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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tips For Hiring a Freelancer


elle T. 

Every week, as a freelancer, I spend quite a bit of time searching for projects to bid on.  I’ve been a freelancer since 2009 and I have to say I enjoy the freedom of being able to work on my own schedule and work on projects that have personal meaning for me.  It has also been a great way to learn about new technology and to update my skills in various areas.  As with anything new though, there are challenges.  Since it is becoming so popular now, I thought I’d share some tips on hiring a freelancer.   These 4 tips can help you build a great reputation as a client and keep contractors happy before, during and after the project. 

  1. No contact with potential contractors before you make your final decision. Making contact with a potential contractor before you are ready to make a final decision can often be misleading and disruptive to the selection process.  Unless you have a question regarding the potential contractor’s submission/bid (pricing or clarity), there is no reason to make contact with potential contractor’s with unnecessary comments.  My most recent experience with this was a client that emailed to tell me I would “love” the client, only to find out a day later, the client selected another contractor.

  2. Pay On Time.  That, I know, is stating the obvious, but depending on the platform that you are using (iFreelance, Elance, RentACoder, etc.) will determine the way you pay your contractor.  Whatever you agree to pay, provided you get the service you requested or required, pay it.  This also includes making sure automatic payments are set-up properly. Payment to contractors, especially on gigs that are long-term, is vital to helping the contractor budget and plan (if need be) for other projects.  My recent experience with this included a client that did not set-up automatic payment correctly, leaving several contractors (including me) without payment for two or three days past the automatic payment due date.
  3. Be Fair When Setting-Up Project Pricing. If you are posting an in-depth, multi-layered data-entry job or programming job, consider that it may be better suited as an “hourly” project versus a “flat-fee” or “fixed price” project.  Consider also the amount being bid by contractors and their physical location. A contractor in India may bid lower, than say, a contractor in the U.S., Canada or Australia.  This doesn’t mean that the work is of a lesser quality nor does it mean that a Western contractor is bidding too high.  Costs and dollar value varies from country-to-country.  Try to remember the time and resources that a contractor is utilizing and where they are actually doing the work.  My experience with this has been many clients will reject bids out-of-hand because they feel it is too high without regard to the resources required to fulfill project requirements.
  4. Maintain Long-Lasting Relationships with Contractors That do a Good Job For You.  This will be a benefit to you, the client, when you have other projects and assignments that may come up in the future.  It is always easier to rehire a contractor you have already worked with versus going through the bid process every time you have a project. Many of my clients have been with me since 2009 and I am grateful for their support. 

As a client, if you keep these things in mind when considering hiring a freelancer, your experience is bound to be a good one....and one that may change the direction of your project.  See Glenn R.’s post below for a listing of freelancer websites.  Have a great and productive 2013 in the Community Village!

Bonus: CNN video on the same topic.