How to get more bang for your buck when hiring freelancers
Posted in: Running a Business by Landmark on 03rd August 2017
Working with freelancers can be hugely beneficial to your business; there’s less overhead, more flexibility. You get the expertise needed for specific jobs, and can rest assured knowing that the job will be completed to a high standard — freelancers rely on recommendations to get more jobs in the future.
However, it’s important to work alongside your freelancer, and here are a few tips to ensure you get the most out of their skills for your business.
Invite your freelancer to work with you in your office
While a freelancer is not a set member of your team, it can be beneficial to have them working with you on site, rather than in their own office or home. It doesn’t have to be every day, but working closely with them on a few occasions throughout the project means they get a feel for you and your office, and can therefore understand your business needs better. It’s also helpful for getting instant responses to queries or updates, and you can clearly see how your project is coming along.
Consider expanding your office slightly to fit an extra desk or two for your freelancers to have their own space if and when they do come in for a few days.
Pay for the project and not the time
Freelancers have the flexibility to work around their own schedules, and may take on multiple projects at once. Rather than let your freelancer invoice you for the hours it takes to complete a project — which could be much longer than you assumed — request a quote for the completed project. This can save you money in the long run, as you’ll know how much you will be paying for the finished project, regardless of how long it takes.
You should also be realistic about the amount of time it will take for the assignment to be completed, in comparison to the deadline you have for it. Make sure you give yourself some wiggle room, and set your deadline a few days earlier — just in case of any issues. However, be aware that having a shorter deadline could cost you more.
Be clear and communicate effectively with your freelancer
You should communicate regularly throughout the project, whether this is face-to-face, over the phone, or even using online apps such as Asana or Trello, so both you and your freelancer are clear on how the project is progressing.
Your expectations should be clearly explained at the start so the freelancer knows how the work should be done, and the deadlines set. Regular catch-up sessions with your freelancer are essential for this, so you can make sure the project is coming along as you expected it to, and you’re happy with the progress. This also makes it easier to make little amendments along the way, rather than leave it to the end for a potentially big edit in a completed project.
Maintain a good working relationship with your freelancers
A study by Gallup on employee engagement found that businesses in the top quartile had staff that were 17% more productive, had 41% less absenteeism, and were 21% more profitable to the company. This can also stand true for freelancers, who will be more likely to deliver projects to a high standard if they feel more engaged with a business, and have a good working relationship with the company.
Employees are also more likely to be loyal to your company if they feel wanted, and personally invested. Likewise, a freelancer is more likely to work with you on multiple occasions if they feel like a valuable member of your team. Creating and maintaining a good working relationship with your freelancers will benefit you both — you will be able to hire them for multiple projects, giving them more work, and be assured that they will deliver high quality work within the deadlines set for them.
Offer freelancers an incentive to finish a project early
In some cases, you may offer freelancers a bonus payment, or other perks, if they manage to finish a project early. Often, the promise for larger projects with bigger budgets is a good enough perk for a freelancer. It’s worth letting a freelancer know if they’re working on a high priority project with a strict deadline, so they can complete the task to the highest standard, well within the time frame given to them.
As previously mentioned, having a good working relationship with your freelancer is essential, especially if you’re working on a high-priority project. In some cases, just having this good relationship can be enough for a freelancer to deliver speedy and high-quality work, as there is a guarantee of more work from your company in the future.
Test freelancers with smaller tasks
If you are working with someone new, it could be worth offering a trial run, or starting them off with a small project. This gives you the chance to see how the work, the quality of work they produce, and how quickly the turnaround is, without having to sacrifice an important project if things don’t fully go to plan. You can also use this as a little competition between multiple freelancers, to find one that is best suited to you and your business needs.
When you’ve found a freelancer that you’re happy with, then you can work out a plan to continue working with them, and offer them larger, and more high-priority projects as and when you need it. This trial run also ensures you work well with the freelancer, and helps to build a good work relationship for the future.