Why hire freelancers? Sometimes, you need an expert–someone with years of experience and robust skills, who can drop into a project and achieve your goals without a lengthy orientation. A freelancer does this on a contract basis, enabling you to make the most out of your project budget.
Best of all, once those tasks are complete, a freelancer goes on to their next client and project–no muss, no fuss. Learn how to hire a freelancer and save time, money, and stress.
If you’re ready to hire a freelancer now, post your job opening on ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter has a resume database that allows you to search for qualified freelancers to fit your needs.
Benefits Of Hiring Freelancers
Hiring freelancers gives you a chance to tap specialized skillsets for defined periods of time, without committing to a full-time hire. A good freelance hire offers:
- Expertise: Look for a portfolio of work related to the project you’re working on, as well as recommendations from previous clients. Many freelancers will have testimonials on their website or recommendations on their LinkedIn profiles.
- Scalability: Hiring freelancers allows you to scale up your team to support a new project or scale down to save money when your company has less work. This is a huge advantage over hiring an employee, which could wind up draining your budget if work dries up.
- Cost Control: Freelancers pay their own FICA, health insurance, retirement, etc., which is a major cost savings. It may also save you from asking employees to wear too many hats, which can hamper productivity and hurt retention.
- Team Morale: There’s nothing worse for morale than hiring employees only to lay them off during down cycles. Hiring freelancers on a limited basis can help support your full-time employees, keeping their work focused, and projecting their jobs.
- A Potential New Hire: If you find that you have ongoing work for a freelancer and they’re a good fit for the team and the company, you may want to make them a job offer. Freelancing allows both parties to try on a working relationship before they commit.
How To Hire A Freelancer
Follow these steps to find and hire a freelancer who will help you achieve your goals:
Know the law
What’s the difference between an employee and a freelancer? According to federal law, it comes down to the degree of control the company exerts on the worker and the degree of independence the worker enjoys from the company. A freelancer typically uses their own equipment, works primarily out of their home office, and agrees to a limited contract outlining the scope of their work.
Note: States such as California and Massachusetts have even more restrictive tests determining which workers are employees–your legal team or HR department should review these laws before you proceed.
Determine the work you need to be done
Be as specific as you can be. Include the project specs, the skills required, the time frame involved, and any other stakeholders in the project. Be sure to loop in any team members who will be working with the freelancer so that they can share their input.
Set your terms
Once you understand the scope of the project, translate those parameters into contract language. Be sure your contract stipulates deliverables, project deadlines, rate of payment (including whether you’ll be paying by the project or at an hourly rate), revisions and iterations, and when the contractor can expect to be paid (e.g. net 30, net 60, etc.). Be sure to run your contract by your legal department or representative before finalizing terms. Always insist on a signed contract. It will protect you as well as your freelancer and help minimize misunderstandings.
Find your freelancer
Consider casting a wide net when looking for help. Ask your network for referrals, search freelance and standard job sites, and put out calls on social media. If you’re part of any professional organizations or social media groups, use these contacts to your advantage. Also, follow any well-known freelancers in your field on social networks like LinkedIn. You’ll be able to see samples of their work and interact with them to feel out their availability.
It’s important to set expectations right from the start. Whether you choose to have a quick phone chat, a Zoom meeting, or an email exchange, be sure to make time for this essential step. Don’t assume that your way of working will be intuitive for every freelancer. The more specific and detailed you can be about your expectations and goals, the better.
Best Places To Find Freelancers
Looking online for your next freelancer? Start with the best freelance sites, including these:
Upwork is one of the largest and most venerable online freelance marketplaces–the site has been connecting companies with freelancers for over 20 years. The entry-level package is free and includes unlimited freelancer proposals and collaboration and payment tools. If you’re planning to hire several freelancers or want tailored search results, more advanced packages start at $49.99 per month.
Like Upwork, Indeed is a free job posting site with a stellar reputation and a wide reach. The site boasts 250 million unique visitors per month and 175 million posted resumes. Indeed is a general job site geared toward all kinds of workers–full-time employees, part-time help, and freelancers. Post your freelance job at no cost, or sponsor a job and improve your listing's visibility starting at $5 per day.
ZipRecruiter is the No. 1 rated hiring site and job search app in the U.S., and when you sign up for a free trial, you’ll see why. ZipRecruiter’s powerful AI scans thousands of resumes to find the freelancer whose experience, skills, and abilities match your needs. All packages come with a free trial and are customizable based on your requirements.
Now that you know where to find a freelancer, you may be wondering what else you can do to improve your hiring and onboarding process. Here are a few tips:
- Applicant Tracking Software: Applicant tracking software helps you to manage the process of hiring. Keep all of your favorite potential employees in one spot.
- HR Software: HR software can help you with onboarding, help you to communicate with employees effectively, set clear performance goals, manage payroll, and more.
- Recruitment Software: Recruitment software helps you keep track of every facet of recruitment.
- Performance Management Software: Performance management allows you to set goals, track progress toward goals, identify potential skill gaps, facilitate conversations, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does hiring a freelancer cost?
The cost of hiring a freelancer can range from free to several hundred dollars, depending on the method you use to find a contractor. Job search sites often have free trials or low-cost options, and word-of-mouth costs nothing but your time. Do keep in mind, however, that your time isn’t free. If a job search site speeds your time to hire, it may be well worth the investment.
How much do freelancers get paid?
Wages vary widely depending on their area of expertise, but freelancers tend to earn more than employees on a per-hour basis because they’re responsible for paying their full FICA contribution as well as buying and maintaining their own equipment. Upwork estimates that freelancers in skilled services like web development, legal, and marketing earn an average of $28 per hour.
What’s the best way to find freelancers?
The best way to find freelancers depends on your network and your needs. If you have robust connections in your industry, you may need only to contact a few colleagues and perhaps post your needs on social media. However, if time is of the essence, job search sites can be a big help in locking down talent.
Is it legal to hire a freelancer?
It’s legal to hire a freelancer, but you should make sure that you’re following local, state, and federal law about the distinctions between a contractor and an employee. Some states have stricter definitions of employment than others.
The Bottom Line
There are many benefits of hiring freelancers. Ready to hire a freelancer? Consider posting your job listing on ZipRecruiter!