Why Businesses Don’t Use Freelancers

There are many great reasons to hire freelancers for short- or long-term projects, but some business owners and managers are still hesitant to work with independent contractors.

Despite a growing number of individuals entering the freelance economy and more business owners looking to these professionals to help manage their workload and execute projects in a wide range of departments, many myths continue to exist about freelancers.

Below are nine ongoing freelancer myths, and the reality behind them. 

Myth #1: Freelancers deliver poor quality work.

Reality: Freelancers know better than just about anyone that if they don’t have clients, they don’t have a business. With that in mind, they strive to consistently deliver superior work. Of course, a few rounds of revisions are to be expected, but the client can expect results that meet or exceed their expectations which will hopefully lead to an ongoing professional partnership.

Myth #2: Freelancers cost less.

Reality:  An independent contractor is not on the regular payroll of any one company, so technically, yes, there are some cost savings for an employer when it comes to salary and benefits. But that doesn’t mean a freelancer necessarily works “cheap.”

The average freelancer can bill anywhere from $25 to well over $100 per hour for their work; flat-rate project fees also vary widely. Technically, this does cost an employer less in the big picture, but most freelancers charge a healthy rate in order to cover their own expenses.

9 MYTHS WHY BUSINESSES DON’T USE FREELANCERS- misconceptions about freelancers

Myth #3: It’s too difficult to find freelance talent for your business.

Reality: Another attractive aspect of working with freelancers is that you can find experienced professionals in the narrowest business niche. From translators in the most obscure languages to coders and bookkeepers and everything in between, there is a freelancer for your needs.

As always, start with word of mouth and asking those in your network for referrals for reliable freelancers. Then, expand your search to online job boards. Sites like Upwork, Thumbtack, Freelancer, and countless others focus solely on pairing freelancers with individuals who want to hire them.  

Myth #4: Freelancers are a great fit for all industries.

Reality: Just because you can find a freelancer for your niche doesn’t necessarily mean you should. If your field is largely relationship-driven and relies heavily on face-to-face interaction, such as direct sales, hiring a freelancer may not be your best investment.

Freelancers are a better fit for your back-end projects. Think of it this way—while your outside sales reps are meeting with clients and proudly handing them your company’s new brochure, the freelance writer you’ve hired is working on the content for your next brochure at their home office.

Myth #5: Freelancers require extensive training.

Reality: In most cases, a freelancer only needs the training necessary to complete the job for which they were hired. If you’re working with a contracted bookkeeper, acquaint them with your record keeping system.

Unlike a full-time employee, the freelancer you work with will most likely not be working on-site, so you don’t have to complete the standard, often extensive new hire onboarding that’s become the norm at most companies.

Myth #6: Freelancers will work exactly how, and when, you tell them.

Reality: Remember—a freelancer is an independent contractor, which means they have other clients. They are not your direct employee, so they will complete their workload—including your projects—when and how it best suits their schedule.

Of course, they should be available for phone calls and regular check-ins, but freelancers thrive on mutual respect with their clients, who understand they have other projects. They may not “clock in” at the office every day at the same time, but trust that they are working diligently on your project on their own timetable.

Myth #8: Freelancers are unpredictable.  

Reality: Freelancers are professionals and should act as such in all client dealings. As a potential client, they should expect you to do some due diligence. Look at their past work, ask for references, and speak to them prior to entering into a contract so you get a sense of how they work and, more importantly, if you will work well together.

The freelancer should give you an idea of their timeline, work style, and be available if you call with questions or feedback for any aspect of the project. If the freelancer is not responsive for a certain length of time or hasn’t produced the deliverables they promised, it might be time to re-evaluate your partnership. Get as much information from the freelancer up front so there are no surprises later.  

 

9 myths why businesses don't use freelancers for professional services

Myth #7: It’s easy to hand work over.

Reality: Most small business owners are used to handling everything themselves—from marketing to payroll to purchasing, and any other unforeseen demands that come up. Same goes for small- to mid-sized companies with staff members well-versed in multitasking and being cross-trained.

When the time finally comes to hire that extra set of temporary hands, you may both be surprised to find that it’s hard to hand over the work you’ve been used to doing yourself for so long. Sure, you know you’re overworked and overwhelmed, but maybe you’ve just gotten used to it. If you agree to hire a freelancer, let them do the job you hired them to do, even if it’s not exactly the way you would do it.

Myth #9: Possibility of scope creep.

Reality: Unfortunately, this is one potential risk factor that is all too common. If the potential client is not clear on the direction and end goal for the project, it will be difficult for the freelancer to capture exactly what the client wants.

Of course, one solid suggestion could change the whole direction of the project, but wavering too much will cause the project to go over budget and the proposed timeline, which just frustrates everyone. This is why it’s so important to have this conversation early, so both the client and freelancer are on the same page.

There are many great reasons to contract with a freelancer, but this type of relationship isn’t a great fit for every company. Depending on the type of business and your needs, it might be in your company’s best interest to hire a permanent employee.


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