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Pros and Cons of Hiring Freelancers
September 07, 2018
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Pros and Cons of Hiring Freelancers

The gig economy is changing the way people think about work. Instead of logging 40 hours full-time behind a desk, some people juggle multiple jobs at the same time, making their own schedules and choosing their own projects. You can easily find gigs on Fiverr or Freelancer.com during the day, drive for Uber and Lyft at night, and then on weekends put together furniture through TaskRabbit or sell items on eBay. All done through your own schedule!

Likewise, many businesses are now outsourcing certain projects to freelancers instead of hiring permanent employees. Finding the perfect full-time hire can be difficult and time consuming, but by hiring freelancers, you’ll find an expert in your niche without going through a lengthy interview and paperwork process. Still, you should remember that all freelancers aren’t created equal and picking the wrong person can be a nightmare.

In this post, we’ll review the pros and cons of hiring a freelancer to work at your small business, so that you can determine if this is the right hiring structure for you.

What Are the Benefits and Downsides of Hiring Freelancers for Your Small Business?

Pros of Hiring Freelancers

1. You’ll Save Money

Hiring freelancers can be more cost efficient than recruiting full-time workers. Freelancers are independent contractors, a status that has its own pros and cons. Independent contractors are free to cherry pick any job or gig they want, but they also aren’t entitled to workers benefits guaranteed by the federal government.

When you hire an independent contractor, you don’t need to provide them with health or disability insurances, nor do you need to provide materials needed to do the job. You don’t even need a brew a pot of coffee for them (although you should if they aren’t working remotely). Freelancers are also in charge of deducting their own taxes and expenses for the IRS, so you’ll  just need to provide them with a 1099.

2. You’ll Have Access to Highly Specialized Talent

When searching through a freelance marketplace like Upwork, you’ll find numerous categories geared toward specific skills. Writers and content producers swarm these sites, but so do artists, graphic designers, musicians, voiceover pros, photographers, and computer programmers. For example, if you need to write a jingle for a new ad campaign, you don’t have to bring in an outside agency or force your sales team to write it. Just visit one of the many freelance marketplace sites and find someone with the exact skills you need.

3. You’ll Get Someone Eager to Work

Freelancers only get paid when the work is completed, so the incentive to complete projects quickly and efficiently is strong. Any chit-chatting around the water cooler about the game costs a freelancer time and money. When you hire a freelancer for a well-paying job, they’re going to get to work quickly because they want that cash as soon as possible. Plus, if your freelancer misses a deadline or delivers less than stellar work, you can pull the funds and find a better freelancer to complete the work.

Cons of Hiring Freelancers

1. It Can Be Harder to Find Candidates That Meet Your Specific Guidelines

Freelancers come from different backgrounds and likely have various working styles. Because each one is unique, it can be hard to stay on the same page. For example, you may hire a writer for a serious business report and find their tone is too informal. Or, maybe you want content with a conversational tone that matches your business’s branding, and the posts your freelancer delivers are strictly factual like a newspaper article. To avoid confusion, you should try to set clear expectations for your freelancers. If they are unable to meet them, you may need to search for a new freelancer, or consider hiring a full-time employee who best fulfill your vacant role.

2. They Could Disappear

Sometimes, hiring freelancers is a little like online dating. You might find someone who’s difficult to communicate with and gives vague responses to your questions, or you could have a great conversation with a potential hire, assign work, and then never hear from them again! To avoid this, be sure to carefully vet your freelancers and try to hire people with a good work history. Like online dating, you don’t want to be ghosted.

3. They Aren’t as Loyal as Full-Time Employees

Freelance employees are on their own and often juggle several different projects at once. They aren’t getting benefits or other employer perks from you and only get paid for the work they complete. Due to this, a freelancer may decide to seek out new opportunities without much notice. If a higher paying offer presents itself, they likely won’t turn it down. With many different companies competing for freelance services, you should keep compensation competitive, or your freelancers look for better opportunities.

It can be beneficial to hire freelancers if you need work completed quickly and inexpensively, but you must be thorough when hiring. As independent contractors, freelancers have fewer reasons to stick with you long-term if they don’t like the projects or aren’t paid fairly.

Have another reason to hire (or not hire) freelancers? Leave a comment below.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].
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