4 Things to Do Before You Hire a Freelancer

You don't want to get burned

On one hand, hiring a freelancer can be an inexpensive way to get work done quickly as well as a much-needed stress relief. But on the other hand, freelance staffing can be a headache especially when it comes to finding reliable people or managing remote workers.

design (Image: iStock/JGalione)

 

Here are four things to do before you hire a freelancer:

Determine IRS reporting obligations

 

Does your business have withholding and reporting obligations to the IRS? According to the IRS, if a business hires an independent contractor based in the United States, it is required to report payment over $600 yearly using Form 1099-MISC.

 

Request a portfolio of work, testimonials, or recommendations from former clients

 

Even if a freelancer comes highly recommended from a friend, you should conduct your own review of their past work and check for recommendations. For instance, if you’re hiring a web designer, review at least 3 LIVE websites, search Google or another forum for customers reviews or ask for another recommendation as it relates to their quality of work and timeliness.

 

Be clear on your goals and set expectations up front

 

To avoid miscommunication with freelancers, conduct a kick off meeting to set expectations. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • What’s your preferred means of communications for status updates—face to face, email, video conference or phone meetings?
  • Do you prefer weekly or bi-weekly updates?
  • What’s the project timeline?
  • What’s the format for the final deliverable?
  • Is the project an hourly or fixed rate project?
  • How many revisions are allowed?
  • What is the number of hours designated for the work?
  • What’s the invoicing process?

Create a legally binding contract

 

To avoid work disputes, create a contract and make it official by having each party sign and date the document. Contracts may include project specifications including the scope of work, compensation, a description of services and grounds for either party to terminate the contract, such as missed deadlines and payments.