At a time when the freelance economy is booming, small businesses have to consider whether it's worth shifting away from working only with full-time employees to working with independent workers. As with everything else, you can only decide whether working with experts on a part-time basis is worth it after you have weighed the advantages against the disadvantages.
If you are a business owner who is having a hard time deciding whether working with freelancers is right for your company or not, this article will help. We have listed both the pros and cons of working with freelancers so you can make an informed decision. Read on to find out if working with freelancers is for you or not.
Pros of Working With Freelancers
Why are more companies looking for freelancers to get the job done? Well, the following are the benefits of working with freelancers that lure companies into this kind of arrangement:
1. Cost Effectiveness
Reports indicate that 89 percent of full-time employees waste some time at work every day. As an employer, you have to pay full-time employees for their productive hours and their non-productive hours.
One of the biggest advantages of working with independent contractors on an hourly rate is that you only pay for those hours that they have worked for. This means that you will no longer pay for any wasted hours.
Also, working with freelancers gives you the option to outsource to overseas workers from cheaper labor markets. Having freelancers working from home with their own equipment and Wi-Fi equates to more savings per month.
The best freelancers have a variety of skills that help them succeed, including time management skills, communication skills, writing skills, and project management skills. If you're looking for someone with such skills, then you're sure to find them in a freelancer.
There are also instances when specific tasks need to be done by a person with a specific skill. For instance, a professional Arabic graphic designer or writer who lives and works in Dubai may be best suited to write a company prospectus that appeals to clientele in that region.
The good thing about hiring a specific freelancer for a special task is that you are not only hiring a highly skilled person in that specific area, but you are also bringing in an expert who understands the nuances of business and language in his/her region.
Another advantage of working with freelancers is the flexibility this kind of arrangement offers. This is a benefit that you will appreciate when running one-off events, such as developing a new website, introducing a new service, or doing a rebrand. Rather than stretching your own long-term employee's capacity to handle the increased workload, work with freelancers.
When you bring in freelancers to a short-term project, you only get to hire experts that you need, when you need them. The contract basically ends when the project is completed. The end of a project doesn't necessarily mean the end of the working relationship. You can choose to work with the same freelancer(s) over and over again to establish a strong and dependable support team.
It is normal for full-time employees to adopt company norms. However this tends to invoke the 'that is how we have always done it' mentality, making it hard for employees to implement creative and innovative ideas.
Another benefit of working with independent contractors is that these experts bring in a fresh perspective and new ways of thinking. Since a freelancer will not be subjected to company norms, he/she will infuse creativity into the team without stepping on anyone's toes.
Since freelancers get to work on large projects for different clients, they get experience in different industries and career areas. This kind of exposure can be beneficial to those who work with freelancers.
For instance, a freelancer who has worked with other successful companies can make suggestions that can help you to streamline some of your processes. The beauty of it is that you won't have to pay for advice.
Cons of Working With Freelancers
Although the advantages of working with independent contractors are hard to beat, there are also some disadvantages that, depending on your situation, might mean it is not a worthwhile arrangement. The following are some of the cons of working with freelancers:
Considering that freelancers are at liberty to work on multiple projects for different clients concurrently, it is not uncommon for these experts to be unavailable when you need them. Finding a quality freelancer and paying them a retainer or some other kind of consistent income can help guarantee their availability.
2. Less Control
Compared to in-house employees, freelancers are much harder to control. This becomes a real problem when you are unlucky enough to hire the unavailable type mentioned above. Nevertheless, if you plan well in advance and set clear progress reporting rules, you will be less likely to experience nasty surprises along the way.
3. Confidentiality Issues
The exposure that independent contractors get from working with different clients is both a good and a bad thing. For instance, a freelancer who suggests ideas that make another company tick can also share your secrets with your competitors. To eliminate confidentiality issues, you can have experts who want to do freelance work for you to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Despite the issues that could come up when working with freelancers, it is evident that the pros of working with freelancers outweigh the cons by far. If this is a new concept for you, there might be a few bumps on the road. Once you get more familiar with the process, you will soon realize that working with freelancers can be very beneficial, especially for small businesses.
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