A guide to hiring freelancers

7 min
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Whether you are a running a one-man/woman business or run a business with multiple teams, you will likely at some point need to hire the services of a freelancer.

Hiring a freelancer can be a great alternative to taking on permanent employees. With there being a constant increase in self-employment and freelancers in the UK, you are bound to find a freelancer that is right for you and your job.

This guide on hiring freelancers will help you figure out if hiring a freelancer is the right option for you and how to actually go about seeking out and hiring a freelancer.

The pros of hiring a freelancer

Here are some of the main benefits of hiring a freelancer:

  • Freelancers will be experienced in their field and have a good amount of knowledge and expertise in their field
  • You as an employer are not obliged to offer holiday/sick pay. This means hiring a freelancer will be less costly than hiring an employee
  • You will only pay them for the time they work, depending on if you are paying by project or daily/hourly rates
  • You do not have to watch over a freelancer as they are independent in the work they do
  • If you are running a small business and you hire a freelancer you don’t have to have employers insurance as they are a freelancer, not an employee
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The cons of hiring a freelancer

With the positives, there will always be negatives. It’s important to consider both the pros and cons before making any business decision.

Here are the cons of hiring a freelancer:

  • They will only do the job they are hired to do. Whereas, an employee may be able to help and work on various other tasks
  • Experienced freelancers may ask for a lot more money
  • You are still responsible for their health and safety if they are working on your premises
  • A freelancer will likely be working on multiple jobs, therefore,they might not always be available
  • A freelancer will likely work on a remote basis, meaning that you have to trust them to do the work, if they are charging you per hour/day
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Freelancer marketplaces

If you are considering hiring a freelancer then you will need to source the right candidate, before you can proceed with signing a contract. There are various marketplaces which feature hundreds of freelancers. Some of the biggest freelancer marketplaces include PeoplePerHour and Upwork. These large marketplaces are a good place to start as they can give you a broad range of freelancers. They can also be great, as there are hundreds of overseas freelancers which can complete the job for much less. However, it’s important to weigh in the pro and cons of hiring a low-cost freelancer.

You can also find freelancers in our Freelance Directory, which features a number of experienced freelancers with various skills.

Your network

You may also want to reach out to people in your network to see if they can recommend any freelancers. Word of mouth is still considered one of the best ways to gain new clients for freelancers. Therefore, if a freelancer is being recommended they will likely have earned that recommendation with great work.

Social media

Being present on social media is essential for any business and this includes freelancers. Therefore, when looking for freelancers, have a look on social media, whether it's Facebook or Instagram, you might find the right talent you are looking for. You can also useLinkedIn where you will be able to view full freelancer profiles. This can be a great opportunity for you to find the right freelancer.

Qualifying right candidates

As with hiring an employee, you should have a shortlist process in order to find the right freelancer for your business. Whether you run a small business or a big one, you will need to ensure that you find a freelancer that can adequately carry out the work. Therefore, take your time in hiring the right person for the job.

Interview freelancers

Initially, it might be a good idea to have a look at multiple marketplaces to get an idea of the rates the freelancers charge. Then reach out and see what you get back. If you have a few candidates then it might be a good idea to have an interview with each of them to see if they are what you are looking for. An interview can be a great opportunity to get to know the freelancers and get an accurate image of their ability and skills.

Some of the questions you should ask the candidates are:

  • What is the time zone that you are working in? (This is incredibly important to ask overseas freelancers)
  • How long will you take to complete the project?
  • What relevant previous experience do you have?
  • What are your rates and are you going to charge per project or per hour/day?
  • When can you start working on this project?
  • What are your other commitments and what is your availability?
  • What is your preferred method of communication?
  • Do you have certain work hours and when can I contact you?
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Briefing the freelancer

When you have decided that you want to hire a freelancer to do a job for you, then you will need to put together a brief for them. A brief allows the freelancer to know your requirements and expectations and it also means everyone is on the same page. A brief can also help you with the shortlisting of clients as you can see what skills are required and what skills the candidates have. Here are some of the things that you need to cover in your freelancer brief:

  • What is the requirement of the project/what is the project?
  • The time frame that you expect everything to be completed by
  • The budget that you have set for the project
  • Provide any other details the freelancer might need to know to get the job done
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Paying the freelancers

When it comes to paying your freelancer for their work, there are various methods you can follow. For example, you might also want to split the payment over the course of time they are working on your project. The most common way for freelancers to get paid is through invoices. They will send you invoices for the work they have done and then you can pay those invoices. It’s important for all parties to agree on a timeframe of the payments. For example, you may pay the freelancer a small fee at the beginning and pay the remainder of the fee after the project is complete.

If you are using some of the bigger freelancer marketplaces, then you will pay them through these sites. It’s important that if you are hiring freelancers from these sites, that you communicate and make payments through the sites to protect yourself.

You can also transfer funds directly to your freelancer, however, this method is not recommended as it may cause complications if any part was to dispute the payments.

Getting the most out of the freelancers

It’s important that you form a good working relationship with the freelancers as this will be mutually beneficial for all parties. This also allows you to get the most out of the freelancers and this is important because you want the best possible work from the freelancer. Additionally, if you form a good relationship with the freelancer, you may be able to seek their services in the future. To make sure that you get the most of your freelancer, follow the following tips:

  • Communicate – Whether there is an issue or you have a certain requirement, communication is key. This will also help avoid any issues
  • Stick to the brief – You must expect what you have asked for. You should not demand extra work from freelancersthat is not listed in the brief or that you are not paying them for
  • Payments – Make sure you make the payments on the agreed dates/timeframe. Freelancers struggle to get paid on time and this can cause huge problems for them. So, to keep you freelancer happy make sure to pay them on time.
  • Give feedback/reviews – Like with any kind of business owner, freelancers will appreciate any feedback or review you can give them on their work.
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Legalities to be aware of

As with hiring an employee, there are certain legalities that you need to be aware of when you are hiring a freelancer. Here are some things that you need to keep in mind when hiring a freelancer so you are protected.

Confidential Information

If the freelancer is exposed to confidential information about your business, then you need to make sure that somewhere in the contract it is made clearthat this information is confidential. This will mean if they reveal this confidential information, they can be held accountable for it.

Intellectual property

When an employee works for you, their work and creation will belong to the business. However, this is different for freelancers. If you want the right of ownership of the intellectual property then this needs to be agreed on and also be in the contract.

Health and Safety

Most freelancers will work on a remote basis which means that you will not be responsible for their health and safety. However, if they are working on your premises, this means that you will be responsible if they are harmed due to failure to have a safe working environment. If a freelancer is working on your premises then make sure that you are covered.


A contract is the most important document when it comes to working relationships. The contract should include all the details of the working relationship between you and the freelancer, including the status of confidential information and intellectual property. It’s also incredibly important that you make sure to have a written contract, although a verbal contract can be easy, it’s harder to use as evidence if there is an issue or dispute.

More on how to hire a freelancer and finding freelancers.

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