If You’re Hiring Freelancers For the First Time, Keep These 3 Tips in Mind
The current gig economy spells great news for business owners looking to get more done without having to hire dedicated employees. The fact that there’s so much competition in the freelance world is especially beneficial for businesses looking to…
- Keep hiring costs down: freelancers will almost alwayscost significantly less than even a part-timer
- Spend smarter: between setting your own rates and having freelancers bid for your projects, you can easily keep your projects underbudget rather than worrying about hidden costs
- Get more work done: simply put, freelancers allow businesses to have more hands on deck on an as-needed basis for projects that you otherwise may not have been able to take on by yourself
That being said, hiring freelancers isn’t as easy as posting on a job board and walking away. Hiring freelancers can be a massive headache if you don’t know exactly what you’re getting into. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure that the hiring process goes as smoothly as possible.
Figure Out Your Payment System
Before you go after any new blood, make sure that you set up an efficient payroll system for your new talent and establish it prior to hiring. Especially if you’re juggling a bunch of freelancers at once, dealing with a slew of different invoice formats and payment processors can be a massive pain.
For this reason, many companies opt for escrow platforms such as Upwork or pay on a monthly basis via PayPal to streamline the payment process. After all, time is money: don’t make the mistake of simply paying on-the-fly and not tracking your payments closely.
Set Clear Expectations
Crystal clear expectations are important as no two freelancers are alike. For example, you might be working with someone who freelances on the side and tends to be flaky with deadlines. On the other hand, a full-time freelancer might be pushy in terms of payment and raising their rates on you at random. While you shouldn’t expect the worst of your freelance talent, you should set clear expectations in terms of…
- The scope of their work and how long it should take to complete any projects: most problems with freelancers occur when the phenomenon of “scope creep”sets in and you start asking for too much too quickly
- How long they’ll be working on your behalf: don’t promise six months of work if you can only realistically offer six weeks-worth
- The quality of the work that they should deliver: specific examples of what you’re looking for will go a long way versus a laundry list of vague instructions
When in doubt, coming up with a freelance agreement can help smooth the hiring process and make sure that you have all of your legalese and expectations sorted out.
Organize Your Communication
Ideally, you should establish multiple lines of communication to keep track of your freelancers’ progress and provide updates accordingly. From Google Docs to project management apps such as Trello, knowing that your freelancers are sticking to a schedule can provide you peace of mind and ensure that no deadlines are missed.
Although email and Skype are also smart ways to keep in touch, having your communication in a dedicated document or app allows you to have a sort of “paper trail” if something goes wrong.
Freelancers are becoming integral to the makeup of today’s business; however, hiring them isn’t as simple as it seems on the surface. With these tips in mind, you can make the most of your freelance relationships and focus on getting down to business rather than focusing on the minute details of bookkeeping or communication.