Everything you need to know about hiring freelancers & contract management

Abayomi Aje

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As an entrepreneur who is just starting or an experienced business manager, you may sometimes see the need to turn to freelancers to carry out specific tasks instead of employing staff.

Why? Because this practice is cheaper, it requires little to no paperwork and less onboarding time. In fact, according to a recent study by Intuit, 40% of the U.S workforce is expected to be independent contractors.

That is, over 58 million Americans are already freelancing either as their primary source of income or as a side hustle. The freelance market is robust, especially with the access to technology and increased demands for more flexibility from workers.

It is a big plus to you as it helps you realize tremendous savings on independent contractors also of low risk. But is contracting a freelancer the best for your business? Avoid being quick to assume that every role in your company needs to be carried out by a freelancer.

You need to know its pros and con and what contracting freelancers entail. In this post, we’re going to discuss that and more.

freelance

Everything you need to know about hiring freelancers & contract management. Source: depositphotos.com

My experience with freelancers

When I first started my doggy daycare business, I needed to have an online presence, or so it thought. But I had no experience whatsoever managing a social media account, running ads, creating and maintaining a website, optimizing content for search engines, etc.

All these skills I could learn and implement myself would distract me from my main job, which was taking care of dogs for busy dog owners in the neighborhood. I was simply interested in taking care of dogs, but at the same time, I wanted to reach out to more dog owners and potential clients and put my business in front of them in a way that they’d be convinced to want to try it out.

I also knew that I couldn’t afford to get the permanent staff that would play all these critical roles in my business with my current finance, and I didn’t need permanent staff anyway. So the thought of hiring a freelancer came to mind.

How I found my freelancers

I did a little research online on hiring a freelancer and discovered excellent platforms where they could be found. Platforms like oDesk, Elance, Upwork, LinkedIn, to mention a few. I decided to try one out.

After setting up my account, I made a posting on the job offer, and after a while, I observed some freelancers and their price tags. Most of them had $4.80/hour. I didn’t have much money to pay for the service, so I searched for lower prices.

Hiring this way would have saved me a few bucks, but I needed contractors within my region. I went ahead to ask a few of my friends who were already having an online presence and achieving the online goal I wanted. Then I realized that one of the best sources of freelancers is my local community. I didn’t live in the remotest of places, so some contractors within a 30-mile radius were looking for the job I wanted to be done.

I was able to connect with them and have the job done with pretty reasonable charges. I also met my contractors face-to-face, which helped me better understand how they operated and built a rock-solid relationship with them.

I couldn’t meet in person; we had online zoom and skype meetings. The internet, of course, has helped break down so many barriers, although I still recommend meeting your contractors in person to get a good read of them.

I was also able to manage my contracts with them effectively by using contract management software that helped me automate the whole process, keeping all my contacts in one place, and helping me ensure contract compliance.

Benefits of hiring freelancers

There are various benefits of hiring contractors to work with you, among which are:

Quality Service: The best way to ensure quality service from contractors is to find them through referrals and recommendations from people they’ve previously worked with. Generally, the quality of service provided by freelancers can be outstanding. How could it not be?

These people run their businesses on their own and benefit from referrals; hence they provide top-notch service in an effort to maintain existing customers and attract potential ones.

Cost-effective: Hiring freelancers may cause you to pay high hourly rates, but that will be little compared to having an employee. You get to save 30-40% annually.

Think about it, having an employee would cost you to factor in higher annual pay, office space, office equipment and supplies, social security payments, Medicare, insurance, etc.; on the other hand, contractors work remotely with their equipment.

Little to no risk: Independent contractors have no right to seek employment from you, nor can they sue you for issues like discrimination, harassment, etc. You can quickly terminate your contract with them if they fail to meet up with the agreements made without having to face any legal troubles.

The disadvantage of hiring a freelancer includes:

  1. Integrity issues
  2. Some could be an utter waste of your time and money.
  3. It cannot always replace traditional employment.
  4. The risk of not having total control over your contractor. Independent contractors control their business. They’re the ones that determine who, when, where, and how the work is to be done as well as the pricing for the job.

While all these can be managed, they can also pose a threat to your business, so ensure to source freelancers among your network circle to find trustworthy, competent, and reliable freelancers, not just random online contractors.

Request samples of their previous works done and get contacts to their referees if need be. This would save your business reputation and help you ensure that you’re onboarding an asset to your business. You could even shave off a relatively small job and give it to them to test if they can work as well as you want them to.

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