The Problems with Hiring Freelancers

Problems with freelancing jobs and hiring freelancers
 

Online freelancing is a big thing.

oDesk has grown by around 100% each year for the last 6 years. Freelancer.com has completed over 4.1 million projects. So is freelancing the future of work? Do you see a future where everyone is working as a freelancer for several different employers?

For businesses, freelancing has some major upsides:

  • It’s cheap
  • Freelancers are completely flexible
  • No training and development costs
  • You are often paying for accomplished results rather than an hourly rate, so you have more accountability of results produced versus the amount paid.

Ok, so perhaps you should run your entire business using freelancers and contract workers and never hire a full-time person again?

However I’ve discovered in hiring freelancers and full-time staff, that there is a downside to freelancing…

 
How long does it take a new employee to get up to speed?

If you hire an employee in your company, do you expect them to be amazingly productive in their first week? Usually the first week is just about getting orientated to the job. Learning about your business, how everything works, learning the systems and procedures and getting to know the people.

So what happens when you hire a freelancer for a 1 week contract? In some cases this can work well. If it’s something where they are highly skilled in that area, and it’s a one-time job that you need them to complete.

In fact it’s perfect for this type of situation. Examples could include: designing a logo for your website, creating a new animated video, proofreading a book or creating a one-time voice-over.

 
Can freelancers RUN your business?

I would argue that they cannot. You need someone who is totally dedicated to you. Someone working only for you and following your systems and procedures. A person who is a part of building your company.

 
The downsides of contract work and freelancing

At Staff.com we do not believe that freelancing is the future of work for several major reasons:

  • It does not provide a completely reliable and dependable income for the freelancer. They need to constantly look for more work.
  • The freelancer or part time worker is not totally committed to the company. They have other commitments, other jobs that can sometimes take priority.
  • It does not provide enough time for trust to develop between employer and employee, and so the speed of execution and the ability to get things done is hampered by a lack of trust.
  • Most importantly that the freelancer is not able to spend the time to understand the business, to get involved in being an integral part of the company.

 
About the Author:

Rob Rawson is a co-founder of Staff.com, a global recruitment platform where you can access very talented staff at affordable rates. They also have a technology called Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.

Rob resides in Sydney, Australia but can also be found in major cities around the globe, like Paris, Kiev or San Francisco.

Find Rob on Google Plus

 

5 Comments

  1. Danielle says:

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and also the rest of the site is very good.

  2. Sarie says:

    Hello Rob – I think you have to clarify your article here. Are you referring to online professionals as you have mentioned oDesk and Freelancers.com?
    Being an online professional myself, I do work on a full time basis if the client/employer match is good based on skills and expectations, not to mention the pay. With the sites you mentioned, more often than not – companies seeking or thinking of hiring from there offer payments way below the standard, bearable, decent pay.
    I understand that Staff.com hires only full time workers but I think it’s just a matter of semantics. Freelancers vis a vis online professionals?
    Correct me if I am wrong as some of the members of the organization where I belong to is violently objecting. Hehehehe.
    Regards…..

    • admin says:

      HI Sarie, Yes it is semantics. However freelance work is usually short term. The average job on Elance is around $200. I believe it’s lower on other sites like Freelancer.com. That’s not a lot of money. And it means that freelancers need to go out and get another job, and another. So it’s hard work constantly getting new jobs.

      I think Freelancers who can get jobs worth $5,000 can make some decent money but it’s difficult to find those jobs on any freelancing site. A job worth $200 is probably good for someone in some lower income developing countries, but even then they are sometimes stuck with jobs that are only $20, and that means constantly having to find more $20 just to survive.

  3. nathan says:

    hey, wanted to let you know the facebook share button
    doesn’t seem to work well

    i pushed it, and it put a non-descript link with no picture
    that didn’t seem to work. made me worry it was spam
    (as it looked like spam on my face book wall)


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