According to IPSE, freelancers now account for 42 percent of the 4.8m self-employed population and represent six percent of the UK workforce. Across the pond in the US, freelancers account for 36 percent of the workforce and contribute $1.4 trillion to the economy every year.
With freelancing now very firmly a workplace trend that is only set to grow in the coming years, there are still many companies that resist hiring a freelancer in case it proves to be a costly mistake.
Here’s how to minimise the risk of selecting and working with the wrong freelancer.
Choose a freelancer platform
There are now hundreds of freelancing platforms around the world full of highly capable and qualified freelancers that are ready to take on your project. Freelancer platforms will typically offer you a greater level of protection than working with a freelancer on an off-platform basis.
Partnering with a specialist freelancer platform, such as SafetyFreelancer, means that you can rest assured that:
- Freelancers are vetted and qualified to do the work they say they can do
- Your personal details are kept private and confidential
- Invoicing and payment is taken care of through the platform to minimise the risk of errors
- The platform can act as a mediator in case a dispute arises with your freelancer
- You can judge freelancers based on feedback scores from other clients
Use a freelancer platform messaging system
Freelancer platform messaging systems provide a great deal of security and confidentiality when communicating with your freelancer. While using other messaging systems such as Skype, WhatsApp, Slack or Facebook may seem more comfortable and familiar, they don’t offer any security should a dispute arise.
In fact, many freelancer sites expressly forbid any form of communication off-site for this very reason. If your freelancer is being unreasonable or not delivering on time, and you’ve kept all of your communications in one place, then the platform can intervene at your request.
Hire well and interview thoroughly
Many freelancer/client disputes happen because the client has not hired well and chosen a freelancer that is ill-equipped to do the job/project. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but sometimes freelancers will over-extend the depth of their experience to secure the work, and then not deliver on time, on budget, or at the required quality. However, there are safeguards that clients can put in place to ensure this doesn’t happen to them.
- Always check your freelancers’ feedback from other clients
- Always interview your freelancer (use video if you can’t meet them face to face) to ensure they understand the scope and scale of the project before offering an assignment
- Don’t always opt for the freelancer with the lowest rate. Although sometimes this can work in your favour, the best and most experienced freelancers won’t be the cheapest
- Always check your freelancer’s qualifications, especially on projects where qualifications are necessary to complete the job
Write a good (non-aggressive) job description
The best freelancers will be attracted to job or project descriptions that are well written, provide as much detail as possible, and layout expectations from the very beginning.
For many years, freelancers were seen as a cheap option to get a job done, and therefore hundreds of aggressive-sounding job ads filled freelancing platforms. These days, freelancers are seen as hard-working, qualified and professional resources, but clients who are new to hiring from the freelance world can still fall into the trap of writing aggressively. For example:
- “Write the word ‘chicken’ at the top of your bid so we know you’ve read our project properly!”
- “Spelling mistakes in your bid will immediately disqualify you!”
- “We only want freelancers from a specific country!”
- “We’re prepared to pay $X. Freelancers who are not prepared to work for this, should not apply!”
These examples may seem extreme, but they are commonly found in many job descriptions on freelancer platforms.
The best freelancers will never respond to aggressive-sounding job descriptions or apply to companies who they feel may treat them unfairly or not pay the rate that they’re worth. Therefore, by employing these aggressive tactics, you’ll likely lower the quality of your applicant pool.
When preparing your freelancer job description, write it as if you were looking to hire someone on a permanent basis.
Using freelancers provides countless benefits to any business. And, finding the right ones for you can unlock experience and knowledge that you may not be able to find internally.
If you’re still undecided about whether or not hiring a freelancer is the right thing for your business, chat with our team.