One of the most common misconceptions in the business world or anywhere is that a “professional” by definition means “simply paid for service provided”. This is not true. Actually, in business services, you are never a professional until you are established and respected as one by your clients and peers.
A freelance professional web designer is actually a giant leap from the amateur ones in that he or she has established a portfolio of respectable work. If you are a freelance web designer, then it means that you have some sort of qualified training and experience, and have credentials that can be verified by contacting references. Freelance web-designers have a good reputation and rapport with their clients and other professionals. Generally speaking, a good freelance professional website designer can be a good person to have doing work on your site. But the thing is, they are hard to distinguish from the amateur when you are only searching the web to find them.
The obvious upside here is that if you find a good one they are significantly cheaper than a web design company. But, actually, that can very well be the only upside. If the budget limits you, then a freelancer will do for a small project. But anything seriously important should be left to a professional company, because a freelancer may not be able to handle the load himself.
Certain disadvantages to using a freelance professional are that they are usually part-time, meaning they are limited in how much time they can devote to your project. Apart from that, they are also limited in what they can do for you, considering they do not have the resources that a Web design company may have. Additionally, most freelancers are specialists in one area and generalists in everything else. Some have no skills in anything except their particular specialty and often you will have to find others to fill roles. In addition, freelancers are not always cheap although many of them are aspiring to create their own company. There are some who are highly sought after and even charge $100 per hour or more for their work. So the best thing to do here is, if you have that money available to spend, you should go with a company that has a team of professionals to get the job done expertly, and faster.