As a small IT business owner, you probably run a lean, mean operation, especially when you’re just starting out. If you're not counting every penny, you're probably at least keeping an eye on every Hamilton to make sure you stay on budget. As a result, it’s no secret that IT business owners tend to heart freelancers.
Why? Let us count the ways…
1. Hiring Freelancers Can Save You Money
The most obvious reason small IT businesses love freelancers is simple: they're cheaper. When you hire freelancers (as opposed to full-time or even part-time employees), you don’t have to worry about a lot of the costs associated with staff, such as…
- Employment taxes.
- Benefits like health insurance, 401(k), etc.
“With freelancers, they are only getting paid when they work,” says
Stuart Crawford (@stuartrcrawford),
creative director and CEO of
(@ULISTIC), a specialty firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. “Unlike W2 employees, who come with baggage such as healthcare, technology investments, and other expenses, freelancers have the ability to stand on their own two feet and just do the work for us.”
Pro tip: It’s a good idea to check with an attorney early on to ensure the people you hire are truly contractors, not employees.
You should also ask if they have freelancer insurance, such as General Liability Insurance or Errors & Omissions Insurance.
2. Freelancers Are Experts in Their Field
Many freelancers tend to be specialists and work in a specific IT niche as a…
- Website designer.
- App creator.
When you hire a freelancer, you have the freedom to book the person with the exact skill set you need at that moment. By contrast, if you hire an employee, you may need someone with a general skillset so they can fill in where you need them on a daily basis. It's nice to have someone who wears many hats, but certain jobs require a freelancer's high level of technical expertise.
“The main benefits to hiring freelance IT consultants are that you are hiring an expert in their field of technology that should allow you to complete your project more quickly and efficiently,” says
David Collins, a
recruiting manager for the
Addison Group's (@Addison_Group) IT contract division in Houston, Texas.
“You hire a freelancer when you need a specialized talent for a short time or when you are not sure how long you would need the person,” adds
Vik Chadha (@VikChadha),
founder and CEO of
(@HiveDesk), a company that creates task management and time tracking software for managing remote workers.
The takeaway: When you hire a freelancer, you get expert help without any long-term commitment. Which brings us to our next point…
3. Freelancers Are Perfect if You Have Commitment Issues
Freelancers offer flexibility for business owners who either don’t have the budget for full-time staff or whose business needs fluctuate. When you hire people on a per-project basis, it’s easier to manage the ebbs and flows of your business. And if things don’t work out, it’s easier to “break up” with a freelancer than with an employee.
“You can hire freelancers as you need them, and if you don’t like the work of one, you can move onto another,” says
Marissa Letendre (@therightrecruit), an accomplished
recruiter, resume writer, and Certified People Sourcing Professional (CPSP).
“Freelancers can be an excellent option for employers who need help with certain areas, but not all the time.”
4. Freelancers Help You Expand Your Market Reach
As we covered in “5 Cash Flow Secrets to Eliminate ‘Low Balance’ Anxiety,” it’s important to carve out time every day to focus on new business development. But we get it – sometimes you are so busy that prospecting and networking can fall by the wayside.
That’s where freelancers can help.
Because many freelancers are essentially small-business owners themselves, they likely have connections and contacts that you can tap into as you grow your business. Freelancers can also give you the ability to operate in geographic areas you normally wouldn’t be able to reach.
“Some businesses hire freelancers to extend their reach into new markets to service or support customers,” says Chadha. “It helps them extend their market reach without the need to have local offices or staff.”
5. Freelancers Allow You to “Try Before You Buy”
Hiring freelancers allows you to see if a person will be a good fit for your business. It’s basically a “no muss, no fuss” approach to working with someone for the first time. If the person you hire isn’t meeting your expectations, you can simply part ways. If they’re killing it, you can continue to throw work their way or even take them on as fulltime employee.
“Over the last year, I have hired and fired over 15 freelancers for various projects,” says
marketing director for
Veppo Personal Vaporizers & E-Cigars
(@veppocig). “Some of them were only good for one project, but a few were a really good fit and now work for me part or full time as freelancers.”
Chorpenning says he found it beneficial to give each freelancer a test project to complete before moving into a more permanent contract.
“After I’ve found a qualified candidate, I always ask them to do a project that will take them no more than a day or two,” says Chorpenning. “If it’s a good fit, I know exactly what to expect before diving in with them.”
Still not sure if freelancers are right for your business? Check out our article “Employee vs. Contractor vs. Freelancer: Which Is Right for Your Tech Business?”
About the Contributors
Vik Chadha is the founder and CEO of HiveDesk, a Louisville, Kentucky-based company that creates task management and time tracking software for managing remote workers.
Colton Chorpenning is the marketing director for Veppo Personal Vaporizers & E-Cigars. Colton loves turning big ideas into reality and surrounding himself with creatives who are equally passionate about awesome, impactful work.
David Collins is a recruiting manager for the Addison Group’s IT contract division in Houston, Texas. As the recruiting manager, David is responsible for the onboarding and development of a team of junior and mid-career associates, as well as placing IT professionals with companies in search of hard-to-find talent. Collins takes a consultative approach to IT recruitment and makes it a priority to stay on top of emerging trends in the ever-changing world of information technology in order to provide the highest level of service to clients and candidates.
Stuart Crawford serves as creative director and CEO with Ulistic, a specialty firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.
Marissa Letendre is an accomplished recruiter and Certified People Sourcing Professional. She has worked as a recruiter and resume writer, giving her an understanding of the industry from both the candidate and employer perspective.