Why do agencies take so long to finish a project?

Hiring an agency to take charge of a creative project sounds like a pretty cushy deal. You’ve got a whole team of professionals hammering away at the work and getting it to the highest standard possible. And of course, if you’ve got more people working on it, it’s bound to be much quicker…Right?

Well, it doesn’t always work out quite like that. A lethal combo of bureaucracy, loads of different opinions and a lack of creative input on the client’s part can often mean agency projects drag on and on (and on…). Don’t believe us? A staggering 8% of agency briefs take 50 or more iterations to reach completion. That’s almost 1 in 10. Are those stats you’re willing to take a bet on?

So how can you get a project completed on time? In this article, we’ll talk you through how Twine helps you save time against agencies.

Save time against agencies | How Twine gets your work done on time

Why do agencies take a long time to complete projects?

Too much bureaucracy

Having twice as many people in a meeting doesn’t make decision making more efficient, or get work done faster. Instead, you tend to just end up with a load of conflicting opinions, with different agency staff arguing for different approaches. Throw a couple of egos into the mix and you’ve got a time-management disaster waiting to happen. Often, it can end with no one able to agree…So what do agencies do then? Hold more meetings!

The larger an agency gets, the worse this can get. It might take three meetings and a sign-off from five different levels of management to finalise a simple copy change. This sort of culture delays any actual work getting done. You know all those billable hours you’re getting charged for? A lot of those will be for these long-winded meetings that don’t actually move the project forward in any tangible way.

As they say, too many cooks spoil the broth. Or, in this case, too many cooks spend 6 hours debating whether the broth needs more salt and all the customers have left because their meal is 5 and half hours late.

Illustration of cats having a meeting. Meetings and bureaucracy at creative agencies can eat up a lot of time and can slow down work.
Meetings and bureaucracy at creative agencies can eat up a lot of time and can slow down work.

Agency pricing models

Agency work doesn’t come cheap. What’s worse, is that their fee structures often encourage the sort of navel-gazing we mentioned in the last point. For instance, if they’re paid by the hour and meetings are billable hours, there’s really no incentive to hurry the project along. The longer it takes, the more money they’ll get.

Similarly, retainer fees don’t reward the agency for being proactive or efficient. The money will come in either away, even if the project is behind schedule.

On top of these fees, agencies will often charge you for every new iteration of a project. And while this sounds reasonable at first, the bureaucracy of agencies often means you end up going through a lot more iterations than you would with a freelancer. Every iteration takes extra time and extra money, and the project just seems to plod on forevermore. When you take all that into consideration, finding a way to save time against agencies seems pretty crucial if you’re serious about a project.


Additional iterations can make a project last far longer than it should. If you save time against agencies, you're also saving money.
Every iteration not only makes the project take longer, but costs the client more too.


Lack of client input

When the client (a.k.a you) hands over a project to an agency, they’re often pretty much surrendering creative control. This means you won’t get the opportunity to give feedback very often, and you might have to wait until an iteration is complete before you see the work.

And if you don’t like it? Well, tough luck, you’ll be paying another iteration fee and praying that the next one will be better.

When you take all this into consideration it’s really no surprise that some projects end up going through so many iterations and take so long to finish.


How can Twine help you save time against agencies?

No bureaucracy and easy communication = time saved

When you hire a freelancer on Twine you know exactly who you’re working with. You pick the freelancer based on their pitch, and manage the project directly. For instance, your ‘manage briefs’ page lets you see exactly what stage your project’s at so you have an idea about how much longer it will take.

Similarly, Twine’s inbuilt messaging system lets you communicate with your creative directly, whenever you need to. Rather than a team of agency staff making decisions you’re not happy with, you get to keep creative control and make sure the project is coming along according to plan. This helps you save time against agencies, as you’re less likely to need endless iterations before you get a result you’re happy with.

In fact, we’re certain you’ll need less iterations. Remember that 8% of agency briefs that take 50 iterations to get right? Well, at Twine, nearly the exact same amount (7%) are completed on the day. That’s right, you could post your brief and have the finished project by the end of the day!

GIF: "8% of creative agency briefs undergo over 50 iterations. At Twine, 7% are completed on the day." Twine helps you save time against agencies by reducing the number of iterations it takes to get a finished project.
Cut down on wasted time by posting your brief on Twine.

Transparent pricing

Our payment system is safe, secure, and transparent. And best of all, it helps you save time against agencies.

We only release payment to your creative when you’re happy with the finished project. This means there’s no incentive to let a project drag on for longer than necessary, like there might be in an agency. Our system incentivises working efficiently and well, rather than just wasting time.*

*That’s not to say your project will be rushed, just that there won’t be unnecessary delays that cost you money.

Plus, it’ll nearly always save you money to work with an individual rather than an agency. Projects on Twine will arrive on time, at an affordable price. 

Illustration of a piggy bank.
Twine keeps your money safe and secure – until you’re happy with the finished product. There’s no incentive to let a project go on and on.

The bottom line

So, to sum up, here’s what you can expect from an agency, and what you can expect from Twine:


  • Endless meetings meaning decisions don’t get made & work takes longer.
  • Lots of iterations before you’ve got anything close to a finished product.
  • Iteration fees & hourly pricing that drive the cost up the longer the project takes.
  • Lack of creative control on your part, so the agency takes longer to get it right.


  • Easy communication with your freelancer means you can work efficiently.
  • You can take as much creative control as you like & make sure the work is going to plan.
  • Less iterations than an agency = time saved.
  • Transparent pricing that incentivises getting the work done.


Becca is the Marketing Executive at Twine. She loves literature, music, film and make-up. She spends a lot of time complaining about the mismatched angles of her winged eyeliner and stalking drag queens on Instagram. Otherwise, she’s helping Joe by writing blog posts and keeping Twine’s social media running.