Post originally written for Christianlowery.com.
To hire freelancers, or not to hire freelancers? That’s the question many business owners face in an ever-changing job market.
57% of American workers say they’re interested in a freelance role, and more than 57 million Americans freelanced in 2017. Working remotely has grown in popularity, especially among millennials and Gen Z’ers looking for a more lucrative career. Plus, technology has made it easier for freelancers to connect with companies across the globe, and sites like Upwork.com have bridged the gap.
If you’re a business owner, here is why you should hire freelancers.
Lower Overhead Costs
According to a recent survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers spend $11.55/hour on employee benefits alone. That’s 31.8% of the total $36.32 hourly employee compensation cost. One of the best reasons to hire freelancers is that you don’t have to provide them with a 401(k), dental benefits, life insurance or paid leave. Even if your business can afford it, there is probably a better use for that $11.55/hour elsewhere.
Generally speaking, freelancers can do the same amount of work for less money. For example, according to Glassdoor, the average salary for a social media manager is just under $60,000 per year. That salary equates to about $28.85/hour for a freelancer working 40 hours a week. Odds are you can hire a freelancer to do the same amount of work in less than 40 hours/week, because you’re not paying them for down time. Lunch hours, bathroom breaks, and other office distractions end up costing you more.
According to a study conducted by Vouchercloud, a full-time employee is only productive for 2.5–3 hours a day. Employees check social media, take lunch breaks, read news websites, visit the kitchen for a snack/coffee break, text/email friends and family, search online, call out for doctors appointments and take paid vacations. With a freelancer, you only pay for the actual time they spend working. Let’s assume employees waste 15 hours a week on the miscellaneous activities outlined above. That means you could have a freelancer complete the same amount of work in 25 hours instead of 40. At an hourly rate of $28.85, that equates to $37,505 per year, or nearly half of what you were paying an in-house employee.
Broader Range of Skills
Freelancers often work for many different companies, doing multiple jobs that give them a broader range of skills. The nature of freelance work in itself is a skill because it teaches you how to manage your own time and be your own boss. Freelancers bring a wealth of knowledge to the table because they have had the opportunity to interact with many different companies. They can provide unique insight that may even help your business growth.
According to Forbes, “micromanaging is one of the most damaging habits an executive can have.” It’s bad for productivity, it’s bad for moral, and it’s just bad for business overall. One of the unforeseen benefits of hiring remote workers is that you’re not tempted to micromanage them as much. You won’t ask a million questions when you can’t walk by his/her desk every 10 minutes.
Better Client Relations
For the most part, freelancers have a lot more at stake than regular employees. A freelance career is nothing without client success stories, great reviews and word of mouth referrals. Plus, freelancers do not want to jeopardize losing a potential source of income. Given this basic fact, freelancers want to excel in every way possible and that usually leads to better client relations.