Entrepreneurs turn to freelancers to get a task done faster, especially when they are starting out. Freelancers are a cheaper alternative to full-time employees and require less onboarding time and paperwork.
Freelancers are skilled individuals who use their expertise to provide services to companies from a remote location. Freelancers can either commit their time entirely to one business, or manage multiple clients. The services provided by freelancers can be simple (like writing and data entry), or can be highly specialized (like social media marketing). The possibility of getting a freelancer to work from a remote location eliminates the recruitment problem faced by many firms - especially those located in an area where there are not many experts in the required skills.
Hiring a freelancer can be tricky if you are new to the practice. Freelance marketplaces are often overwhelmed by contractors bidding for limited jobs. If you post a project, you can get a flood of proposals that will leave you wondering who is best for the job.
A recent study by CNBC revealed the “gig economy”, fuelled by small business owners and freelancers, may eventually surpass the traditional job economy in the United States. It may seem as if the freelancer marketplace has it all regarding skills, but the experience is not all rosy. Have you found yourself in this dilemma?
The best place to find freelancers
A little research reveals an overwhelming number of freelance marketplaces, including Freelancer. This platform brings together freelancers with different skills from all over the world. The major problem you will face when you hire a freelancer from outside your region is the time difference. This can stall the pace of work for hours or days. The wise way to deal with this limitation is to set a stipulated time that is convenient for both parties, though this may mean sacrificing some hours from your night.
A reasonable price will still have to be paid
Another reason why businesses prefer to work with a freelancer rather than a paid employee is cheaper labor, right? But what sort of result are you expecting from someone that bills you $2.5 for a job that is worth $100? In fact, working with a top-notch freelancer is quite an investment.
When you post a project on a marketplace like Freelancer, the following criteria will help you to pick the best.
1. Check their portfolio
You are looking for someone with experience who can do your job seamlessly. Going through their portfolio lets you evaluate their level of experience. If the freelancer includes links to their previous work, great! If not, ask to see some. There is the possibility of the freelancer sending you copies of someone else’s work. If you doubt the portfolio of the freelancer you intend to hire, give them a sample of work to complete and rate them based on it. No matter what you do, don’t disrespect a freelancer by asking them to complete a task for free with the promise of more work.
As a rule of thumb, never hire a freelancer when you do not know their skill set. Make sure you view prior work or reviews when they are asking for upfront payment. You have to be comfortable the freelancer you hire can do the work.
2. Access their communication efficiency
Open communication always brings better results. It is possible that your first instructions could be misunderstood. When the freelancer runs into trouble with the assigned task, they should be able to get clarification from you. Ground rules for communication should be one of the first terms set with the freelancer. The medium through which you communicate will have to be agreed.
You don’t need a freelancer who will accept the task and go mute for days, leaving you wondering if everything is alright. Experienced freelancers understand the importance of communication. If you pick a freelancer outside your region, the availability of both parties for communication has to be set.
3. Tell the freelancer to present a reference
It is not wrong to ask a freelancer for a reference, or ask to contact a previous client with the permission of the freelancer. Hiring online doesn’t mean you have no right to request a check. If a freelancer is good, you might want them to work on more projects for you. If you are hiring for an ongoing project, you have to ensure the freelancer you pick is ready for a long term commitment. This information makes the request for a reference invaluable.
4. How well the freelancer sticks to deadline
Timing is important when hiring a freelancer. Nothing is more annoying than missing deadlines, because it can cost you money. To mitigate this, it is important to lay out the deadlines at the outset.
Do remember it is important to provide your freelancer with all the information they need to meet their deadline. Remember the golden rule, “Treat others the way you would want to be treated.”
5. Reasonable payment terms
If you are working on an ongoing project, there may be no serious cause to worry when the freelancer demands some upfront payment - especially if they have worked on the project for some time. On the other hand, if you just hired a freelancer and they are demanding a huge upfront payment, there is something wrong and you should move forward with caution.
Freelancer.com has two modes of payment. Either the freelancer creates an invoice to be mailed to the employer for them to pay, or the employer creates and releases a milestone. Milestone is the employer’s way of telling the freelancer they have a guaranteed payment the moment they get the job done. Creating multiple milestones can be crucial for long term projects.
6. What is the right amount to offer the freelancer?
Evaluating a reasonable price for a particular project may be difficult. If your rates are too low, it will scare away potential talent. One of the ways to come up with an ideal rate is to evaluate the price based on the anticipated amount of work. Talk to those with experience in your kind of project to get an estimate of the cost, then divide it to find out what you would pay hourly.
For example, the minimum hourly rate for web developers in the United States is about $40 but can go up to $300. Rates should not just be about the time and services of the freelancer. If a freelancer charges a little more, but offers advice on how the project can be modified to increase the Return on Investment (ROI), they are probably more valuable than the cheaper alternative.
If you are law abiding and value the freelancer you hired, you already know it is wrong to dictate their working hours. A freelancer should be treated as a person who is temporarily added to your roster, with the possibility of becoming a long-term team member. You get back what you put in. Treat a freelancer with respect, and you will have their specialized skills at your disposal, which could be invaluable to the development of your company.
Have you had any experience with hiring a Freelancer? If so, share your tips with us in the comments section below!