Working with freelancers can be a rewarding and cost-effective endeavor for any small business. Skilled freelancers can help account for any talents that full-time team members may be lacking and help you limit the number of full-time hires you take on. However, if your business works with freelancers on a consistent basis, it’s imperative that you take measures to stay organized. A lack of organization practically guarantees that certain projects will fall by the wayside, payments won’t be administered in a timely manner and savvy freelancers will think twice before agreeing to work with you again. Get the Right People for the Job Relevant skills and experience are important when hiring any employee – and freelancers are no exception. Even though contract workers aren’t full-time team members, failing to properly vet applicants is liable to result in headaches down the line. With this in mind, make a genuine effort to hire competent, qualified applicants whenever the need for freelancers arises. Although the vetting process varies from business to business, several tenets of the selection process should be universal. For example, paying close attention to relevant work history and education credentials can help you narrow down your list of prospective hires. Additionally, if you find any aspect of an applicant’s work history unclear or suspicious, don’t be afraid to contact the references they provide. Secondly, requesting that applicants provide relevant work samples can give you a solid idea of how well they’re able to approach the types of tasks you need completed. Also, whenever possible, you should avoid hiring applicants with whom you have not directly interacted. This isn’t to say that every prospective contract worker should be required to come in for a traditional interview – especially with COVID-19 continuing to present an active threat. However, you should still converse with qualified applicants over the phone or via video chat before bringing them on board. Meticulously Outline Project Expectations A lack of clear communication can put a damper on any project. Since unclear expectations are among the leading cause of work-related miscommunications, it’s important to provide freelancers – and any other employees, for that matter – with crystal-clear instructions at each project’s outset. If the directions you provide are vague or jumbled, many freelancers are liable to fill in the blanks on their own, resulting in a finished product that’s very different from what you envisioned. To nip miscommunications in the bud, make yourself as clear as possible when outlining expectations and providing instructions. Additionally, let your freelancers know that they’re welcome to reach out to you whenever they hit a snag or require clarification. Although some business owners actively dissuade contract workers from coming to them with questions and characterize such behavior as “hand holding,” this approach is unlikely to serve anyone well. Regularly Check In While clearly outlined expectations can do you (and your employees) a world of good, it’s still possible to fall out of step with your freelancers. In the interest of remaining on the same page throughout the duration of each project, take care to regularly check in with your contract workers. This will enable you to quickly correct any miscommunications before too much time, effort or resources are wasted. Even if you’ve been working with a certain freelancer for a very long time, occasional check-ins may still be necessary to keep them on the right path. Keep Track of Deadlines Meeting deadlines is a vital part of virtually any job – and this is often doubly true for freelancers, many of whom are constantly juggling multiple deadlines. While it’s completely reasonable to expect your contract workers to stay on top of their respective deadlines, making mistakes is part of the human condition. So, if any of your freelancers are regularly tasked with working against a large number of deadlines, it stands to reason that some of these completion dates may fall through the cracks. You can help prevent this by reaching out to any freelancer who’s approaching an important deadline and getting an update on their progress. Furthermore, should you require assistance keeping track of assorted projects and/or deadlines, consider investing in cutting-edge construction project management software. Keep Track of Payments Most freelancers are unable to rely on the security of a regular paycheck. Since the income of many contract workers fluctuates from month to month, processing their payments in a timely manner is likely to earn you their appreciation. To this end, you may want to consider investing in payment management solutions. Furthermore, encourage your freelancers to submit invoices immediately after projects have been completed. Skilled freelancers can be invaluable assets to any small business. However, just because the freelancers you hire will go above and beyond the call of duty doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek to make their jobs more convenient. Being as accommodating as possible when working with freelancers can help endear contract workers to your business and increase the likelihood of them agreeing to work with you again. So, if you’re interested in retaining your current crop of freelancers, put the previously discussed pointers into practice.