Freelancing has become increasingly popular in today’s business world, providing benefits both for the freelancer and for the employer. The freelancer has the advantage of a flexible schedule and the ability to take on projects from different companies, while the employer enjoys the ability to get the job completed without the costs of a full-time employee.
Freelancers can be great resources for startups and small businesses. Hiring them allows you to hit target dates and deadlines on projects even without the benefit of a full-time staff.
If you’ve never worked with freelancers, there are some important things to know before hiring one. Working with freelancers can be a great experience, but like any business agreement, it’s important to make sure the relationship is structured properly before it begins. Here are five things to keep in mind when hiring freelancers.
1. Know what you need done before you reach out
Determining the scope of the project is essential. This allows you to evaluate what you need someone to do to get the job done and what kind of milestones and deliverables you require. The clearer you are about what results you need to see from the project and when you need them, the easier it can be to find a freelancer who’s a good fit for you.
You also want to set a budget before you begin. Whether you need a single freelancer or plan to hire a team of workers for the project, a budget determines who you hire. Search online job marketplaces to find the going rates for the type of work you need done; it’s important to be competitive to get your desired results.
After you’ve interviewed a few prospective freelancers, you may decide to negotiate different rates.
2. Decide what qualifications you require
Similarly to when you’re hiring someone for a full-time or part-time position, you may want your freelancers to meet certain requirements. Think about what kind of work background and experience you’re looking for and what special skills might be valuable for the details of this particular job.
Also factor in such things as whether the freelancer will work on-site or remotely, if they need to be available for meetings and what kind of availability you expect them to have. For example, do they need to be available for you to contact by phone during business hours, or are you comfortable with them answering emails in the evening after working hours?
3.Decide where to look for freelancers
There are many options today for hiring freelancers. Some online resume sites have features that allow businesses to solicit bids on projects from interested freelancers. You can also find freelancers from specific industries to post profiles about themselves, portfolios of past work and their scheduling availability.
4.Conduct due diligence
Even though you aren’t hiring an employee, you may be giving someone access to sensitive company information. Or, they may be interacting with clients. Because your company’s reputation is on the line, look into the freelancer’s background. Ask for references from previous jobs they’ve worked on and get feedback regarding how well the freelancer met deadlines, took direction and interacted with clients.
5.Create a contract with your freelancer
Sometimes freelance agreements are verbal but having a signed written contract can protect both parties. A written agreement spells out the deadlines, sets expectations and dictates what can happen if deadlines are missed or if the work isn’t up to your standards. Outline what situations allow you to terminate the contract and how much notice is required. If possible, contact a lawyer who’s experienced in writing contracts to draft your initial document. Your freelancer might also have a contract they use with clients.
The contract should specify that the freelancer gets the opportunity to correct issues you’re not happy with. It also should protect you if the freelancer fails to deliver or ultimately isn’t able to deliver the quality of work you outlined.
Knowing how to hire freelancers can lead to great relationships that last for months or even years. Making sure that you have all your needs and requirements outlined before you start your search. That way, you have a clear plan and a better chance of getting the right fit for the position.
As your small business grows, you may find yourself in the position to take on more part- or full-time employees in addition to freelancers. Learn how to recruit and hire skilled employees that are a good fit with your company.