|As a small business every pound has to be accounted for and it can be a difficult balancing act juggling the need for a particular skill or service without incurring the cost of hiring an extra staff member. A great way around the problem is to hire a freelancer or contractor to tackle specialist areas such as bookkeeping, marketing, IT, HR and office admin.If your small business is growing and in need of some extra hands on deck, taking on a freelancer can prove a cost effective way to ensure high quality staff without the overheads involved in direct employment. Freelancers are often highly qualified individuals who prefer the flexibility that such employment offers them – working either for several clients at the same time, on a part time basis or combining different skills to earn their living from different income sources.To ensure you hire the cream of the freelancing crop it is worth considering the following pointers:
When you’ve approached everyone in your immediate networks you could try the Web for recruitment. You could turn to websites that specialise in matching employers to freelancers such as peopleperhour.com or freelancer.co.uk where freelancers bid for your project. It is also worth trying the professional or trade association that represents the skill you are looking for.
If you are looking for more high level strategic help take a look at The Alternative Board which brings together business owners and executives of non-competing businesses to share their business expertise and problem solve each others’ challenges at monthly board meetings.
Once you find candidates that fit the bill in terms of qualifications and experience, remember to conduct interviews and conduct background checks just as you would for a full-time employee.
Another legal area that should be covered before moving forward involves drafting a contract – one that clearly defines the scope of work, the agreed rate of pay, who owns the work upon project completion, confidentiality and terms for ending the contract. Make it easy and include page marker flags where they need to sign. Make sure you take the appropriate legal advice and consult your accountant if appropriate.
Posted by Robin McCrink.