A PR agency can help you build a spotless reputation for your brand that stretches across the entire world. Their employees are trained to excel at a myriad of different marketing skills, and they offer an impressive network that few entrepreneurs (or even content marketers) can provide. But they aren’t necessary for all companies, and hiring a PR agency at the wrong time will drain your finances quickly with little to show for it.

So how do you know if you’re ready to hire a PR agency? Here are five signs that it’s time:

1. You don’t have the time or energy to do media outreach properly

This is the biggest reason to hire a PR agency. Media outreach is a long and complicated process for entrepreneurs. You can spend entire weeks just researching journalists and media companies that spotlight businesses like yours. Once the research is done you need to actually reach out to every single one of them. And only a handful will respond. When you’re first starting out, it’s possible that none of them will respond.

It’s a grueling, time consuming process that often yields lackluster results, especially for first time business owners. Many entrepreneurs see these results and stop doing media outreach, or only do it occasionally.

2. PR agencies have accumulated lots of industry experience

But a PR agency has been through this process dozens, hundreds, or thousands of times on behalf of their clients. They know who all the journalists are in the industries they work with. They how to entice these journalists to pick up a story. They know how to get the results you’re looking for.

Hiring a PR agency keeps your business in journalists’ minds without you having to lift a finger. It lets you get back to the work you were meant to be doing. And it offers your business the best possible chance of success.

3. You need access to a bigger network

Remember those journalists we were talking about? PR agencies don’t just know who they are. Any worthwhile PR agency will have existing relationships with many different journalists. They’ll know what those journalists are looking for at any given time, and name recognition means those journalists are more likely to answer an agency’s emails.

This network is the most powerful thing you get from a PR agency, and many agencies’ networks stretch around the entire world. Most entrepreneurs simply don’t have access to a network like that, and building one takes years. The world’s largest PR firms have built their connections up over several decades.

4. Not all PR agencies are the same

It should be noted that not all PR agencies are created equal. You can’t assume that you’ll get access to an elite network of influencers just because it’s a PR agency. Any company you’re considering working with should be transparent about the types of connections they have. They might not be able to give you an extensive list of names, but if they can’t reference any specific examples, they’re not giving you access to the right kind of network.

But if you find an agency with dozens of connections to top influencers in your industry you’ll be able to push your business to new heights with every marketing campaign.

5. You can afford a good agency

A PR agency can help your business reach astronomical heights, but it’s entirely possible to build a successful business without one. Nobody should ever go into debt hiring a PR agency. You shouldn’t be trimming other aspects of your budget either.

Last but certainly not least, you shouldn’t hire a less-than-spectacular PR firm because it’s all you can afford. You can do average marketing for average results yourself without spending nearly as much money. A PR firm should only come into the picture if they’re going to do something you can’t.

If you want to work with a PR agency but you don’t have the funds, make it a goal to create those funds. Start saving up. And while you’re at it, use this time to carefully research your options. That will help you choose the right agency the first time.