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10 Things to Remember When Outsourcing Work to Freelancers

Close to 60% of businesses that outsource work do so to cut costs and to enable focus on core business.

Many small businesses realize that it is more cost-effective to outsource projects or work instead of doing it in-house.

Read on for 10 things to consider when outsourcing work.

1. Craft a Clear Work Proposal

After you decide that you want to outsource jobs, you need to craft a detailed project proposal.

The stronger your proposal, the more likely you are to get bids from qualified freelancers.

A fine-tuned project proposal will help the professionals who review your post get a good sense of what you are looking for.

If you can, give an example of comparable work. When you craft a strong work proposal, you’ll spend less time sorting through bids from candidates that aren’t a good fit.  

2. Use Trusted Online Job Websites

There are a variety of sites that facilitate and streamline the process of hiring freelancers or remote workers. 

Once you post the job proposal or description, people can bid on the project. 

You can look at the candidates’ previous ratings and work history to narrow down your short list. 

Payment is held by the website and released to the worker when the project is done. Typically, the site skims 10% off the top for their cut. 

Reputable sites include Upwork, Freelancer, Elance, and Guru.

3. Beware of Scams

Hiring a stranger from online job websites is risky. You will be sending money online and there’s always the chance that you could be scammed.

There are those who have fake credentials and try to get some money before disappearing without completing the work. Many times, these people are not qualified to do the work in the first place.

Using trusted sites and conducting a thorough review of each candidate will help reduce this risk. Learn more about the website scams to look out for.

4. Look for Specific Relevant Experience 

The freelancer you hire should have experience with the specific type of project you need help with.

This is especially true for complex projects like web development and software development.

Make sure whoever you hire has verifiable experience in your sector. 

5. Review Portfolios or Samples

Before you give out outsourcing work to a freelancer, make sure to review his or her portfolio.

Most freelance sites have each freelancer’s portfolio accessible from their individual profile. If not, contact the freelancer and ask him or her to email it to you. 

Think about whether the freelancer’s style and quality are a good fit for your company. This is a good time to contact references. 

6. Test Out Several Freelancers

In order to find the perfect fit for your project, you may need to spend some time testing out several different freelancers.

In fact, you may want to use a few outsourcing sites to gather a broad short list of candidates.

Then you can narrow down your candidates to several freelancers. There are various ways to test candidates. You could include something like “reply to this job posting and attach a jpg of a rubber duck to ensure that you read the full job posting.”

You’ll be surprised how many candidates you can drop this way. After all, if those candidates don’t pay attention to detail, they won’t be the type of worker you want on your project.

Then, you can send out a short test to your candidates. This is tricky because freelancers don’t want to work for free. Maybe offer a paid test. 

Or, hire all of the candidates you feel are good fits. Start working with each on test projects. You’ll soon find which ones produce the best results.

As you do this, you’ll find a few dependable freelancers that you can trust. These are the ones you will keep longterm.  

7. Sign an Agreement

An agreement helps ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Your agreement should be thorough and detailed. Include project timelines, payment details and the scope of the project. You and the freelancer should review and sign the document.

Protect your company and assets by making all freelancers sign a non-competition agreement. This way, the freelancer can’t go directly to your client and offer to work for them for less money. 

This agreement can be used as a reference should any disagreements arise.

8. Decide on Payment 

Most of the time, you have the option of hiring a freelancer on a project basis. In these cases, you pay a set price for the entire project.

Other times you can pay on an hourly basis much like an in-house employee. Hourly payment makes sense when you have a variety of ongoing tasks that you need the freelancer to work on.

Yet, with hourly freelancers, you don’t have a maximum amount you can expect to pay. And it is harder to monitor that the freelancer is working efficiently each hour.

Project work is the safer option as you know the maximum this job will cost.

9. Understand Your Tax Obligations

When you hire freelancers, you are not responsible for paying payroll taxes on their behalf. Nor do you need to withdraw taxes from their paychecks. 

Freelancers and independent contractors are their own businesses. 

10.  Consider Freelancers as Business Partners

It’s vital that you remember that freelancers are not your employees. If you fail to show them the respect they deserve, they may not be willing to continue working with you.

Treat freelancers as business partners and you’ll be able to build a long-lasting business relationship that works well for both of you. 

Final Thoughts on Outsourcing Work

There you have it. 10 things to consider when outsourcing work to freelancers. 

Outsourcing can help you focus on your core business while letting experts do what they are best at. 

Next, check out these 5 fun office incentives to help you motivate your employees.