Today, more and more companies are deciding to hire freelancers instead of full or part-time employees. This makes sense both financially and from a general business standpoint. Why pay someone hourly who may not be consistently productive when you can simply pay for the actual work completed? But employers must understand that, like all other aspects in business, there are both pros and cons to hiring freelancers.
Freelancers can either work from home (or anywhere) via the Internet or they may work in your office. It is important you understand independent contractor laws, however, so you don’t unintentionally violate them. The most important thing to know is that an employer can not dictate the terms of where or how a freelancer works. To learn more about what defines an employee versus a freelancer, as well as important information on independent contractor laws, be sure to read Independent Contractor or Employee? IRS Guidance for Startups and SMBs as well as this article from the IRS’s website, Indepent Contractor (Self-Employed) or Employee?
They Cost Less
Freelancers undoubtedly cost less than hiring a part-time or full-time employee. At the very least, they are much more cost efficient, because you only pay them for the work they actually do — so none of your money is wasted on downtime.
They Can Get More Work Done
Freelancers are able to set their own hours, which means they can work whenever they choose. They have the ability to work more hours on projects, either long term or simply when necessary. Since they make their own hours, they don’t have to call out, either. If they have an appointment in the morning, they can simply work at night. If they have a party at night, they can work in the morning. Their schedules are entirely flexible, so work gets done no matter what the day brings.
They Specialize in One Thing
Freelancers typically specialize in one thing, and that is what you hire them for. Content writers write content. Web designers design websites. The benefit is that they are really good at what they do. Even besides any training or certifications they may have, freelancers do the same job day in and day out.
They Can Disappear
Freelancers don’t have as much of a problem disappearing as your normal employees do. This is especially true with distance freelancers, meaning those who work through the Internet. Things go great for a while. Work gets turned in on time, and the work is of a high quality. Then something happens. You don’t always know what happens, but eventually deadlines are missed, work quality drops, and eventually, people disappear. Those people can be replaced, but it can be a real mess to clean up in the meantime.
You Have to Take an Initial Risk
In the very beginning, you have to take a risk when hiring freelancers. Will their work be the quality they claim? Will they get that work done in time? Will they be worth the money you’ll be paying them, and do they really possess all the skills they say they do?
A thorough interview process comes in a few steps. The very first step is simply the freelancer applying to the position, and you looking at their query letter. The second step is asking for some example articles or projects they have done in the past, which will help prove their work quality to you. This can be forged, however, which is where some of the risk comes in. Finally, it is important to do a video or phone interview, so you can verify these freelancers are really who they say they are.
Where to Hire Freelancers
If you decide the pros outweigh the cons, there are some helpful online resources you can use to find good freelancers. It is highly inadvisable that you hire a freelancer through anything other than a well-established hiring site. Independent contractors found through independent websites or sites such as craigstlist have not had to verify their credentials or reliability in any form. The following is a list of good freelancer sites:
All of these sites, with the exception of Freelancer, charge a monetary fee for hiring freelancers. This is usually just a very small percentage taken away from the total cost of the project. It may be footed by either you or the freelancer, and you should be very careful to state which it is when hiring someone.
If you’d like to read more on the topic of hiring freelancers, you should feel free to check out the following articles:
- What To Consider Before Hiring a Freelancer – things that you should consider and/or take care of prior to hiring a freelancer
- What Is the Best Site for Hiring a Freelancer? – more detailed information on the websites listed above
- 10 Tips on Hiring And Working with Freelancers – useful tips that can help you get the best experience out of hiring an independent contractor
- Are You Ready for a Freelancer? – information that will help you assess whether or not you are ready to hire your first independent contractor
Hiring a freelancer can be a wonderful investment for your small business, but it is important to consider the negative as well as the positive. This way, you are fully aware of what you are getting yourself into, and it won’t come as a shock if something does go amiss. Most of the time, however, freelancers turn out to be dedicated individuals who are well worth the investment you place into them.