You might have thought that hiring permanent employees is always the solution to overcome labor shortages in your organization. While this can be a reasonable step for companies who want complete control of their workforce, small businesses with limited funding and resources may find the same course of action hard to follow. In this case, outsourcing some of their business functions by hiring independent contractors is the only viable option.
Independent contractors are self-employed individuals willing to render services under a written or verbal agreement with a particular company. They get paid based on the number of hours they sign up for or on a specified budget to finish a short-term or long-term project. Unlike regular employees whose work environment is decided by their employers, most independent contractors can work anytime and anywhere they want.
Why hire an independent contractor?
The reason for partnering with an independent contractor depends primarily on the unique situation of your business.
Sam Tabak, Co-Founder of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness Charities, highlights time availability, relevant expertise, and overall budget as the main factors that can help you decide whether you need to outsource independent talents.
“If you need more people to run your growing company but can’t afford to pay the full benefits of a regular employee, it can be a sign that you have to reach out to independent contractors. The same is true if you lack the time and resources to train or onboard a full-time employee,” Tabak noted.
The Pros and Cons of Hiring Independent Contractors
Now that you have identified your reasons and finally decided to give independent contractors a shot, it’s also smart to know the pros and cons of your decision to set proper expectations.
As mentioned, getting an independent contractor is the best option if you have limited funding. However, it doesn’t mean you have to lowball them with offers that do not give justice to their knowledge and skills. That’s not how outsourcing works, at least from a moral perspective.
So, what exactly makes them budget-friendly?
Peter Hoopis, CEO of Peter Hoopis, has a solid response to this question based on experience. “If you think about it, the basic salary you pay to a full-time employee is sometimes slightly lower than the accumulated hourly rate of an independent contractor,” Hoopis explained.
“However, with full-time workers, you are also expected to offer extra benefits such as allowances, bonuses, health insurance, and other non-monetary perks to retain them. These expenses are not mandatory with independent contractors, and that’s where you can save on your finances,” Hoopis added.
Independent contractors have the technical expertise necessary to execute their tasks successfully. Before hiring them, they were already self-taught or had enough knowledge gained from their previous experiences. They no longer need to undergo intensive training under your company because they have a strong foundation in their chosen niche.
Milo Cruz, Chief Marketing Officer at Freelance Writing Jobs, can testify to the convenience of hiring independent contractors when outsourcing some of their marketing and SEO tasks.
“We find the need to outsource more talents to perform our marketing functions due to the increased level of competition in our industry. We want more online exposure to generate organic traffic and rank higher in the search engine. The fastest way to achieve this is by partnering with independent contractors or freelancers who already have the right skill sets for the job,” Cruz said.
Meanwhile, you can train or onboard independent contractors to ensure they are well aware of your company culture. This can help them personalize their job and produce outputs that align with your brand. Moreover, onboarding them is easier and less time-consuming than training full-time employees.
Peak seasons are a common occurrence in many businesses. During this period, some tasks require more attention than others, which are often overwhelming if you are understaffed. Recruiting a new full-time employee doesn’t sound practical because you’ll spend on someone you won’t need once the peak season ends.
This is where independent contractors come into the picture.
“All you need is to outsource the right people, let them sign the agreement containing the payment structure and contract duration, and specify their roles with your desired outcome. Their flexibility is commendable because they can work for you depending on how long you need them,” said Jonathan Merry, co-founder of CryptoMonday.
“Some independent contractors work for us for only a few months. These are mostly for short-term projects like when we’re running a marketing or advertising campaign, and we need talents to write content about our new offers,” Merry added.
As a business owner, supervising your workforce is essential to ensure employees perform their expected tasks. This is, of course, not to the extent of micromanaging them. It’s more like an added assistance or reminder to keep employees on track and improve their work quality.
Supervising independent contractors doesn’t guarantee that they will execute the tasks the way you want them to be done. They have their own habit loop that works best for them, which may not deliver your desired results.
“These people are independent for a reason. They have the liberty to accept as many offers as they like, which means you may not be the only company they’re working for,” said Preston Powell, the CEO of Webserv.
Powell also mentioned that deadlines could be tight for independent contractors with multiple clients. This leads them to rush their job and produce outputs of inferior quality.
One drawback when searching for independent contractors is finding the right person fit for the job. There might be many freelancers seeking job opportunities online, but most of them are new to the industry or don’t have relevant experience to carry out the task.
Independent contractors that offer premium services are rare to find. They are often committed to only one or two clients to ensure that their work quality is top-notch.
You need to utilize every platform to hire someone talented enough to make things easier for your business. Otherwise, you might employ a half-baked talent who will become more of an inconvenience than a blessing to your company.
Is hiring independent contractors worth it?
Yes, if you know exactly why you need them in the first place. However, make sure to carefully evaluate who you partner with because that plays a significant part in the success or failure of your business.