The Costs of Working with Web Developers as a Marketing Agency

Finding clients as white label development has its challenges, especially when working with marketing agencies. You have to explain to owners and management why they would delegate such a valuable part of the job to another agency. And, you have to explain how that benefits them.

The caveat here is that it seems self-explanatory. The marketing agency should delegate web development to you, right? What if they have a web dev department? What is the benefit you provide?

That’s the catch, and it’s all about the upsell.

The Secret of the Upsell

Marketing agencies are our core clients. But not every marketing agency is our perfect fit. We want to work with marketing agencies that constantly need web developers. So, they can keep us on the retainer, and we can help their clients.

For example, it’s less expected that an agency with 300 employees would work with us. Since they have 300 employees, it’s safe to assume they have an IT department. However, an agency with 5-20 employees may work with us just fine.

Let’s say that there’s an agency (call it BestSEO’, and they have several specialists on their team. Even if they have a web designer, it’s a long shot that it’s a person that’s also a high-level web dev. And, there’s even less chance that they can cover that if they want to grow in profit and expand.

So, they can hire an external agency (Deluminal could be a fantastic choice). Since Deluminal is a white label development agency, it leaves them with all the credit and the solutions for their clients.

For the agency, that’s an upsell. Now they can sell additional services and be more competitive. Yet, that’s not without its costs.

Costs of the Upsell

Almost immediately, you can hear an objection coming. You can summarize it like this – Why would agencies pay an external agency for this instead of hiring a web developer?

Let’s go back to the SEO agency example. Imagine that they do hire a developer, and they employ a senior. A junior or medior won’t cut it in a fast-paced professional environment. Now, they have to plan for a six-figure yearly paycheck, and that’s the starting cost of hiring a new employee.

A whole new problem arises when you think about the income coming in from the clients. The question is, how many projects can a single developer tackle simultaneously?

It’s too much for the developer to fix old websites, build new websites and work on current projects. Sure, they work on a set number of projects, but you have them on payroll now. You have to pay them directly, regardless of the business that month or year.

On the other hand, working with an agency is much simpler. Instead of having a retainer, you can purchase their services when you need them. Also, you can negotiate service packages to help you stay afloat financially.


Negotiation is an essential skill to have regardless of what you sell. When you know how to find a way to partner with other people to mutual benefit, you win. The same applies when you work with custom code developers.

First, think about the services you are selling as a marketing agency. An agency working with Google Ads may need less web dev, and they may have a client that needs a good landing page and website optimization.

Then again, an SEO agency may require much more work with web architecture and optimization. There’s an apparent amount of work you know you need from the web dev in both scenarios. Thus, you can:

• Specify web dev needs
• Make a summary of necessary tasks
• Define timeframes and deadlines for the tasks

Or you can say that you know what the exact need for a web developer for your projects is. It’s a tad different if you want to build custom websites. Then, you need to negotiate the specifics of each project and proceed from there. For more mundane purposes, you can create a framework.

Building a Framework

Now that you know what kind of help you need, you can find a web dev agency to help you. Then, you can negotiate the service price, build a framework, and sell it for a higher price. That’s the power of the upsell.

Of course, this new service goes to paying the web dev. Yet, without the web dev, there would be no further service. And, it’s still more profitable than hiring developers and keeping them on the payroll even more so if you consider the flexibility of partnering up with another agency.

You decide when and how you want to cooperate instead of paying a monthly paycheck to the in-house developer. It all comes down to how you want to use web development to expand and upsell your services.

In the end, the total cost of web development depends on whether you want custom website, bespoke software, or a WordPress website.

Also, this isn’t rocket science. Agencies partner up all the time and make it work, and at least they do when they have the proper fight.


Take your time before making any decisions. If you want to learn more about this framework, schedule a call with us.

There’s no point in improving your business if you are unsure how to do it. Instead, do the research, talk to people and improve your services, and that’s the sure way to win in business.

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