By guest blogger Brittany Fisher from Financially Well
How a Freelance Staff Can Save Your Business Money
Ten years ago, if someone told you they were a freelance anything, you would assume they meant “unemployed.” However, independent entrepreneurs are almost as common today as nine-to-five employees. Being a freelancer has its benefits, but hiring an independent workforce has perks for your business as well. Cost savings and access to a broad talent pool are just two reasons that having a remote crew is a smart choice.
Can I Really Save Money Hiring Freelancers?
In a word: yes. While it’s true that many set rates that are higher than that of their on-the-clock counterparts, you are in no way obligated to pay a full 40-hour-per-week salary. Think about a marketing coordinator. The average base pay, as calculated by Glassdoor, is just under $48,000. That is a huge sum of money for a company just starting out. By contrast, you may be able to find a thoroughly qualified individual to keep your business in the spotlight and only pay them for the campaigns they complete. Assuming a rate of $25 per hour at 10 hours per week, you could potentially save around $35,000 per year on a single service.
Another consideration is the cost of office space. When you use freelance employees, they pay for their own offices, utilities, and equipment. If you must lease a dedicated office space, you can easily be out $5,000 per month or more. Further, MarketWatch notes that in some parts of the country, each employee will cost you $14,800 each year in office lease expenses.
Organizing a Freelance Workforce
One of the only drawbacks of having your employee pool spread out is that sometimes coordinating with everyone is a hassle. Keep in mind that freelance employees are not required to be on call, and they may not be available for every conference call. You can increase the effectiveness, and thus the value, of a remote workforce by ensuring that your communication is top-notch. One way to do this is to invest in a speech-to-text transcription app or service. An automated service is a smart choice when if everyone has good audio quality with little background noise and clear voices. This service can, in fact, be 90-95 percent accurate.
Another cost-effective way to keep your group on the same page is to utilize online workflow software and free document-sharing programs. Google Docs is one of the most popular of the latter and will allow you to coordinate and make changes to projects in real time.
Finding the Right People
Despite all of the potential cost savings, your business's bottom line will suffer if you don’t put the right people into place. This can be an alarming thought if you have never hired staff before. Make a point to interview more than one freelancer for each position. You will find that rates, availability, and experience can vary wildly. Ask lots of questions, which will help you gauge many things, including their ability to communicate effectively. If you find someone you like and with whom you have a rapport, start with a small project, which can act as an extension of the interview. That way, if they fail, you are not in a significant bind and can channel your time, effort, and resources into finding someone who can meet your requirements.
If you are unsure of where to look for people who are only interested in contract work, there are sites that exist solely to help businesses connect with the freelance community. Using a job portal like this may also allow you to see a portfolio as well as reviews from previous clients. You’ll also have access to an almost unlimited workforce in both the US and abroad.
Don’t be afraid to put part-time people in your most pressing positions. While it may seem counterintuitive, freelance employees are passionate about their jobs and are almost certainly driven to do their best since they do not have a guaranteed paycheck at the end of the day. What’s more, freelancers could help you save money over the long term.