When it comes to hiring staff, the costs are always going to be a factor of consideration for any business. If you compare prices on freelance staff vs employed staff, you will usually see that freelancers are almost always cheaper than employed or agency staff.
It makes sense. Cut out the middle man and go straight to the skilled individual. They probably have no overheads, they work from home and they may reside in an area that costs little to live, so they are able to charge lower prices. By employing staff, you would have to take care of all the costs, paperwork and legal/tax aspects yourself, plus the wages which are generally expected to be higher, so you can see it can cost notably more than hiring a freelancer.
So, why not hire a cheap freelancer online?
These are some of the disadvantages of hiring a cheap freelancer online for any service:
- Quality – As a rule of the thumb, if you hire low budget anything, you are likely to get lower quality results. Do you want to get the best results for your business? Of course you do, so don’t compromise quality for price, you might pay for it later.
- Time – If your budget freelancer is struggling and not making your deadlines, who is there to hold accountable for that and the knock-on effect it would have on your business? No one. Really there is nothing to stop your freelancer working as they please, or taking on other jobs either.
- Communication – Cheap freelancers may well be in a different time zone and depending on their job, they may not be the best communicators. This can be frustrating, so be clear of what you expect from them with communication before hiring.
- Skills – For certain tasks you need specific skills to get the best results. If you hire a cheap freelancer, chances are their skills will match their rates. Always see evidence of their past work, or have them complete a test (or several) to ensure they are a good match. Never go by resume alone, even if you are in a rush to hire and get the job done.
- Company Knowledge – Freelancers may not be as invested in learning about your company and its values like they would be if they were an employee, especially if they are being paid minimum, they will mainly just be looking to get it done as quickly as possible.
- Legalities – A freelancer could be working for you one month, and working for your competition a month later. Of course, they are just doing their job. So, would you need to consider extra precautions like Non-Disclosure agreements and specially drawn up contracts for your freelance staff?
It may look cheaper, but is it more worthwhile?
As they say, pay cheap, pay twice.
For instance, if you hired a cheap freelance software developer to build a mobile app or make a custom website and they didn’t do as well as expected (or worse, couldn’t deliver), you would either need to keep working with them to get it right, costing more time and money, or you would have to find and pay someone else to pick up the pieces. Either way, not good and not at all uncommon. Plus, when it comes to bug fixing and updates, what happens if it breaks because the architecture was all wrong and built in a rush? More fixing, more expense.
From a marketing, design, sales and even customer service point of view, it could let down your entire company image if the branding looked anything less than top quality, or the website/app didn’t work and perform as it should, or if your messaging was off. The big risk of hiring a cheap freelancer is that if their service is not up to scratch, it can potentially ruin your other efforts too.
There may be times when a cheap and cheerful freelancer is all you need, like for micro jobs, but for companies who want to make a serious impact with their business, it’s always worth investing in your staff. If you hire for what they can do for your company and how they will benefit, the return on your investment will be greater than if you cut corners with a budget freelancer.
In our long development practice at Scopic we often encounter clients who turn to us for custom software development after having a negative experience with cheap freelancers acquired over the internet.
So, next time you need to hire staff, consider the above before being tempted to go for a bargain.
Author Bio: Eva George, Marketing Specialist at Scopic Software.