the UK. Here are a few key findings:

  1. Women-owned digital agencies are still underrepresented: According to a study by the UK government’s Women’s Business Council, women-owned businesses in the UK make up only 20% of all SMEs, and this figure is lower for digital agencies specifically. Women-owned digital agencies are still a minority in the industry, although there are some signs of progress.
  2. Women-owned digital agencies tend to be smaller: A report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that women-owned businesses in general tend to be smaller than their male-owned counterparts, and this is also true for women-owned digital agencies. However, the FSB report also noted that women-owned businesses are more likely to have a social or environmental mission, which can be a key factor in their success.
  3. Women-owned digital agencies face similar challenges to other women-owned businesses: According to research by NatWest, women-owned businesses in the UK face a range of challenges, including access to funding and networking opportunities. These challenges can also impact women-owned digital agencies, as they may struggle to grow and compete in a male-dominated industry.

Overall, research suggests that women-owned digital agencies in the UK still face a number of challenges, but there are also signs of progress and support for these businesses. For example, initiatives like the Women in Business Network and the Female Founders Forum along with communities like Women in Agencies are working to promote and support women entrepreneurs in the UK.

If you want to know more about how much do agencies charge per hour – get in touch with us for connections to recent bench marking reports and agency insiders!

Beth Hellowell
Founder of Women in Agencies and co-founder of Signify Digital. Mother, social media scroller and frequent pasta eater.