The future of work is here. And it comes with a nice RoI for your company – if you know how to navigate it.
More and more people earn their income in non-traditional arrangements, from part-time employment to full-on freelancing. A recent study by Upwork and Freelancers Union showed that more than 1 in 3 Americans worked as freelancers in 2018 – an increase of 3.7 million since 2014.
The pivot to freelancing is part of a bigger upheaval. The way we think about work and employment is drastically changing in our globalized and digitalized world. This comes with opportunities and risks for both individuals and companies.
We at CodeControl are convinced that the advantages of freelance work greatly outweigh the downsides, for both parties. In the following we outline 7 reasons why you your company benefits from working with freelancers.
1) Freelancers have a high Return-on-Investment (RoI)
Freelancers deliver a lot of bang for the buck. It is that basic and the overarching reason why hiring freelancers is a sound strategy for your business. Of course this proposition hinges on a couple of factors that we will lay out in the following.
Not every freelancer is a gem, of course, neither is every full employee. However, if you know how to recruit good freelancers you will gain a great RoI.
2) Lower costs: You pay for actual work
Compared to a full employee, a freelancer saves you money on overhead, office space, equipment, training, health insurance and other benefits. You can extend this list to coffee, free beverages and other amenities.
Now we haven’t even talked about wasted work hours. A 2016 study by Vouchercloud revealed that the average office worker in the U.K. is productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes out of a whole workday. The rest of the time they spend checking social media and news websites, discussing non-work related topics with colleagues and taking coffee and cigarette breaks.
A freelancer might do some of the same during a workday – but he won’t get paid for it. Unless you pay him an hourly rate but even then he has greater incentive to finish his work fast than a full employee who is paid to sit in an office for 8 hours.
3) Freelancers deliver great results – and fast
Think of a freelancer as a restaurant. A restaurant that serves good food with good service within a reasonable amount of time will thrive. A restaurant that doesn’t probably goes out of business within months.
Freelancers live off of their reputation. They have great motivation to do an excellent job and deliver results fast. Not because they’re superhuman but because that’s how they earn their bread and butter. (Though we can assume that highly self-motivated individuals are more likely to become freelancers in the first place.
4) You have access to high-level expertise
No matter how smart you hire, it is almost impossible to have all kinds of expertise you’ll need in different projects within your staff.
You might have someone who took two classes in Mandarin during his studies. Will he be able to conduct appropriate business correspondence with a Beijing client? Probably not. You need a professional translator.
Many freelancers are highly specialized in their fields. They have worked for various clients and collected wide knowledge in different projects. You might not need their expertise on a daily basis but in a specific project it can be an absolute asset to work with one of the best in their fields.
5) Plug-and-play: freelancers come in ready
The training of full-time employees should be a cornerstone of every HR-development-strategy. It can also be a sinkhole for money.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. workers between 25 and 34 stay in one job for a median tenure of 3.2 years. Changing jobs often is part of the strategy for ambitious professionals. Companies get the short end of the stick: They invest in the training of employees only to lose them once they’re actually good.
That won’t happen with freelancers. You hire a freelancer who already has all the skills needed to fulfill a certain role in your project. Once the project is done, you don’t pay him anymore. In case you work with him in several successful projects over time, there still might be the option to hire him full-time – as a proven asset, not a development project.
6) Efficient hiring from a vast talent pool
Hiring freelancers is to hiring full employees what fishing in the ocean is to fishing in a lake – you can make a great catch in both cases but it is way more likely in the former. Put another way: You hire freelancers from a bigger, more diverse talent pool than you hire fixed employees.
More than that, you will find the help you need way faster. Hiring for a permanent position can take months, with according recruitment costs. Hiring a freelancer can be done in days or weeks (see also our guide to hiring top-notch developers).
In general, freelancers are more available and availability is the best ability – especially when you need support for an urgent matter.
7) You stay flexible and light on your feet
In many businesses workload fluctuates. In high times your staff is straining to stay on top of everything, in low times you pay them to sit around.
Working with freelancers gives you a higher flexibility and margin for error. If you recruit a freelancer who does not live up to expectations, you stop working with him immediately. If business is going surprisingly strong and you need extra capacities, you stock up on freelancers for as long as you need extra support.
Where do I find freelancers?
Taken together, these points explain why the RoI of freelancers can be significantly higher than that of full employees. That is true even for freelancers who charge high rates if you take into account all costs.
At CodeControl we see the benefits of hiring freelancers every day. In our own business and for our clients. With our database of the best freelance developers and designers out there we recruit tailor-made talent for your specific needs.