how to effectively hire a freelancer

Managing Expectations: Hiring Freelancers and Subcontractors

What to Know When Hiring a Freelancer or Subcontractor

Here’s a familiar scene for many of us: you’re sitting at your desk, staring at your overflowing inbox. The proofs, copyedits, and project briefs start swimming in front of your eyes. It’s official–you need help to get it done.

It may be time to hire a freelancer or a subcontractor. They can be the answer to your prayers: highly effective, competitively priced, and wonderfully flexible. But, that’s only if they’re good. They can also be very, very bad.

Here’s the thing: freelancers represent the work of your firm. Your name is on the line every single time you work with an outside party to help get the job done. Here at Cleveland graphic, web and logo design studio Go Media, we’re proud to partner with some amazing freelancers–they support our projects, strengthen our vision, and ensure that we continue to deliver top-notch projects on time.

But that’s because we expect them to. Your expectations are everything when making a freelance relationship work, just as they would be for any employee.

Here’s what to know when hiring a freelancer or subcontractor…

Managing Expectations:

1. Put in the time to find a kick-a@@ freelancer/subcontractor.

There are so many talented people out there. Take your time to find a good fit. Ask to see CVs, but portfolios are where you really see if prospects can talk the talk. The more you know about someone’s work, the less you’ll be surprised when the project starts.

2. You get what you pay for.

To be fair, this statement is only half true. Sometimes, the best work comes from a relatively “green” hire. Everyone has to start somewhere, but if you make it your mission to hire the cheapest quote, chances are you’ll be spending a lot of your own man hours supervising your freelancer or doing so many revisions that your head spins.

3. Communicate.

Define the scope and timeline of the project clearly. Ensure everyone is on the same page, and encourage your freelancer to ask questions throughout the project.

4. Be fair.

A good freelancer or subcontractor will be upfront about a budget, as well as what the cost will look like if allocated hours go over or if additional rounds are needed. You should be upfront too–adjust compensation and timelines accordingly if needed.

5. Remove the chip from your shoulder.

Freelancers and subcontractors can be amazing assets to your business. That said, they may not get it right the first time. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t a fit! They’re learning your style and your business while jumping headfirst into a project. Invest a little time and energy into showing them what you want, and it will pay off!

So, there you have it! Go Media treats the freelance/subcontractor hiring process just as we treat our own hires: we find smart, talented, honest, easy-to-work-with freelancers and subcontractors. We invest time in setting them up for success, and we always, always, communicate with them. If you follow our tips, chances are, you won’t have to manage expectations–their work will blow you out of the water.


Hey Freelancers, want to contribute articles to our blog or products to our Arsenal? Submit your ideas and portfolio to Heather.