As a small business when is the appropriate time to look for freelancers? The first thing is to decide is whether permanent staff would be more appropriate than a freelancer. This will depend on the nature of the job. For example a freelancer is ideal where the job in question doesn’t require too much supervision.

Projects that require continued monitoring, assessment and interaction with other members of staff are better handled by a staff in the office who can continuously communicate with the others in the office who are involved in the project. A freelancer is better suited to work independently.

Other considerations

Nature of the job

There are different types of freelancers. There are the so called ‘knowledge’ freelancers who mainly offer services related to writing, programming, design and such other fields. Then there are those who need to come to your office and offer part-time freelance office assistance services. Still, another group offers hand-man services. Decide on the type of work you need done and then contact the right freelancer for it.

Have structures in place

Look for freelancer services when you have put operation structures in place. This means that there is an existing mechanism of working with the freelancer.  Although the freelancer is an independent worker, he still needs to work within certain regulations that conform to your businesses’ policies. Without such structures in place, then your business may not be ready for using freelancer services.

Differentiate between freelance worker and employee

Put in place ways of differentiating who is a contract worker and who is an employee. Although you may be quite clear on who is who, depending on how you interact with a freelancer, labor laws and tax authorities may mistake them for employees. According to IRS (U.S), you can only control the outcome, results, of a service offered by a freelance worker but not the process of achieving those results. If you control the process, then labor laws suggest that that worker is not a contract (freelancer) but an employee.

For this reason, only consider freelancers’ services when you know you will not grossly interfere with the processes the freelancer will use to achieve the results you want.

When you are ready to treat them well

Does it mean that some businesses treat freelancers badly? May be it is more about attitude. Without any long-term commitment, there is a tendency to take freelancers for granted. Consider their services when you know that you will treat them as important as any other member of your permanent staff. Pay them well and maintain open communication with them. This inclusive spirit will result in whole-hearted service and superior results for your business.

Having such an attitude will make many freelancers want to work with you. Those already in your fold will do their best to continue being part of your contract workforce.

Is your business cyclical in nature?

In a cyclical business, there are profound up and downs over the year. During the ‘high season’ it may be more reasonable to hire freelancers. Having permanent staff means paying them during the low season when they are doing little or nothing. Freelancers at such times will save you money.

Going through these considerations carefully will help you decide when to start looking for freelancers for your business.