In-house editor or freelancer?

How to know what you need

If you’re a creative or design agency sending content to clients without a second set of eyes reviewing your work, you’re leaving your business open to reputational damage and a less than perfect first impression.

If you’ve decided it’s no longer worth the risk and have made the choice to engage a proofreader and editor – but you’re not sure whether to go in-house or hire a freelancer, this post will break down the pros and cons of each to help you decide which suits your business best.  

Proofreading vs editing 

First thing’s first. Do you need proofreading or editing?

In our previous post about the benefits of having a professional proofreader and editor on your team, we mentioned the differences between the two services. In case you missed it: 

  • Proofreading is the final check of a document before you press send or go to print. Its importance is often overlooked because we all tend to proofread our work a few times before we send it on, but it can be hard for us to spot our own mistakes and many slip through the cracks. 
  • Copy editing is a more substantial service and is ideal if you need assistance with sentence structure and flow, or would like some help fixing any inconsistencies in tone across your work. 


If you’ve got a team of strong writers (and you’re engaging the proofreader/editor after the client has signed off on the content), then proofreading is your best option. At that stage, their job will be to catch any typos or stray punctuation before the client gets the final version ready to publish.

However, if you’ve gone back and forth with your clients and something’s just not right, the tone is inconsistent or the words could use some tidying up, copy editing can be your saving grace.


A lot of the time, in-house can be the preferred option for large companies. After all, if you’ve got the budget and the workload, having someone at your disposal in-house makes sense. They’re there all the time and only work for you, so you can be guaranteed some face time and decent turnaround times. It’s important to keep in mind that when you hire someone as an employee, you also have substantial overheads – not only are you paying them a salary, leave, benefits and superannuation, you’re also paying for their desk space and devices. 

  • You have someone dedicated to your business.
  • Face time with your employee.
  • Ability to dictate their workload and delegate responsibilities to suit operational requirements.
  • Higher overheads – paying for salary, leave, super and devices.
  • Employees may not have the specific expertise you need for project-oriented work. 
  • Business continuity can suffer when that person is unavailable.



If you’re a small agency or a solo copywriter, a freelance proofreader and editor can be the low-cost value-add you’re looking for. Without the overheads that come with having someone on staff, freelancers offer you the opportunity to have someone great on your team, without having them on your team (i.e being responsible for them). Freelancers often have great flexibility, are experts in their field, can help you out in a pinch, and there’s minimal paperwork – what’s not to love!

  • You’re not required to commit to an ongoing contract. 
  • Lower overheads and fewer responsibilities – you’re not paying annual leave, super or training new staff.
  • You get access to an expert in their field for the projects you need.
  • You get a fresh set of eyes and someone bringing new ideas to the table.
  • Freelancers are motivated to do an excellent job, since their business relies on positive reviews.


  • Since freelancers make their own calendars, if you haven’t got someone locked in for regular work, you can end up on the hunt for someone else at the last minute.
  • Freelancers have a diverse workload and often book out in advance.
  • Lack of supervision – if you’re someone who likes to be able to oversee all your team members, having a freelancer work independently can be a challenge.


Of course, all these cons can be mitigated with open and honest communication with your freelancer. Know you’ll need them to complete a few hours of work next month? Great, book them in. Concerned you won’t have oversight of your freelancer? If you’ve got an ongoing arrangement, be sure to organise regular check-ins so you’re both on the same page.

If you’d like to see how a professional proofreader and editor can help your business thrive, contact us to get started.