What are the pros and cons of hiring freelancers?
In uncertain times such as these, hiring freelance talent is a flexible, cost-effective way to import well-honed skills and fresh perspectives, freeing you to focus on other aspects of your business. It can help you be more competitive and complete projects faster, without permanently adding to your overheads.
As your business goals change and new challenges arise that require you to respond to the market in the shortest possible lead time, you can cherry pick precisely the talent you need to get the job done.
Finding the right freelancer need not be a hit or miss affair. Begin each search by specifying exactly what you need.
Define your exact need
- Precise role of freelancer for this project?
- Do they correspond to budget allowance?
- Will they be able to deliver by set deadlines?
- Which of your staff will they have to interact with?
- What guidance will be needed?
- What guidance will be available?
Match your needs to their experience
Look for evidence of experience that meets your needs for this project. Has this freelancer worked on anything similar before? If so, their experience will be a gift in terms of speed and understanding.
Don't decide on cost alone
One freelancer may seem a lot cheaper than another. But ask yourself why? (Better still, ask them why.) In reality, it always pays to make freelance hiring decisions based solely on feelings of professionalism and experience, for an end product you will be delighted with.
Manage the downsides
Managing freelance staff who have not had time to build working relationships with your staff and who are not motivated by the vision and the future of the company takes special consideration and skilled liaison management.
Evaluate freelance output as you evaluate employee output
Despite their cost and experience, it is essential to review freelancers' work at each developmental milestone of the project to ensure it is of an acceptable, even exceptional, standard. Don't wait to the end to discover you wanted different or better.
Protect your interests
Have your legal eagles draw up a contract for freelancers to sign stating all work belongs to you and your business. Have them include in this agreement a non-competitive clause that effectively prevents the freelancer from exiting stage left with your client. It also makes good protective sense to pay only a proportion � if anything � upfront; no more than 20%. Depending on how long the freelance contract is to last, you can agree to pay the rest in one lump sum at the end of a short working contract of, say, one month or in equal percentages over the life of the contract, as project milestones are successfully completed.
Don't forget health and safety
It might seem of minor importance in the scheme of things but, in fact, for your own protection as an employer, it is imperative that you make sure freelance staff are familiarised with your health and safety issues and procedures.
Let your mouse do the walking
To find the exact freelance talent you need for your next challenge, use Monster UK where you can post your requirement and, in return, receive the CVs of talented freelance professionals matching your description. Word-of- mouth recommendations are also valuable.