6 Important Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Freelancer

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Everyone knows that hiring freelancers can be a great way to save time and money. When you hire a freelance web developer, it only takes an hour or two to get them up-to-speed on your project, and compared to the cost of hiring even an entry-level in-house employee, freelancers are cheap. However, hiring freelancers is not all sunshine and rainbows.

There are a lot of horror stories out there about companies getting ripped off by freelancers who never finish, don't meet expectations, or straight-up run off with their money after accepting the gig.

Why do companies hire freelancers?

The short answer is that companies hire freelancers to save money. More specifically, the company hires a freelancer because they can get projects done at a lower cost, and/or can get projects done more quickly.

Important Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Freelancer

If we go a little bit deeper into the reasons why companies hire freelancers, it's because freelancers are experts in their field. I'm sure you've heard all of your friends during interviews say that hiring a freelancer is just about always cheaper than hiring an employee. 

One of the biggest perks of hiring a freelancer is that they can do whatever you need to be done – for a fraction of the cost – and they're usually available during off-hours or work remotely if necessary. A second perk is that freelancers have a singular focus on their craft. They're not distracted by company politics, meetings during the day, or other responsibilities. Their sole focus is getting the project done and done well.

In some cases, companies hire freelancers to get projects started but then turn over completed projects to an in-house team of employees since they have a vested interest in the project. It's during these instances where companies might choose to hire freelancers as contractors, so they aren't responsible for any of their benefits during the project duration. 

Who hires freelancers?

Freelancing isn't just for start-ups or small businesses anymore. Companies of all sizes are hiring freelancers to accomplish different tasks.

Large businesses and corporations can use freelancers to complete short-term, large-scale projects that require skilled workers during busy times. For example, during tax season, CPAs may need help handling bookkeeping, or during the holiday season businesses may need additional customer service reps for a few months to accommodate increased call volume. Freelancers can fill this need. 

Who hires freelancers

SMBs and solopreneurs can hire freelancers to help them grow their business during busy seasons, launch a new product or service, or supplement their existing staff during vacation season. As such, if you're looking to hire a freelancer, it's important to take the time and ask yourself six important questions before you do. 

Question 1: Can I see your portfolio?

When you hire a freelancer, it is important to look at their portfolio. If you have ever been interviewed for a job or had a school project where you needed to show examples of your work, then you know how important a portfolio can be during a hiring process. 

Freelancers use portfolios just like employers do when they want to get a sense of who they are and what they can do. When hiring a freelancer, it is important to ask them during the onboarding process for their portfolio. It shows that you are interested in their work and it gives an employer or client an idea about the quality of the work they did during previous projects.

For example, if you love the design of a website and you want to hire someone else to create that type of design, then you can ask during the onboarding process for samples of that freelancer's previous work.

Question 2: What's your cancellation policy?

Asking about their cancellation policy during the hiring process is essential. Most freelancers will be honest about this part. After all, there's no point in trying to hire someone if they don't let you cancel projects and fire them if necessary (and vice versa). 

What's your cancellation policy

If a freelancer has a no-cancellation policy, that's a huge red flag. If they don't give you the option to cancel projects during the hiring process, it'll be much harder for you to cancel a project once they've started working on it. Most freelancers will allow cancellation during the first 24-48 hours after work has begun.

If a freelancer has strict cancellation policies during the hiring process, you should think twice about working with them. They're probably going to do similar things during the project as well. 

Question 3: What are your rates?

Before you hire a freelancer, it's important to inquire about their rates. Freelancers who are willing to work for dirt cheap probably won't be the best fit for your company. In fact, their lax rates might indicate they're not right for your company at all. When you ask during the hiring process, this question can help you find out whether or not a freelancer is experienced and qualified enough to do the job, and if they're in line with the budget you've set.

This will also allow you to understand how much money your company can spend during their time working for you. If a freelancer isn't interested in discussing rates during the onboarding process, that could be a red flag. If their rates are too high, you may need to adjust your budget accordingly.

During this conversation, most freelancers will also want to know about the scope of work for the project and if there's an estimated timeline for completion. This helps them with planning and gives you an idea of when to expect the work to be finished. 

Question 4: What is your preferred method of communication?

Communication is key to ensuring that you and your freelancer are on the same page. Asking about their preferred method of communication will help you quickly figure out if they'll be able to answer emails at night, or if they prefer videos over phone calls. Some freelancers may not be available via Twitter (due to their time zone), but maybe happy to communicate via Skype. 

What is your preferred method of communication

When you're looking for a freelancer, it's important that they're willing to communicate alongside you. Ask them what their preferred method of communication is so you can figure out if using their preferred method will suit your needs as well.

This is important to ask freelancers before hiring them because it will save you time and money later on if they communicate via a method that doesn't work for your company. 

Question 5: How many revisions do we get?

When hiring a freelancer, make sure to ask about the number of revisions you can get. This is important because it helps you know if the work they will be doing for you will meet your expectations or not. Also, how willing are they to go over their original draft several times but still remain patient and eager enough to do more?

You should also know about their process and how it works. Will they be in your job until you are completely satisfied with the final draft? Or will they do one draft and leave? You should define these questions before hiring a freelancer so that there won't be any confusion or misunderstandings when dealing with each other later on. 

This will save you from any negativity and frustration from both of you.

Freelancers, on the other hand, should be honest with their work because it reflects who they are as a person. They should also keep in mind that an employer might not hire them again anytime soon if they don't meet certain standards set by the client. 

Question 6: What’s your availability?

Your freelancer should be available to respond to any requests you might have. You don’t want to hire a freelancer that can only work on your project at night or on the weekends, as that will create delays and slow down progress. Your goal is to find someone who can dedicate their full attention to your project because working with multiple clients or with long breaks between assignments will slow down the process.

If you’re asking about their availability for a specific project, they should be available during the time frame you’ve given them. You need to find someone who is able to meet deadlines. If they’re unavailable when you need them, ensure you don’t fall behind schedule and look for another option that works better with your own personal time frame.

This question is important because it ensures that the freelancer will be available throughout the project and won’t have long breaks between assignments. If they’re able to do the work at night, this might cause delays in communication and progress if you need to talk with them during business hours or vice versa. 

Conclusion: important questions you should ask before hiring a freelancer

You should ask these questions before hiring a freelancer so you can determine if they are a good fit for your job. This is important because the last thing you want is to hire someone, entrust them with your work, and then realize they aren't qualified enough to do what you needed them for. 

It's also not ideal to hire someone who is willing to give only one draft and possibly leave you hanging. These are just some of the questions you should ask before hiring a freelancer.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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