There is no question that hiring freelancers can be a great way to grow your business. By outsourcing work to independent contractors, you can save time and money while still getting the job done. However, there are also some risks associated with using freelancers, which is why it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.
We’ve rounded up some benefits and potential risks of hiring freelancers. Read through, then decide if freelance contracting is right for your business needs!
Considering the Benefits of Hiring Freelancers
The gig economy is growing daily. This is excellent news for businesses looking to outsource work to independent contractors and enjoy the advantages of hiring freelancers.
If you’ve ever weighed your company’s financial ability to hire an employee, you’re probably aware that you need to factor in more than their salary. The Small Business Association reports that the minimum economic output is generally 1.25 to 1.4 times an employee’s salary. Beyond salary, you’ll have immediate costs in bonuses, various employee benefits, and taxes.
There are also other financial factors to consider. For example, training, employee engagement programs, and unproductive time need to get factored in. These combine to dent the cost-effectiveness of hiring another in-house employee.
On the other hand, by hiring a freelancer, you are only paying for the time it takes to get the job done. You’re saving your company money over having a salaried employee who may not be consistently utilized. You also don’t have the overhead associated with providing technology and office space for in-house teams.
Short-Term Access to Specialized Talent
Do you have varying needs for a specific talent? It wouldn’t be cost-effective to have someone on your team full-time that you’re only utilizing occasionally.
When it comes to hiring freelancers, you can find a skilled independent contractor who can handle a specialized design or marketing strategy you only need occasionally. You might discover the best freelancer lives overseas. That works out if they don’t need to collaborate with your team routinely.
Does your business experience seasonal fluctuations or offer various services that don’t support consistent workflows? Utilizing a freelancer allows you to increase or decrease your team quickly and easily.
Since independent contractors aren’t employees, you don’t have to worry about employment taxes, long-term commitments if they’re not a great fit, or other team dynamics when hiring them. You can onboard new talent quickly to meet your current business needs.
A Wider Talent Pool
According to reports, as many as 59 million professionals are freelancing. You can work with talent that isn’t interested in your full-time jobs—not to mention that freelancers often perform independent tasks that don’t require collaboration.
Therefore, you can consider a globally skilled workforce when you’re not hemmed in by time zones for team overlap. You’ll increase your chances of finding the right person for the job and discover creative solutions.
Finally, hiring freelancers can bring a new perspective to your projects. While you may have an internal team that understands your business model and the challenges, sometimes new eyes are needed to offer valuable insight or create something unique.
Freelancers tend to perform similar tasks for a variety of companies and industries. They’ll bring ideas that might be impossible to gain from someone focused solely on your field.
Considering the Potential Risks of Hiring Freelancers
Although there are many benefits to hiring a freelancer, you should consider a few potential risks. Flexibility and cost savings can be attractive, but it’s vital to understand other areas that might not fit your current business model.
Lack of Quality Control
When working with freelancers, you have a different level of quality control than with in-house employees. It can be challenging to monitor a freelancer’s performance and ensure they meet quality standards. The work they submit might differ from your company’s standards, but a time-sensitive project might require you to accept it. You also might not know the work will be behind schedule until the deadline has passed.
Increased Opportunities for Miscommunication
Hiring remote freelancers adds additional complexity to communication. Without the ability to meet regularly, misunderstandings can arise quickly. You can lay out a proactive plan for communicating with freelance contractors and providing them with timely feedback when needed, but it’s up to each freelancer to uphold their end of the communication.
When you hire an independent contractor, you are responsible for ensuring that they meet your company’s legal and ethical standards, just as you are for an in-house employee. However, you generally have less oversight and recourse if there are infringements.
It would help if you also considered how their work could affect your business’s liability. For example, suppose a freelancer commits copyright infringement or causes you to breach a contract with your customers. It becomes your responsibility to address the issue.
Lack of Supervision
When you’re working with hourly freelancers, you might wonder if they’re managing their time well. With independent contractors, you don’t always have a supervisor to ensure time is consistently productive. You’ll need to ensure they are doing the job correctly and not wasting time on tasks that aren’t necessary for the project.
Tips to Successfully Add Freelancers to Your Team
Even with those concerns, hiring freelancers can be a great way to quickly and efficiently add top-notch talent to your team. But to ensure you’re getting the most from this arrangement, there are some tips you should keep in mind:
Define Your Contractor Needs
Before you start searching for contractors, defining your needs is essential. Answer questions such as:
- What type of contractor do I need?
- What are their desired qualifications, skills, and experience?
- What specific tasks will they be responsible for?
Once you have a clear idea of the kind of contractors you need for each role, you can more easily identify candidates who fit your needs.
Set Clear Expectations
Everyone likes to know the expectations upfront. And this may be more true for freelancers, as they’re running a service-based business. When hiring a freelancer, set clear expectations and provide them with details, such as deadlines, the scope of work, how they will be paid, etc. Always have a contract that clarifies everything in writing. You’ll ensure everyone is on the same page and help avoid miscommunication later.
Build Relationships With Regular Freelancers
When you find a freelancer you enjoy working with who consistently creates exceptional work, it’s beneficial to develop an ongoing relationship with them. Even if their rates are higher than entry-level freelancers, the quality of work and concise communication is a worthy trade-off.
Deciding if Freelancers Are the Right Talent for Your Team
Hiring freelance contractors can be a great way to add valuable talent to your team. With the right resources and processes, you can create lasting relationships with freelancers and take advantage of their specialized skills without sacrificing quality or control.
Looking to build a thriving remote team? Check out how some best-in-class remote companies recruit top candidates.
By Kimberli Lowe-MacAuley | Categories: Remote Management