If you’re hiring someone for an important job, you want to feel like you can trust them and so wanting to meet a freelancer face to face is a natural feeling. But in this digital age, do you need to meet them in person?
Meet them virtually
These days, you’re a click away from hiring freelancers all over the world, who might be thousands of miles and a few oceans away from you. Unless you’re willing to spend a small fortune on air fares, meeting these freelancers isn’t really practical. And this might put you off hiring them altogether. But you don’t have to let it.
There are really easy ways to have proper interactions with freelancers, without ever being in the same room. Skype calls and Google Hangouts are both great ways to chat to your freelancer in real-time, so you’re not left fretting about who the person behind the email really is. You can meet them virtually even if you’ve never set foot on the same continent. In this case, do bear in mind time zones – they’re not going to want to Skype you at 3 in the morning.
This doesn’t only apply to people really far away. Often, it’s more convenient for a freelancer to talk via Skype than come into your office.
What about local freelancers?
If they’re local, then try to meet them, especially for the first consultation. Well-planned face-to-face meetings offer benefits that video chats, phone calls, emails and IM can’t. There’s a reason people interview job applicants face-to-face – it’s easier to get the scope of the person, gauge the chemistry between you and make sure that they understand everything properly. After the project’s begun, it’s also great to be able to see it in person, rather than in a heavily filtered photo. It’s a lot easier to give feedback on something you can hold in your own hands.
Either way, do your preparation
Whether you decide to meet virtually or in person, be prepared. Make sure you’re clear on the scope of the project and its purpose. Plan what you want to say in the meeting beforehand so you know you’ve covered all the crucial points. The more prepared you are, the less likely it’ll be that you’ll have to spring nasty surprises on the freelancer further down the line. Adding loads of bells and whistles later on will be costly and slow your freelancer down.
Also, remember that time is money – for both you and your freelancer. Keep meetings short and effective and this is again where proper planning comes in handy. The sooner the meeting ends, the sooner your freelancer can go back to working on the project.
If you want to meet in person, be prepared to pay expenses
You can’t expect your freelancer to travel light years to meet you without any compensation. Freelancers don’t have the safety net full-time employees have and you’re taking valuable time out of their working day, which equals a loss of income. Agree on the cost of review meetings when you first draw up the contract and agree what travel expenses you’ll pay.
Whether you’re Skyping them or having a chat over coffee, don’t expect them to meet you every day. Freelancers don’t want you looming over them and tracking their every move. Agree on the number of meetings before they start working. You’ll want to meet to outline the project and once more to go through the final revisions. If you want more meetings, you need to agree this with them upfront and schedule the dates, along with the purpose of these check-ins.