Working with freelancers can be a great way for small businesses to cut costs. Not only does utilizing contractors cost less than hiring people full-time, it can also be a way of auditioning talented individuals for expanded roles within your business. Of course, this isn’t to say that all small businesses enjoy equally rosy relationships with freelancers.
Although some enterprises are able to retain contractors for years, others have trouble hanging on to them past their first jobs. If your small business falls into the latter category, you’d be wise to put the brakes on the following behaviors.
Payment Schedules are Inconsistent
You’d be hard-pressed to find a member of the workforce who doesn’t value getting paid in a timely manner. This is doubly true in the case of freelancers, who don’t have the luxury of being able to depend on regular paychecks.
Unsurprisingly, if you fail to provide contract workers with compensation for their services in a timely manner, they’re liable to stop working with your enterprise. After all, by submitting their work on time, they’ve fulfilled their end of the bargain, and it’s incumbent upon businesses to do the same.
In addition to providing expedient compensation, make sure that a mutually beneficial payment date is agreed upon before committing to begin a project. This will ensure that both you and your freelancers are on the same page with regard to payment schedules and prevent any misunderstandings down the line. To help payments arrive in a timely and hassle-free fashion, utilize a dependable virtual card.
Expectations Aren’t Properly Outlined
When working with freelancers, it’s imperative that both parties remain on the same page throughout every step of a project. Simple miscommunications or improperly outlined expectations can pave the way for far-reaching consequences. As such, don’t simply assume that freelancers will be able to fill in the blanks on their own.
Before beginning a new project, make sure to clearly review the details of the assignment – tone, desired deadline, etc. – and encourage your freelancers to come to you with any questions or concerns they have along the way.
Furthermore, if a freelancer fails to meet certain expectations, take care to review the directions you provided them with. While it’s certainly possible that the freelancer messed up, there’s also a chance that vague, unclear directions are the root cause. Admonishing contract workers or demanding sweeping revisions for mistakes made on your end is unlikely to breed retention.
Offering No Room for Advancement
Many businesses work with freelancers in the interest of limiting full-time hiring and saving money. While this is perfectly reasonable, it can also be disheartening to contract workers whose services they enlist on a regular basis. For example, if your business has been working the same freelancers for years and has yet to offer any pay increases or opportunities for advancement, it’s easy to see why they may shift their focus to other clients.
If ambitious freelancers deduce that there’s simply no hope of getting ahead with your enterprise, they’re liable to seek out clients who are more likely to provide the opportunities they seek. So, if you’re interested in keeping high-performing freelancers with your company for the long haul, consider turning your most valued contract workers into full-time team members and/or providing them with pay raises.
Refusing to Provide Fair Compensation
As previously established, businesses tend to hire freelancers as a money-saving measure. Although working with freelancers is certainly less expensive than paying the salaries of full-time employees, contract workers do not exist to be exploited.
While they may not expect to be paid as much as salaried team members, they should be fairly compensated for their services. Unfortunately, far too many businesses make a point of paying freelancers as little as possible, which is hardly conducive to high retention rates.
Reliable freelancers can be a boon to any small business. In addition to providing first-rate work at cost-effective rates, contract workers can help cash-strapped enterprises limit full-time hires. Unfortunately, a fair number of businesses have no qualms about undervaluing freelancers and regarding them as expendable. Needless to say, this can result in contract workers opting to pursue other opportunities instead of continuing to produce work for such clients.
While freelancers may not be regular team members, it’s still imperative that you treat them in a courteous, professional manner and show them appreciation for their efforts.
Interesting related article: “What is Motivation?“