When hiring a freelancer, things can sometimes get complicated. You’re hiring someone to do work for you, but we don’t actually work for you. We provide a service, as a business owner, and are our own employer. This can make it a bit confusing as to what you can and cannot do.
So let’s go over a few things to keep in mind when you’re hiring a freelancer to do work for you.
Freelancers Are Independent Contractors
Freelancers are independent contractors who provide a service. We invoice you for our services and you send us a 1099 at the end of the year, depending on the amount you’ve paid us.
This means we are not your employee. Typical hiring and firing policies don’t apply. Ideally, there is a contract in place that spells out not only what you’ve engaged us to do, but also how to end the working relationship, if and/or when that becomes necessary.
You Can’t Dictate Our Working Hours, Environment, or Methods
Obviously, there are some exceptions. If you’ve hired a virtual receptionist, for example, of course you can stipulate that she needs to be available during business hours. If you need documents in a particular format or have a method already in place that you prefer to be followed for certain tasks, these are also things that you can ask for. So are meetings.
But as a general rule, you can’t insist the freelancer work specific hours, in particular locations, or using definite methods. As long as the work is getting completed by the deadline you’ve provided, freelancers work when, where and how we want. It’s one of the perks.
This means you can’t insist we work at your location, use your equipment or follow rules laid out in your employee handbook. You can request these things – but we can refuse.
Hiring a Freelancer “Full-Time” Doesn’t Always Mean 40 Hours a Week
Full-time work as a freelancer doesn’t always look like a traditional 40 hour work week. You have to ask yourself what you’re hiring us to do.
Full-time social media management, for example, may not ever take eight hours a day, five days a week. Particularly when there are numerous options to help automate your social media, a freelancer may spend more time creating content for your social media than actually updating and commenting on it. Even then, it may only add up to a couple of hours a day.
Responding to emails may also only take a few minutes to a couple of hours a day. Writing blog posts or other content may take longer, particularly if there’s research involved, but it also isn’t likely to be the stereotypical full-time work you might imagine.
Full-time simply means that you’ve hired us to handle all of that particular task for you. And we will. If you have concerns about how it looks, always feel free to bring up those concerns. Most freelancers are happy to address them by showing you what we’ve done, what we still need to do, and explain our methods to you.
Be Clear About Your Needs and Expectations
We’re not mind readers, and neither are you. Communication is imperative in making a virtual freelance relationship work.
You have to be explicit about what you need us to do, and the expectations you have surrounding it. Whether it’s telling us the keywords you want used in content we’re writing, providing the passwords to an email account we’ll be handling, or the colors you want used to mark up different events on your calendar, you need to spell it out.
Don’t worry about making us feel like you’re “dumbing it down” for us or being too specific. The more particular you are, the easier you make it for us to do our job.
At the same time, don’t get frustrated when we ask for clarification, at least initially. As freelancers and not your employees, we not only want to make sure that we do the job right, but that we don’t overstep our bounds and do something you didn’t want us to do – or don’t do something you did want us to do.
We may ask for clarification on what seems like a very simple, minor issue. But it is your business, and as an outsider who generally only gets a limited view based on what we need to know to do the work you’ve hired us for, we don’t always know whether something is minor.
You Get What You Pay For
One thing freelancers often hear is that we ask too much for our services. But let’s remember the old adage: you get what you pay for.
When you go to the supermarket, you don’t expect to get prime rib for the price of a pound of burger. Likewise, you can’t expect top-quality services for bottom-rung pay.
It’s important to remember when you hire a freelancer that, in addition to the work we do for you, we also save you some additional work and expenses. When you hire me, you don’t have to worry about:
- Withholding for my taxes
- Paying for my health, life, or disaiblity insurance
- Providing me with any other benefits outside payment
- Unemployment compensation
- Liability if I’m injured at your location (since I’m virtual, I’m never there!)
While you may pay me more for my services, whether per hour, word, or project, than you’d pay an hourly employee, you also save a lot by not having to worry about those things.
You also don’t have to worry about making sure you have enough work to sustain me as a full-time employee. As a freelancer, you can hire me on a part-time or per-project basis. You’ll be paying only for services rendered, even if that’s in the form of hours worked, which often comes out to be less than you’d pay an hourly employee.
You’ll also find that I’m dedicated and extremely motivated to provide you with quality work. My business name, as well as my family’s financial security, is on the line.
Get in touch with me today if you’d like a custom quote or have any questions about hiring a freelancer.