Freelancer versus hiring in house. What do I need to know?

It’s time to face facts; the freelance economy is on the rise and it’s not going anywhere. According to a recent report, there are nearly 54 million freelancers in America. And 1.88 million freelancers in the UK. That’s a huge part of the workforce.

It’s estimated that 40% of the American workforce are expected to be freelance by 2020. The flexibility of remote working means there are advantages for employees and employers. But there are downsides too. So, if you need more staff should you hire a freelancer or stay in house? What are the differences between a freelancer and an in house employee? Let us weigh up the pros and cons for you:

PROS:

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Cost:

Freelancers can have a higher hourly rate than what you’d usually pay for an in house member of staff. This can be off-putting at first. But, because you don’t have to pay the benefits that you’d usually have to pay an in house employee, it can work out cheaper. Legally, you don’t have to pay your freelancer any benefits, such as sick pay, holiday pay, health insurance, pension etc. And, if your freelancer is remote, you don’t have to give them office space or factor in supply costs either.

Less Risk:

A freelancer isn’t an employee of your company so there’s less risk for you, the employer. If, for whatever reason you need to end their contract, you can do so easily. This is good for small businesses whose revenues may fluctuate throughout the year. In house employees are protected by contracts which are difficult to change at short notice.

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Super Specialised Talent:

Hiring remote freelancers gives you access to the super specialised talent that you need. You might not be able to find the right skills in your own geographic location. Freelancers ten to hop around from company to company. So, they build up more experience than someone who works on the same project all the time. An in house employee will be extremely specialised in one area.

Quality:

Freelancers need to turn out good quality work to keep bringing the business in. They’re aware of just how quickly their contract can be terminated, and strive to do the best they can for you. They’re used to working to tight deadlines, so they’re more likely to do extra work at night or on weekends. In house staff can have peaks and troughs of productivity.

CONS:

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Have they got time for you?

Good freelancers can be in-demand, which means you might be on a waiting list to hire them. Be prepared in case your favourite freelancer isn’t available when you need them. You could even be competing with other employers that are willing to pay more. At the end of the day, your freelancer has no real commitment to your company. It’s easy for them to jump ship. Your bond with an in house employee is much stronger. Plus, obviously, they’re always available to work for you.

Can they hit the ground running?

Do new employees need to do a lot of training to get up to speed with your business? If so, a high turnover of freelancers might not be the best option for you. In house staff are in it for the long haul. So it makes much more sense to spend time training them up on your systems and processes. 

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Do you need constant contact?

A remote freelancer might not be suitable if you need to be in contact with your colleagues a lot. Even if you hire a freelancer that’s in the same time zone as you, they may choose not to work the standard 9-5 hours. A lot of freelancers value the flexibility of freelance life. They might choose to work late in the evening, through the night or early in the morning. Make sure you check this out first. Obviously, you can have as much contact as you like with an in house employee.

Employee loyalty vs in house:

There’s no doubt that your freelancer will want to do an ace job for you. But, they’ll never be an outright employee of your company. Which means they’re not working for you because of your awesome company mission. They’re working for you because you happen to be providing a stable income at this point in time. In short, there’s no reason for them to be loyal to you.

Company investment:

A freelancer is less likely to be invested in your company’s goals and vision. They don’t care as much whether you’re growing or expanding. Just that they’re a regular freelancer on your rota. They’ll have little knowledge of what’s going on in the wider business. You may only hire a freelancer for a short amount of time. Which means they won’t know much about your way of work, your product or your customers compared to full-time employees.

 

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Vicky
After studying English Literature at university, Vicky decided she didn’t want to be either a teacher or whoever it is that writes those interminable mash-up novels about Jane Austen and pirates, so sensibly moved into graphic design. She worked freelance for some time on various projects before starting at Twine and giving the site its unique, colourful look. Despite having studied in Manchester and spent some years in Cheshire, she’s originally from Cumbria and stubbornly refuses to pick up a Mancunian accent. A keen hiker, Vicky also shows her geographic preferences by preferring the Cumbrian landscape to anything more local.

Comments

Vicky

Vicky

After studying English Literature at university, Vicky decided she didn’t want to be either a teacher or whoever it is that writes those interminable mash-up novels about Jane Austen and pirates, so sensibly moved into graphic design.

She worked freelance for some time on various projects before starting at Twine and giving the site its unique, colourful look.

Despite having studied in Manchester and spent some years in Cheshire, she’s originally from Cumbria and stubbornly refuses to pick up a Mancunian accent. A keen hiker, Vicky also shows her geographic preferences by preferring the Cumbrian landscape to anything more local.

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