Any reader of trade publications or, really, the news in general knows that we’re living in a freelance economy, full of self-employed design and copy wizards who make their own hours and do it all while somehow finding the time to have a seriously deep bench of impeccable eyewear.

The freelance lifestyle is a great choice for hustlers and hard workers, but is working with a freelancer the right decision for you and your company?

We love freelancers—hello, we work with them, too—but they might not always be the best option for your marketing design project.

Here are a few things to consider when shopping around for design work:

How soon do you need your design? If you need your design project turned around fast, you don’t have time to wait on a freelancer to get back to you—let alone wade through the dozens (or hundreds) or designers that might respond to you via a Craigslist post or crowdsourced marketplace. If you don't have a freelancer already locked and loaded, you might have have to tell your boss you'll need to push the deadline.

Downside protection. When working with a freelancer you’re taking a risk with the quality and the service. Unless your freelancer comes with gold-plated recommendations—and hey, that can happen, especially if working with a former employee who went out on her own—be sure to pad your schedule and budget in case your designer can't deliver on time or to the quality you need.

Aligning priorities. The economics of freelancing are rough, which means a lot of freelancers have way too much stuff on their plate. When you're lining up a freelancer for your project, be sure she has the availability to deliver on your schedule. With a freelancer, you're the safety net—so double-and-triple check to make sure you'll meet your deadlines.

Budget Insecurity. Estimates can be fast and loose—the freelancer might have said one price to close the deal, but that might not be the final price. Once you've headed down the road with a freelancer—you might end up paying a lot more than you expected.

Freelancing isn’t easy, and we’ve got tons of respect for the folks who do it. With Lightboard, you get the best of both worlds—high-quality design delivered quickly and efficiently, and you can confidently look your boss in the eye and say "the design came in under budget and on time."