For many small businesses taking on full-time employees is prohibitive. They do not have the cash flow to employ them. But, owners of small businesses may need help with projects that they cannot do themselves or do not have the employees with the requisite skills. They need help in designing a website, for example, or have someone go out and investigate museums for designs of a certain era, or create a marketing brochure for their clients. Whatever it may be, engaging freelancers may be the answer.
Freelancers are not full-timers and aren’t direct reports. A company must rely on their expertise and word that they will get the job done in the time that is specified. A company cannot control or direct their work since they are 1099 independent contractors. Therefore, a company must be careful in hiring the right people. Ask for references and check on them. A desirable freelancer is one who is experienced and has done a large number of jobs. You might test them on a small job first to see how they do.
Here are some pointers to remember when considering a freelancer:
- Be very specific on the scope of the job and ask them if they have everything they need before they begin the project.
- Establish checkpoints along the way, but do not dictate how they perform the work or the hours they work. If you do, it becomes an employee/employer relationship and violates the definition of an independent contractor.
- Freelancers should also have a written, signed independent contractor’s agreement laying out the relationship. If you want ownership of any of the work or material the freelancer created that must be spelled out in the agreement that you are buying the rights and own all the rights.
A good freelancer can be a great help to you, but they come with a price so pay them promptly. They will hold you in good regard.