Freelancers can be seriously great for any company. If they’re good, they’ll come in, produce awesome work, cost less than an in-house employee, and leave your company better off than it was before. But bad ones? Bad ones can drain your money and time, leaving you cursing the person who invented the idea of “work for hire.”
So how can you tell if your freelancers are the save-the-day kind instead of the sink-the-ship kind? Here are seven questions you should be asking yourself about each of your freelancers.
1. Are they delivering on time?
This is number one for a reason: If your freelancers aren’t delivering on time, they’re not doing a crucial part of their job. There are times when life gets in the way but there’s no excuse for constantly making excuses for late work.
2. Do they seem (reasonably) invested in your company?
A freelancer is never going to be as invested as a full or part-time employee — and they definitely won’t be as invested as you are in your company — but they should be at least reasonably invested in what you’re doing. Like super heroes, good freelancers like to fly solo, but they also get a lot out of helping the people around them. Think X-Men: They’re able to work with your team, but they can also kick butt independently.
3. Is the contract cost effective for your company?
Sometimes hiring a freelancer is cheaper and faster than hiring someone to do the work in-house. Sometimes it’s not. Take a good look at exactly what your freelancers are producing, how long it takes them to produce it, how much time it takes out of your schedule (or the schedule of your employees) and then compare it to what it would cost to pay someone full or part-time, in house. Is it less? Is it about the same, but takes a lot less time? Or is this contract costing more than it’s worth?
4. Do you have to nag them about deliverables?
A great freelancer will make sure their deliverables are in on time, if not earlier. And if they’re running late, they’ll let you know.
So if you’re constantly having to nag your freelancers about deliverables, it’s time to cut them loose. On the other hand, if they’re consistently delivering ahead of time, for example, consider giving them a raise! Incentives are great for freelancers too.
5. Does their work need a lot of revision?
In the beginning of a contract, it might take a freelancer a few tries to get the correct tone and format of your work. During that time period, revisions are not only okay, they’re totally necessary for the success of the project. However, if you’re finding that you’re having to request revision after revision after revision, then you probably shouldn’t renew their contract. A great freelancer’s super power is definitely the ability to quickly understand and apply a client’s style.
6. Do they need a lot of oversight?
After the initial onboarding period, a good freelancer should work more or less independently. Check-ins are important, of course, but be wary of anyone who needs constant oversight or excessive handholding. A super hero freelancer not only wants to fly independently, they prefer it.
7. Does their work actually move your company forward?
This is where you should be brutally honest with yourself. You may have hired someone with an idea about what your company needs, only to find that you don’t really need it or to find that they’re just not delivering. If the work your freelancer is producing isn’t actively moving your company forward, you need to change their assignment or let them go. Don’t waste your time — or theirs.
So which is it? Are your freelancers exactly what your company has been searching for — or is it time to cut them loose? Only you can be the judge.
Kalo is the world’s leading freelancer management platform. We empower the most creative companies, including Google, Airbnb, Popsugar, The Economist, and many others, to easily manage and scale their freelance workforce. Learn more at Kalohq.com