As the workforce becomes more contingent, HR managers are looking to freelance workers as a way to expand their business and move critical projects forward. The freelance economy is booming, and for good reason – freelancers offer a lot of advantages to businesses. They are skilled in specific areas, they can be brought on board quickly, and they can be let go just as easily. But before you sign a freelance contract and legally hire a freelancer, there are some things you need to consider. In this article, we will discuss seven questions you should ask before signing any agreement with a freelance worker.
All of this information is meant as general guidance and not legal advice.
What are your rates and payment schedule?
One of the first questions you should ask a freelancer you are considering hiring is about their rates and how they prefer to be paid. This will help you determine if the freelancer is within your budget and if their payment schedule works with your company’s cash flow. Often it’s important to be upfront about your budget from the start so there are no surprises later on.
When considering rates that work for your budget, it’s also important to ask a freelancer about their experience, especially if they will be working on a critical project for your company. You want to make sure that the person you are hiring is qualified and has the necessary skills to complete the project successfully. Ask for examples of previous work or for references from past projects so you can discover if their rate is commensurate with their experience. Here are some of our favorite platforms for finding top freelancers and independent contractors.
What is your availability and project timeline?
The next question you should ask a freelancer is about their availability and the timeline for the project. This will help you understand if the freelancer is able to commit to the project and if they can complete it within the timeframe that you need. It’s important that the project scope has been discussed with the freelancer to ensure their level of certainty around their availability and timeline.
If the freelancer is not available or cannot complete the project within the desired timeline, it may be best to move on to someone who can. However, for the right freelancer with the exact expertise you’re looking for, it may be worth seeing if there are adjustments that can be made to the project timeline that allow them to be part of the project.
Think of it this way: you and your freelancer are a team. Like in a relationship, there may need to be compromise and there definitely need to be boundaries in place that define what works for both parties.
What are your communication preferences?
Another important question to ask a freelancer is about their communication preferences. This will help you understand how the freelancer likes to communicate and if they are available during the hours that you need them. That being said, in order for someone to legally be considered an independent contractor or freelancer, you cannot be in control of when or how they fulfill their end of the deal. You can learn more about who legally qualifies as a freelancer here.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of each other’s communication preferences so that there are no misunderstandings during the project. Clear lines of communication are fundamental to successful relationships with freelancers, as well as employees. Because of the numerous freelancers already utilizing platforms like Slack that your business may already have integrated, it’s safe to assume that many of them will use these.
How will deliverables be tracked and released?
The next question to ask a freelancer is about how they will track their deliverables and how they will be released to you. This includes discussing how many revisions will be made and how a final product or completion point is determined. This process should be agreed upon before any work begins so that there are no surprises later on.
There are many ways to track deliverables, but it’s important to find a system that works for both you and the freelancer. The freelancer may already have a process in place for things like handling revisions or updating you about progress. If they don’t, there are plenty of tools available to help with this. Once again, clear communication is key to making sure that both you and the freelancer are on the same page about deliverables.
Who owns the deliverables?
Another important question to ask a freelancer is about their expectations around copyright and ownership. This will help you understand if the freelancer expects to retain any rights to the deliverables or aspects of the projects.
According to HubSpot, “As a freelancer, you own the copyright to most of your work unless you’ve signed a contract specifically stating that you’re transferring ownership to the client. The default copyright owner of any work you produce is you.”
If you want to make sure that you have the legal rights to the work they produce, make sure this is signed in an agreement before any work begins on the project.
Do you have valid liability insurance in case of damages or third-party claims against me or my company?
Another thing to inquire about when hiring a freelancer is their insurance coverage. This will help you understand if the freelancer has valid insurance in case of damages or third-party claims against you or your company. Professional or general liability insurance is something that most freelancers should have, but it’s always good to double-check.
You should also check to see if the freelancer has any other insurance that may be relevant to the project, such as workers’ compensation or health insurance. Asking a freelancer about their insurance coverage is a good way to get an understanding of their level of professionalism and commitment to their work.
What is your process for ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations?
A final question to ask a freelancer is about their process for ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. This will help you understand if the freelancer is familiar with the laws and regulations that apply to your project such as anti-spam and data privacy laws.
When you ask this question, it’s important that you have your own answer to it, too. When you hire with GreenLight, you can mitigate misclassification compliance risks. We’re classification experts who rigorously update and maintain our systems in compliance with the most recent laws, mandates, and court rulings. Our AI determines the correct worker classification and your workers either become employees of GreenLight or we hire them as an approved contractor. Either way, you get any worker you want from almost anywhere in the world without having to worry about government agencies. Book a demo today.