5 Things You Need to Know About Working With Freelancers
Think we’re just like traditional employees? Think again.
If you haven’t yet hired a freelancer to manage some aspect of your startup, chances are you will soon. According to the Freelancing in America Study released last month by The Freelancers Union and Upwork, 35% of the U.S. workforce freelanced this year, and that figure is increasing steadily every year.
But there are some key differences between freelancers and traditional employees that you should be aware of before starting to work with one. Knowing these differences from the outset can help you and your freelancer build a great working relationship that benefits you both for years to come.
Thinking of hiring a freelancer soon? Here’s what you need to know.
1. Not every freelancer is a good fit
If you’ve never worked with freelancers before, it can be difficult to tell the difference between someone who is actually good at what they do and someone who is just good at putting together a LinkedIn profile. It takes careful vetting to be able to tell the difference.
FIrst, look at what experience the freelancer brings to the table. Have they worked with companies like yours before? If you’re in a time crunch, has your freelancer successfully met tight deadlines in the past? Do they have the necessary skills to handle all of the type of work you want to delegate?
Next, take a look at their credentials. Have they worked with any big names or brands you recognize? Are they certified in any areas that could be useful on your project? Do their past clients speak well of them in reviews and testimonials?
Just like when hiring employees, vetting all of your candidates takes time, but it’s an important step in finding the freelancer who will truly be an asset to your team.
2. You get what you pay for
Part of what makes freelancers such an appealing addition to your team is the fact that they’re often a more cost-effective solution to your staffing needs than a full-time employee would be.
But beware of hiring freelancers based on cost alone — higher rates typically reflect higher levels of experience, skill, and knowledge in that particular area.
Choosing the lowest-cost option may seem like a good decision at first, but you’re likely to end up with shoddy work, missed deadlines, and a team member who doesn’t pull their weight. You may even need to hire someone to redo the work.
As famous firefighter Red Adair once said, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, just wait until you hire an amateur.”
So instead of searching for the cheapest available option, find out what the average cost of the services you’re looking to outsource and make sure your budget can accommodate that price.
3. If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t count
Contracts are a hot topic among the freelancing community. That’s because too often, freelancers and clients alike find themselves needing to refer back to their original agreement to clear up a misunderstanding or settle a dispute.
That means that when you hire a freelancer, you need to have a contract in place, and that contract needs to be crystal clear about what is and isn’t included in the price you pay.
For instance, if the web developer you hired to build your new website quoted you a price for 8 pages, that’s how many you should expect to get. If you change your mind halfway through and want to add 2 more pages, you shouldn’t be surprised when your developer sends you an updated quote and contract to accommodate those additions.
If you want something done, it has to be in your contract, period. Make sure that both you and your freelancer are on the same page about deliverables and fees before they begin working on the project.
4. When in doubt, over-communicate
If you want quality work from your freelancer, you need to be prepared to give them some details. What’s your timeline for the project? What are you trying to accomplish with it? Who are your target audience, your competitors, and other businesses in the same space that don’t directly compete?
Giving your freelancer this information right out of the gate ensures they have everything they need to turn in work on time and at a level that meets your standards.
You should also be prepared to check in with your freelancer regularly. This doesn’t mean you need to micromanage them — most freelancers are pretty good at staying on task and on deadline because they have to be.
But you should plan to touch base once a week or so, depending on the size and regularity of the project. The larger and more complex the project is, the more you should plan to communicate with your freelancer.
Doing so reduces misunderstandings about project requirements and shows your freelancer that you’re available and ready to help should they need clarification on anything.
5. Our favorite clients pay on time, every time
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s definitely worth mentioning here.
According to The Freelancer’s Union, more than 70% of freelancers have had trouble getting paid for their work at some point in their career. In fact, the average freelancer loses about $6,000 annually due to nonpayment, or about 13% of their total income.
When that happens, your freelancer is forced to spend extra time following up with clients, chasing payments, and hunting for new gigs to make up for lost income. And the more of those tasks they have to complete, the less time they have to spend on your project.
Our system here at Collabos makes it easy to hire and compensate freelancers all in one place, so you’ll never have to worry about running late on payments.
You tell us what you need. We get it done on time.
Finding the right freelancer for the job can be a daunting task, especially when your to-do list is already a mile long. Here at Collabos, we handle all of the logistics, from finding and vetting freelancers to managing the project production. All you have to do is post a project and pay for completed tasks.
Ready to get started working with freelancers the easy way? Tell us about your project below.