Remote Freelancers and Contractors: Leveraging Remote Talent on a Project Basis
Hiring RemoteWorking Remotely
Explore the benefits of adding independent remote workers to your team, then use our 5-step strategy to find the top talent you need ASAP.
Does your remote company collaborate with remote freelancers?
Contract, freelance, and gig workers now make up 46.5% of the global workforce — a stat expected to rise and potentially define the future of work [*].
According to one report, the top reasons companies leverage independent workers include [*]:
- Greater access to specialized skills (57%)
- Ensuring consistent work quality (56%)
- Better management of turnover and time-to-hire (53%)
- Lower labor costs (53%)
If your team hasn’t harnessed the power of remote contractors, we bet you’ll change your game plan after reading this guide.
We’re exploring the benefits of using remote freelancers on a per-project basis and sharing a step-by-step strategy to ensure total success.
Let’s dive in with a quick rundown of:
6 Benefits Of Using Remote Workers On a Per-Project Basis
Freelance or contract remote talent includes independent workers who temporarily provide organizations with their skills and expertise. They’re not company employees; they’re hired on-demand to work on a specific project or time-based contract.
The benefits of hiring remote workers on a per-project basis or limited contract include:
1. Flexibility, Agility, and Scalability 📊
Remote freelancers and contractors give your organization the freedom to develop and scale your team up or down. You can access specialized skills and expertise precisely when you need them — without the long-term commitment of hiring full-time employees.
For example, being able to quickly adjust your workforce comes in handy for times when:
- Your current employees are on paternity/maternity leave, vacation, medical leave, etc., and you still need to churn out work.
- You sign a new client and need extra hands on deck, but can’t hire full-time employees fast enough.
- You have a major deliverable in the pipeline and don’t want to burn out your existing employees with overtime.
- You’re still working on budget approvals or new remote hiring strategies.
An expert contractor can step in as-needed, get the job done to your specifications, then sign off until you request their services again. You’re not obliged to retain independent workers after they finish their scope of work.
2. Low-Risk Cost-Effectiveness 💲
Working with remote contractors for specific projects can be super cost-effective and low-risk compared to onboarding full-time remote employees.
Depending on the laws in your region, organizations usually save on expenses like PTO, employee benefits, taxes, onboarding, and other overhead costs.
Freelancers typically work on an agreed-upon project fee or hourly rate, which can be more budget-friendly for short-term projects. It’s much easier for organizations to budget for this one-time expense than all the other costs associated with hiring a new employee.
3. Bypass Talent Shortages for Specialized Skills 😎
Staggering global labor shortages are forcing many organizations to compete for in-demand candidates with specialized skills or expertise in niche areas.
But you don’t have to budget for top-tier salaries to lure this talent to your organization.
You can attract specialized remote freelancers with interesting, well-paying projects and a testimonial for their portfolio or website.
You’ll get to leverage their expertise for your project requirements, and they’ll get to attract more clients for their freelance biz with your glowing recommendation.
It’s a win-win for everyone.
4. Quick Onboarding and Rapid Deployment 💫
Remote freelancers are accustomed to working independently and are often experienced in joining projects quickly and seamlessly. They already have the necessary skills, expertise, and tools to perform to your highest standards.
This makes your virtual onboarding process much faster than hiring and training full-time remote employees.
5. High Productivity & Performance ⚡
Managing a high-performing remote team is no easy task.
Working with professional remote freelancers or contractors? An effortless endeavor.
These self-employed professionals are often highly motivated, disciplined, and self-directed. They typically have their own work routines, tools, and processes for maximum productivity.
Your team leaders and managers can focus more on your clients and the project rather than day-to-day management tasks.
6. More Innovation, Diversity, & Fresh Perspectives 🌟
The ever-growing global remote freelancer market is a wide talent pool of professionals with a vast range of expertise.
Bringing in remote contractors from different backgrounds and locations can infuse your projects with fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. Their diverse experiences and varied approaches to problem-solving will spark creativity and drive innovation within your team.
Hiring for diversity of thought is especially valuable for companies looking to disrupt established norms or break into new markets.
Plus, if you hire remote workers in different time zones than your full-time team, you’ll double productive work hours to meet deliverables ASAP.
How To Hire & Work With Freelance Remote Talent On a Per-Project Basis
Learning how to hire remote workers on a contract or per-project basis differs slightly from hiring full-time remote employees. Set yourself up for success by following these tips:
1. Clearly Define the Project Scope & Goals with Your Team
Before embarking on your quest for remote freelancers, take the time to clearly define the project scope and goals with everyone who will be involved.
A well-defined project scope helps attract the right talent and ensures smooth, productive collaboration with your existing crew.
Here’s a checklist of items to outline in your scope of work:
- Goals, objectives, and desired outcomes
- Specific tasks that need to be accomplished
- Milestones, timelines for check-ins, and deadlines
- Feasible expectations
- Payment terms
Be as realistic and specific as possible here. Thinking ahead will prevent misunderstandings and scope creep later on.
2. Craft a Compelling Project Description
Just like writing a remote job listing that sells, crafting a compelling project description plays a vital role in attracting the best remote talent for your project.
Your description should highlight the unique aspects of your project and showcase the exciting opportunities partnering with your team offers. It can help freelancers understand what you’re looking for, whether they’re qualified, and what they can expect from working together.
Make sure to use a keyword-specific title that freelancers will be searching for. Think: “experienced web designer,” not “UI/UX superhero.”
Your project description should then explain:
- What you’d like a contractor to do or produce
- How their work will contribute to your organization
- Preferred skills and experience
- Tools, software, etc., they should be familiar with using
- Who can bid on the project (i.e., anyone, only US residents, etc.)
- Target deadline
- Payment terms (price, payment method, when payment will be distributed, etc.)
- What makes your company stand out
- Any other relevant details that you’d like potential candidates to know
Here’s an example of a fantastic project description for contract web designers:
Got a knack for web design wizardry? We’re seeking a brilliant freelance remote web designer to collaborate with us on a makeover. You’ll have the opportunity to transform our online presence, create a visually stunning and user-friendly website for our 1M monthly visitors, and make our competitors green with envy. We value creativity, attention to detail, a keen understanding of our brand, and experience with UI/UX, HTML, and web design tools.
We hope to launch our new website by [month/year]. Payment will be submitted upon completion via PayPal or Venmo. Anyone can apply by submitting a cover letter and portfolio of their digital masterpieces. We look forward to checking out your pixel perfection!
3. Choose the Right Platform To Find Top Remote Talent
With the remote gig life so hot right now, dozens of freelancer marketplaces, job boards, and specialized platforms exist to help teams discover the perfect fit for their projects. But you have to know where to go to find the best talent.
Sites like Upwork and Fiverr are popular watering holes for less experienced professionals. These freelancers attract clients with super low rates, but the quality of work you’ll receive may leave much to be desired.
That’s why choosing a reliable platform with a steady following of talented remote professionals is best.
We Work Remotely is the largest remote work community in the world. Our remote job board receives over 4.5M visitors. And you can post both full-time and contract remote jobs in a jiffy — especially if you take advantage of our free Remote Job Posting Template.
The hardest part won’t be writing your contract remote job listing but deciding which stellar candidate to choose.
4. Evaluate Each Candidate’s Skills and Experience
Once the applications start rolling in, round up your team to carefully evaluate the skills and experience of potential candidates. Review their portfolios, work samples, and client testimonials/feedback to gain insights into their capabilities and track record.
Don’t hesitate to research further, conduct remote interviews, or request additional information to ensure the best possible fit for your project. You want to be 100% confident they have the necessary skills and experience.
5. Foster Trust, Collaboration, & Communication
Trust is one of the biggest challenges of using remote workers on a freelance basis.
In the US, the IRS states that the payer or employer cannot control the work and services performed by independent contractors [*]. Once you outline the project scope and expectations, you must trust your chosen collaborator to deliver to the best of their abilities.
To build trust, collaboration, and communication between your team and your freelance remote workers, it helps to:
- Set async communication expectations. Freelancers are not your employees and shouldn’t be expected at daily stand-ups, weekly meetings, etc., unless they choose to be. That said, it’s still important to check in regularly to involve them in key updates. Define your communication expectations upfront, including preferred communication channels, response times, and availability.
- Invite them to your team’s project manager. Here they’ll be able to submit updates, track milestones and deliverables, improve collaboration, and ask your team questions with complete visibility.
- Provide feedback. Recognition of their efforts goes a long way in building strong relationships and receiving the outcomes you desire.
Take these steps, and your remote contractors will have the autonomy they need to perform their best and feel like valued contributors to your success. Then everyone will look forward to working together again in the future.
Let’s Find Your Next Remote Contractor! 🙋
As we dished today, remote freelancers and independent contractors offer a ton of advantages for your business. But to leverage them for ultimate gains, you must consider your team’s specific project needs, budget, and long-term goals.
Finding the right balance between remote freelancers/contractors and hiring full-time remote employees will empower your organization to optimize its workforce and thrive.
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