5 Tips for Managing Contractors and Freelancers

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Sometimes businesses need more skills than are available internally, compelling them to outsource. Utilizing freelancers and contractors can help a business economically grow its skills. Freelancers provide you with the next best alternative to having full-time employees, engaging them on an as need basis. 

As more and more businesses turn to freelancers, it is critical to understand how to manage them effectively. A poor relationship with a freelancer can hurt a project. Cultivating mutually beneficial freelancer relationships can take your business to the next level. 

For effective contractors/freelancers management, you can utilize specific guidelines to get the best out of the arrangement. 

1. Be Upfront

Being upfront helps set the pace for the assignment when outsourcing a particular skill for your business. First, decide what the scope of work is, then proceed to share it with the freelancer. The project scope should have the work to be accomplished and the deliverables clearly defined.

When the scope is well designed, a competent freelancer should ideally discern the effort and time it takes to deliver and advise on any additional requirements. The contracted party also sets the tone for the relationship since they are more experienced with business-freelancer engagements. 

However, you may also need to establish the structure for the relationship to ensure it is what you are looking for to attain results. Be upfront about pay and the number of hours you are expecting them to work. Such clarifications avoid future misunderstandings and manage the expectations of both parties in the contract. 

2. Make Sure They Fit Your Needs

You must identify a freelancer that is a good fit for your needs. You can ascertain the fit by defining them beforehand. Have the list of tasks and determine the core competencies and profile of an individual who can accomplish the job.

Hiring a freelancer typically starts with an interview that helps you determine the scope of skills they can offer. Where possible, ensure that the individual can demonstrate their skills before contracting them. For example, if you want to hire Excel experts, provide a short trial data assignment to test their knowledge. 

You can also split the workload between two freelancers if finding one person that encapsulates all your needs is a challenge. Freelancers should be willing to work together if need be. There is an added benefit of the two professionals complementing each other in their various strengths. 

3. Establish Goals and Expectations

Establishing the goals and expectations of a project helps you clarify them before involving a third party. You should also determine the resources you need for the undertaking and, if need be, revise your requirements depending on what is at your disposal. 

Set the goals for the project from the beginning and be sure all expectations and timelines are realistic. If practical, have a flexible timeline to allow the freelancer to make adjustments if needed. Remember, you are likely not their only client. 

Goals and expectations should be specific project-based outcomes. Freelancers are not business employees, so they do not need to adhere to company employee standards outside the scope of job performance. The critical aspect for freelancers is the output. To keep tabs on work progress, you can set milestone achievements for large projects. 

4. Communicate Often

Communication is essential for both parties to ensure everyone is on the same page. Set regular meetings with your freelancer to receive and provide project updates. Try to get the consultations on the calendar in advance to let the freelancer know when they are coming. 

In between the update sessions, be available for questions and respect the non-working hours of your freelancer’s day. In jobs that do not require physical contact, you can employ a professional from anywhere in the world, and your timezones may conflict. In case of an emergency, you can politely ask the freelancer to indulge you.

Frequent engagement avoids miscommunication between yourself and the freelancer. There is also an increased likelihood of the first submission meeting your needs. The interaction eliminates the need for several reworks when the freelancer makes the final deliverable.    

5. Let Them Do Their Thing

Freelancers launch into their careers because they want work autonomy and control of their schedules. If you interfere too much with the contractor, you will likely sever relations and compromise output quality. A freelancer sets their work style and should manage their time effectively. 

Avoid managing a freelancer the way you do your full-time employee. Focus more on the outcomes rather than how they achieve those outcomes. Having regular updates on work progress and setting timelines for completion of milestones/final deliverables are usually sufficient to manage freelancers. 

The freelancers also know their reputation is pegged on quality work delivery and are unlikely to mess up projects deliberately. Allow the contracted parties to do their thing for successful outcomes. 

Use Contractors and Freelancers to Grow Your Business

Many businesses are adopting using freelancers to fill up skill gaps they have. Such an option is cost-effective for organizations yet to mature to the level of admitting full-time experts. You can benefit from the vast pool of consultants and grow your business as well. You always have access to the best of professionals no matter how small your enterprise is and watch it grow.