In the United States alone, there are over 1.6 million people working in the “gig economy”. They go by many different names and titles, from independent contractors to freelancers. Now, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, that number is expected to jump.
What does that mean for businesses?
While some companies are hesitant to hire freelancers, there are many benefits to consider. It can save you a lot of money, rather than having to hire a full-time employee to have on staff. And, independent contractors often have very specific skillsets, so they can work on the project you need and you know it will be done correctly.
If you’re still on the fence about tapping into the gig economy, let’s look at Independent Contractors vs Employees, so you can decide if hiring a freelancer is right for your company.
There is Less Overhead
As stated above, working with independent contractors can save you a lot of money. You don’t need to hire as many full-time workers, which means you can scale back on your office space. As a result, you can use that money toward growing your business and dedicating more attention to your existing employees.
It’s a matter of rearranging your mindset when it comes to how a traditional office should work. Some people still aren’t comfortable working with a freelancer who isn’t in the office each day. But, if you’re willing to break with tradition, you can end up saving yourself time, money, and resources.
When you hire a freelancer, it’s typically for a specific job or project. When that project is complete, your business with them is done unless you hire them again later. You don’t need to give them certain days or hours to work as you might with traditional employees. While having deadlines is important, the flexibility for both you and the contractor can make for a more positive experience for everyone.
You’ll Work With the Best
Independent contractors typically focus on one or two areas of expertise. Graphic designers, writers, marketing experts, etc., all stick with what they know, so they can provide you with superior services in those particular areas.
When you hire someone to work at your company, they might have to spread themselves quite thin to take on multiple roles and wear several hats. As a result, their work might suffer or not be as great as it should. If you really want to hone in on a particular project, hiring a contractor that is dedicated to it can be a better option. Most contractors will work with you until you are completely satisfied with a particular job, and they’re not working on your time, but their own.
There is Less Risk
The fewer employees you have working in-office, the less of a risk you face for everything from on-the-job injuries to wrongful termination threats. There are plenty of common labor lawsuits to consider that employees could hit you with at any time if they feel justified.
When you hire an independent contractor, they operate under a different set of rules/laws. While that relationship still needs to be a professional one with certain things expected, the risk is much lower, and your business will be safer.
Are There Any Cons to Consider?
As with anything else, there are some potential drawbacks to consider if you’re thinking about hiring a freelancer. First, it’s not always easy to find someone that fits what you’re looking for. Independent contractors are often in high demand, so you might not always be able to find the right fit. If/when you do, most freelancers work on their own time and terms, with minimal supervision. If you’re the type of person that likes to see what your employees are doing on a daily basis, hiring a contractor might not work for you.
Finally, it’s important to be aware that independent contractors are just that – independent. If they cover a specific niche, there is nothing stopping them from working with your competitors. They may not even realize it, because they aren’t connected to any one particular company or group. They take their career job by job, and if they work for a limited industry, their talents can be used by anyone, including those who market against you.
While hiring freelancers isn’t for everyone, it’s certainly something to consider as you continue to try to grow your business and take it into the future. Don’t be afraid to do some searching for freelancers that could fit your project needs. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy the experience.