Contractors: Should you showcase work samples?

Should a contractor post work samples on its own site? I give my opinion in this article and my dear readers, I wish you could give yours.

   If your company works as a contractor, for example you provide art work, music, coding to game development companies, you may have an official site. And in the portfolio page, you showcase some work samples of previous projects.

  Our company also have such a site, we always think it’s good to showcase more sample works. Upon the completion of a project, without second thought, we would write our client an email, asking if we can showcase the work. After doing this very much, I start to think, for a contractor like us, is it good to showcase the work, should we do it?

  Here in this article, I offer my subjective point of view. I sincerely wish anyone read this can give your valuable opinion regarding this issue. The viewpoints could be beneficial to all the contractors. Thank you in advance!

  I would list the pros and cons of showcasing your work, and then give my conclusion.



  As a contractor, you’re essentially a dealer. So you should have a catalog of what you sell. Your online portfolio serves this purpose very well. Your new and old clients can check out what you can do, is there a match of what you can provide and their needs.

  I think you are already familiar with sites of this type. For example, an art outsourcer’s site has illustrations, and 3D modeling posted; A video production company have some video clips.

  If your company site has only a few texts, and no works, it may of little use. 

  And your clients can judge your skill level only through your work samples. There no better way to communicate this message to the client.



  I think you already know more “Pros” than what I have written above, this is the reason why so many companies showcase their works. Here the “Cons” are mostly my opinion.


1. Work Samples can’t do much promotional job for you

  There’re many types of contractors offer different services. To make it simple, taking our company as an example, we offer 2D art works. What we can showcase are mostly pictures: scenery art, isometric art, map art, etc. I want to say, there are way too many this type of work samples on the Internet. A client could easily find thousands of this stuff. Would it make his job of finding a contractor easy? No.

  In choosing a contractor, skill level is only a factor among many more to consider: Is the contractor reliable? Does the contractor have good working style, good procedure? Is their boss a guy who you can easily get along with? Sure, the sample works can answer none of these. That the client must work hard over the portfolio to obtain these info.

  So to our side as a contractor, we should also find way to pass these answers to the client, of course not through portfolio.

  Here I have a story to show you that how little portfolio matters to your promotion. Last week in a developer’s gathering in Beijing, I made a new friend. He never knew our company, and I simply tell him that I’m the CEO of a company who makes art work for Match 3 games. Then he was delighted, saying that he have a friend who is looking for art contractors. And he instantly sent his friend a message to introduce me: I just know Junxue in the gathering, his company is doing supper cool art works for mobile games. When I got back, I reflected, he had never seen our art works and games, how did he know we “do supper cool art works”? People pretty much like to dramatize what they find, and not incline to believe what are pushed to them. So why send mails to people to invite them to look your website?


2. Would Divulge Your Hard Gained Client Info

   Our marketing dept works hard all through the years to get these info: What game developers work on what types of game, who would need what we can offer? When would they have openings?

  Well, our team is working on a few ongoing mobile games now, the F2P type that the game would update regularly, adding new contents, new arts. We never showcase the art works of those games, also in no way let the public know we work on them. Because if we do, we essentially offer these hard gained client info gratis to our rival companies.  They would go to our clients and offer better terms, then we’re doomed. The market sometimes is this cruel.


3. Would Scare Away Some Clients

Once a friend asked me to recommend some art outsourcers, for their company needed some hidden object game art. I recommended an Indian company(can’t remember the name now).  He said, this company wasn’t a good match, that from the work samples on their site, they seemed only work for big companies like Disney and Playdom. He wasn’t sure if his company could afford them.



   As a contractor, you should have a portfolio site. And you should pick a few work samples to represent the categories of work you can offer, and pick nice ones to demonstrate your ability.

  And you should not blindly post any work samples which are available to you. You should first get permission from your client, and then evaluate if posting them would promote or undermine your business. In a word, do it wisely.

And what would you say, my friend? 

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