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11 Tips For Working With Freelancers

Remote work has become more prevalent in the last year. The increased demand for freelancers is a direct result of this.

Companies have begun outsourcing many of their projects. But is working with freelancers as easy as it seems?

In this article, we look at 11 tips for working with freelancers to help you avoid common mistakes. 

1. Have a Test Project

Asking to look at a freelancer’s portfolio is a given. But even the best portfolio could be unfit for your requirements.

Giving them a test project is the easiest way to assess their capabilities. You should then be able to discern if the freelancer can do the job.

Remember to offer them a small fee for the test. They aren’t going to work for free. 

2. Conduct Interviews

Hiring people online is convenient. It can also feel impersonal. Email correspondence won’t give you a grasp on their personality. This could be detrimental to the working relationship.

Face-to-face interviews have become more complicated with COVID-19. People are understandably cautious now.

Conducting your interviews over Skype or a similar platform is the ideal solution. 

3. Find the Right Fit

Working with freelancers can get complicated. This makes finding the right fit essential. It’s easy to fall into the trap of the cheapest option. But cheap rarely equates to quality.

The testing and interview phases should eliminate unsuitable candidates.

Firstly, their work needs to meet your company’s standards. Secondly, their personality also plays an important role. It would be foolish to hire someone that you can’t get along with.

Communication needs to be seamless and a measure of trust is required. This won’t be possible if there is conflict involved.

Choose your candidate(s) wisely.  

4. Insist on References

Always check for contactable references, even if you are using a staffing agency. It’s easy for frauds to slip past and would cost nothing to double-check.

If you are using a marketplace like Freelancer or Upwork, you can check employer feedback. 

5. Onboard the Freelancers

Contractor onboarding is important, although often overlooked.

They may not be on the payroll, but you should still exchange all the relevant information. This saves you from hunting for information when you need it.

It will also prevent any future legal complications from occurring. 

6. Draft an Agreement for the Whole Project

This should be a given. The contract needs to outline the requirements of both parties, from start to end date.

The fee structure should be clearly stated and agreed upon to prevent grievances.

Consider other legal documents such as an NDA and a Non-Compete Agreement. These will ensure confidentiality and prevent the freelancer from poaching your clients.

7. Set Objectives and Boundaries

Set clear milestones for the project. If it’s a big project, set due dates for specific sections.

This provides structure and prevents the work from piling up. It also provides the opportunity to check if the work is up to standard.

Boundaries need to be set when working with freelancers. Long-term contracts and miscommunication can create unintentional commitments. Both parties need a clear understanding of where the lines are so as not to cross them. 

8. Have a Transition Plan

Prepare all necessary data, information, and tools that the freelancer(s) will need.

Have this ready beforehand to avoid last-minute scrambling and delays. It puts less stress on everyone involved.

Remember that the person(s) who will have to prepare this has other priorities. You don’t want to interfere with your staff’s busy schedules. 

9. Regular Communication

Regular and open communication is key in all things.

Be sure to check on their progress at regular intervals and encourage inquiries. You will have better results when the freelancer is comfortable communicating possible issues.

If you are unavailable, have a reliable person fill this role. 

10. Ask About Their Timeline

Independent contractors rarely have only one client. It’s in your best interest to ask about their timeline. They likely have many deadlines to navigate.

Let them know your set milestones. This will help them accommodate your needs.

11. Gain an Understanding of Co-Employment

Co-employment usually occurs when staffing agencies employ freelancers on their clients’ behalf.

This can cause both the staffing agency and their client to be viewed as the employer. There are advantages to this when done correctly. It can lower some of your company’s hiring costs, for example.

Keep in mind that there are also things that could go wrong. You need a proper understanding of co-employment to prevent legal issues from arising.

Choosing the correct person for your project can be a tough decision. Careful consideration is key to finding the right fit.

Working with freelancers can either be an asset or a liability. Which one they’ll end up becoming depends on you. These 11 tips will help you turn freelancers into cost-saving assets.

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