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Freelance vs Hire

Are five brains better than one?

Whether it is for a new project or to replace an exiting employee, every time you need to recruit you can spend weeks or months managing the recruitment process. Regardless if the person is a new marketing officer or communications manager, digital or online guru, PR or media lead, creative brand specialist or design artist, the time and resource expenditure can be prohibitive, especially for a small-medium business. Recruitment agencies cost money and the time associated with the recruitment of a strategic internal role can be excessive. To recruit, train and resource an individual can take up to six months.

It’s not just the placement. Time and expense include provision of workplace tools, phones or cars, tablets or laptops, uniforms, super, PAYG. Hiring a mid-range employee can set you back more than $100,000, just to get them in the door, invest in training and get them job ready for your organisation.

In a market where more and more people are working as freelance consultants or as part of small, disruptive and collaborative agency types, we see the opportunities for business to get out of the traditional hiring mode. Consider bringing on a consultant or freelancer – this has a myriad of benefits.

Firstly, you are not paying tax and super, a big saving of around $30,000 pa on a $100,000 salary. That means you can engage the right people or flexible talent for around $60,000 – $70,000 and you don’t have to consider going through a termination process if it doesn’t work. Contractors and collaborative workforces are easier to hire and easier to move on if the business circumstances change, project deliverables and timelines blow out or are no longer viable. Or if the individual can’t deliver results, it allows you to change.

You can control the spend with a flexible workforce. Rather than going through a timely and costly process of recruiting an employee, you have the chance to have agencies or individuals pitch for your work. Creating a tender opportunity to find the right people allows you to control and manage your needs and expectations.

To break it down to simple economics, you can have a contractor, freelancer or small agile agency for the cost of one employee! Small agencies have a variety of specialists (think communications, marketing, strategy, brand, design or administration) and for a reasonable retainer, you get the added value of three, six or even ten brains for the cost of hiring one employee. Agency teams work collaboratively on projects and give you more ideas.

Mid-range monthly retainers sit between $5,000 – $8,000 a month, depending on the needs and workload, and the consultant you recruit. Over 12 months, this costs up to around $95,000 and you get several experienced heads on the project, rather than one. All for about the same cost as a single employee. Imagine having five times the thinking power on an idea or an activity hitting the ground running on day one.

Smaller agencies and flexible talent are also generally more skilled, especially in the areas of social and digital, communications, media engagement, PR, marketing, branding and creative, just to name a few. You ultimately get better experienced people driving your output.

They also have networks who can assist them in getting work done. If there is a project that requires a specific area of experience or skill they don’t possess, chances are they have a subcontractor who can assist in getting the task completed. They generally work with their own equipment and software, meaning you spend less getting them job ready. They come fully loaded and ready to go.

Finally, you don’t have to find them a desk. Usually, consultants and agency teams work from a home office where they are used to managing their time and output to be the most efficient. Meetings and WIP appointments can be managed electronically, whether using Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts or other similar tools. Work can be tracked using a variety of online tools, so you know the job is getting done. Get them in a day a week, or a few days a month. Bring them in to meetings with online tools via the web – it’s that simple and saves you considerable time and money.

Instead of spending your valuable time, energy and money recruiting someone who may still not be the right fit, think about hiring an agency or consultant. It will save you money in the long run.

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