Freelancers now make up 35% of the U.S. workforce, and their numbers are anticipated to rise over the next few years. And more and more companies are beginning to rely on their expertise and labor.
If you’re going to hire freelancers or contractors this year, here are four things you’ll want to know.
1. The Right Interview Questions to Ask
When interviewing freelancers, ask them about their schedule and current workload to see if they can meet your required project deadlines. Ask them about their experiences with similar projects for which you are hiring them and what their core competencies are.
And always ask them about how they have worked with clients in the past, their preferred methods of communication, and what you can expect from them as you work with them.
You’ll want to interview them to determine if they have the right skills needed for your project, if they can logically meet your deadlines, and if they will communicate effectively with you.
2. Applicable Tax and Legal Obligations
When hiring freelancers, you don’t have to worry about their payroll taxes or properly deducting Social Security and Medicare taxes from their paychecks. However, you do need to make sure you issue them 1099-MISC forms if you paid them $600 or more for services rendered for each tax year.
And you need to make sure that you don’t treat them as employees under federal law, or you could end up having to answer to the Internal Revenue Service.
3. Competitive Compensation
Freelancers get to set their own rates, so do your research before hiring them to know what you should be paying them. Freelancers should be setting their rates based on norms and expectations inside their marketplaces, their years of experience and portfolios, their references and quality of work, and more.
Overall, however, you should expect to pay freelancers with decades of experience and more reputable references more than you would pay a freelancer without much experience. And you’ll also want to keep in mind that freelancers must pay for their own office supplies, software subscriptions, health care, etc.—so, when rates are considered on an hourly basis, they might need to be paid more than an hourly employee would be paid.
4. Remote Working Conditions and Hours
Make sure you know what hours your freelancers keep and what you can expect from them. Just as you shouldn’t be expected to work weekends and holidays, neither should they. And just as you wouldn’t call a salaried employee on the weekend for project updates, you shouldn’t expect to call freelancers on weekends for those updates either.
However, each freelancer is different and has different working conditions and sets different hours, so make sure you know what working conditions and hours freelancers prefer and will agree to before you sign a contract with them.
As you hire and work with more freelancers this year, be sure to consider the information regarding working with freelancers above first.