Hiring 101: When to take on extra workers
By Pauline Muindi
| Jan 19th 2022 | 5 min read
In many cases, entrepreneurship starts as a solo venture or a partnership.
But as your company continues to grow, keeping up with customer needs will become too much to handle without hiring additional help. When your business gets to this level, it’s a good indicator that you’re doing things right.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don’t recognise when the moment to hire help comes. Instead, they struggle to juggle everything by themselves, which can lead to burnout, delays and dissatisfied clients.
If you feel overwhelmed with the everyday tasks in your business or a particular project, it is time to bring in help. However, before you put up the “hiring now” ad, you need to decide exactly what you’re looking for. Do you need a freelancer, a short-term contractor or a full-time employee?
Know the difference
The main difference between freelancers, contractors and employees is their relationship to their employer. Basically, freelancers and contractors are self-employed individuals whom you pay to deliver a service. When you engage their services, you’re their client. On the other hand, employees are hired by the company.
Independent contractors and freelancers work on a schedule determined by their client’s needs and a payment schedule. However, employees’ work schedules are determined by the company as they receive regular paychecks. Employees are also entitled to benefits such as insurance and leave days.
Business owners are responsible to report taxes on their employees. Since contractors and freelancers are self-employed, they’re responsible for reporting their own taxes.
Although some people use the terms “freelancer” and “contractor” interchangeably, there’s a distinction between the two. Contractors work on larger, longer-term projects, whereas freelancers focus on smaller, shorter-term jobs.
When to hire a freelancer
Freelancers can come in handy when you’re overwhelmed by short-term projects. As self-employed professionals, you don’t have to onboard them as official employees – all you have to do is agree on the scope of work and the terms of payment.
Unlike full-time employees, freelancers are expected to contribute immediately. That said, it’s important to have a meeting, whether in person or via video, to make sure that you’re on the same page.
You should consider hiring a freelancer if you have some of the following needs:
· The nature of the task can be done remotely with ease. This will save you from having to provide office space and amenities.
· Your current staff lacks the expertise required for a specific short-term task. For example, you can hire a freelancer to create your company website or to write a few blog posts.
· You have short-term needs for additional help. A freelancer is used to working on quick projects and moving on to other projects. They don’t expect you to provide continuous work.
· It’s the only financially viable option. Hiring employees means offering perks that come with employment such as health insurance, off-days, equipment and so on. If your business can’t handle the expenses, hiring freelancers might be a great option.
You can find freelancers through job boards and online marketplaces such as Upwork and Fiverr. However, the best way to quickly find someone you can trust is by asking for referrals from your business contacts, other employees and freelancers you’ve hired before.
Before engaging the freelancer, define the scope of work and the rates you’re able to pay for the tasks. Look up local rates for tasks. Freelancers charge widely varying rates, so you have to get someone who’s comfortable with what you’re able to pay.
The professional you hire should have a solid portfolio that proves their claims. In today’s remote-working and virtual office spaces, ensure that freelancers you hire are also familiar with your chosen content management systems to streamline workflow.
When to hire a contractor
Contractors and freelancers have a lot in common, but they serve very different purposes and work differently. Contractors take on more heavy lifting than freelancers.
For instance, if your company needs advertising services beyond the upkeep of social media accounts, hiring a marketing contractor to perform the work is your best bet. Often, contractors come with a team of experts who can help with the projects.
Usually, contractors handle specialised projects such as IT, remodels, design and consulting. As your business expands, you might hire financial consultants to help you with bookkeeping, filing of taxes and keeping you on track with your financial goals.
Some of the benefits of hiring a contractor include:
· A good contractor implements your vision and manages the project on your behalf. This relieves you of some of your responsibilities.
· If you require highly specialised work that requires a team, paying a consulting company to complete it for you can ensure that the job is done expertly.
· If the project you need to be done isn’t ongoing, there’s no need to hire an employee. Hire a contractor for the projected duration of the task.
Just like when hiring freelancers, check contractors’ portfolios and discuss the scope of work and rates before hiring.
When to hire a full-time worker
Not every business requires many employees to run smoothly. For example, if you are a personal trainer, a photographer or a nutritionist, your clients expect to deal directly with you. You may only have to hire an assistant to help with booking and social media management.
However, if your business sells services and products to a much wider audience, you may need to hire more employees.
If you are constantly stretched thin, hiring a full-time employee can help boost your business. With the extra support, you will be able to free yourself up to focus on the main entrepreneurial roles instead of being bogged down by mundane operational tasks.
Go over your business finances to determine how much you’re able to pay employees.
Since employees are long term, it’s important to hire the right people. Have extensive interviews to ensure that they have the right skills, experience and fit into your company culture.
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