How To Hire a Freelancer

Wondering how and where to hire a freelancer? Get the inside scoop about finding and hiring a freelancer for your projects and teams.
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How To Hire a Freelancer

Hiring a freelancer is actually quite an easy process, mainly because they are a freelancer and don’t have to check with anyone but themselves to set their availability.  That being said, there are a few key things you should do in order to make sure you’re getting the most out of your freelancer. The first step is reaching out to see if a creative has room in their schedule.

Step 1. Check Availability

The first step is reaching out to see if a creative has room in their schedule.

During this initial consult or planning call (in which you might outline the specific needs) it is essential to communicate your vision for the project, what you are looking for in general, and what the budget is. This will help set expectations from the get-go and avoid any miscommunication that could lead to problems down the road. The project won’t be able to continue from either party if you aren’t both on the same page. Therefore, it’s important to find a creative that you trust and feel confident in their ability to bring your vision to life.

Step 2. Learn More All Around

The second step is providing the freelancer with as much information as possible.

Assuming the freelancer has the availability to schedule you in, a consult will be scheduled (unless all communication is preferred by email). During this consult, the freelancer will have a chance to learn about your project needs and offer some insight from their experience. This includes things like what the project entails, any specific deadlines or milestones, what kind of deliverables you are expecting, and what the budget is. The more information the freelancer has, the better they are to accurately quote you out.

Step 3. Agree on Payment Methods & Start

The last step to hiring a freelancer is to agree on a payment method and timeline of events.

This includes figuring out how often you will be paying the freelancer or if the job at hand is a fixed price and what’s needed to get started. It’s important to have an understanding of what exactly is being delivered by when, so that both parties are clear about what work is being done and when payments are expected. This way there are no surprises and everyone knows what to expect.

Quite often however, the freelancer will have a routine in place and be able to explain what their specific policy is. It does not have to be formal and does not necessarily involve contracts.

Where To Hire a Freelancer

There are a few different places you can hire a freelancer. Common routes include platforms and online portfolios.

Let’s start with a freelancing platform like Upwork or Freelancer.com. These platforms are a great way to connect with creatives who have the skills and experience you need for the project at hand.

Another option is to post a job ad on sites like Craigslist or Reddit. This can be a great way to find freelancers who are looking for work, and you can get a lot of responses quickly this way. However, you’ll need to do some vetting to make sure that the freelancer is a good fit for your project.

You can also reach out to your network of contacts. This might include friends, family, or people you know through work. This can be a great way to find freelancers who are already familiar with your business and who might be a good fit for your project.

Search Engines, such as Goolge, are quite often overlooked. Many times freelancers and independent contractors will have their own website or portfolios online that you can browse. You’ll likely find contact buttons or forms on freelancers’ websites, so you can easily send them a message and inquire about availability. Worst case scenario is they are too busy and you continue on in your search, it never hurts to ask.

How Much Does a Freelancer Cost

Another thing to keep in mind is your budget. Make sure you know how much you’re willing to spend on a freelancer before you start looking. Once you have an idea of your budget, you can start searching for freelancers who fit within that price range.

(more on pricing and payment practices below)

No matter how you find a freelancer, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind before making a decision.

Once you’ve considered these factors, you should be ready to make a decision on which freelancer to hire.

When To Hire a Freelancer

Deciding when to hire a freelancer can be tricky. You want to make sure that you’re hiring the right person for the job, and that they’re available when you need them.

If you’re looking to hire a freelancer for a short-term project, it’s best to wait until you have a clear idea of what you need to be done. This way, you can give the freelancer a more defined scope of work and avoid any misunderstandings.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a freelancer to help with on-going work, it’s best to hire them sooner rather than later. This way, they can get started right away and help you to maintain a consistent level of quality.

Hiring someone before you fully know what you need can of course cost a bit more, in regards to billable hours upfront, but the freelancer can sometimes anticipate better what will be needed (based on their experience).

How To Interview a Freelancer

Once you’ve found a freelancer that you’re interested in hiring, it’s important to interview them before making a final decision. This will give you a chance to get to know them better and see if they’re a good fit for your business.

Depending how big your team is, perhaps you have a dedicated member that will conduct the interview. If not, make sure you at least talk with your future freelancer (phone interview will typically suffice).

This does not have to be a very formal interview, in fact some of the best interviews are more like conversations. However, there are a few key questions you’ll want to make sure you ask:

What is your availability like?

Do you have any other projects that you’re working on right now?

How did you hear about this job?

Why do you think you’re a good fit for this position?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

What are your rates?

These questions will give you a good idea of the freelancer’s availability, their level of experience, and their communication style. All of which are important factors to consider when hiring a freelancer.

How Often To Communicate With Your Freelancer

Communication is key when it comes to working with a freelancer. You’ll want to make sure that you communicate with them regularly, preferably as each milestone or segment is delivered before moving on to the next stage. This will help to ensure that both of you are on the same page and that time isn’t wasted, on either end.

It’s important to remember that your freelancer might not be available 24/7 for communication. If they’re in a different time zone, or if they have other projects going on, there may be times when they can’t answer your messages right away.

Try to be understanding and give them some leeway, but make sure that you establish clear expectations from the start. More often than not, the freelancer has chosen a non-standard working schedule to escape the 9-5. This means that they might not work Monday – Friday but instead swap in time during the weekend, it’s always worth asking at the beginning.

How To Pay a Freelancer

When it comes to paying your freelancer, there are a few different options. The most common is to pay them based on an hourly rate. However, you can also agree on a fixed price fee for the project as a whole.

Paying hourly can be a good option if you’re not sure how long the project will take. This way, you won’t have to worry about paying for more hours than you need and sometimes you, as the business owner will have pieces of the puzzle put in place after just a few hours.

If you decide to pay a fixed price, make sure that you and the freelancer agree on what’s included in that price. This can help to avoid any misunderstandings down the road.

Fixed price projects can actually end up costing more because of the amount of unknown variables that will be built into the fee. For example, if the freelancer has to account for changes that the client requests then it’s only fair that said changes are billed additionally – assuming the freelancer is okay with working on a retainer (basically, guaranteeing work for an agreed-upon period of time).

In any kind of design work, revisions are inevitable and the number of revisions a client is going to want will always vary (better to err on the side of caution).

Depending what freelancing platform you use the billing structure and additional fees will vary. Upwork, for example, charges a 20% fee on the total project value when work is completed. This is in addition to the freelancer’s own payment processing fees so best to keep in mind that a freelancer’s rate and fixed fees will sometimes include additional costs to cover platform-specific fees.

If you are working outside of a freelancing platform, and saving on fees, make sure you are the freelancer know how best invoicing and payment structure will work. For some items, such as design there may be a deposit upfront with the balance due upon completion.

The most important thing when it comes to paying your freelancer is to make sure that you’re both clear on what’s expected and when payment is due. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings or disagreements down the road.

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