Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How to Manage your Independent Contractors

Every day more workers are joining the ranks of the independent contractor. As someone who is considering tapping into this potential workforce you want to make sure that freelancer is going to get the job done right. Here’s what you need to do to make sure you’re getting the work you’ve contracted for.

1.      Make the Interview Call

A lot of freelance work can be conducted exclusively via the internet. This means you can search, hire and accept work all through email. However, to make sure the independent contractor you’re considering is reliable, reach out for a quick telephone interview. You can put forth your expectations and find out more about the candidate over the phone then you could with an email exchange.

2.      Write an Employee Contract

If you expect nothing then you’ll never get disappointed. However, if you want a freelancer to achieve certain goals then put them in a contract. There should be no question as to your expectations of their performance, their compensation and what measures it would take to terminate the contract. Start out by being on the same page.

3.      Set Specific Deadlines

Every project should have a delivery date. Your freelancer should be well aware of those dates and be able to deliver on time. What they don’t need to know is if the deadlines you’re providing are the actual deadlines. There is nothing wrong with a little padding on your side! That way you can make any corrections or fill in the gaps if that contractor doesn’t deliver. And all the deadlines should be in writing.

4.      Don’t Micromanage

With every new type of employee there will be a learning curve. You’ll want to make sure they understand the assignment and that they are delivering on time and on budget. In the beginning of a new working relationship, you might feel the need to check in on the progress. Nothing wrong with that. But once that contractor has proven they can deliver, let them do the work. No need to keep poking them for progress.

5.      Make Yourself Available For Clarification

It goes without saying that your employee can ask you for clarification about an aspect of a project. The key is to make sure you’re responding to their query in a timely manner. You don’t want them to stop the work while waiting a day for your answer. This could prove to be a challenge if you’re managing someone in a different time zone. Keep checking your email when you’ve got a deadline approaching.

6.      Reserve the Right to Terminate

If you reach the point that a freelancer isn’t living up to their end of the contract, then you’re well within your rights to terminate the agreement and move on. There are too many talented folks out there who can deliver exactly what you’re looking for without the hassle.