The allure of freelance contracts is consistently appealing to businesses all over the world. After all, a professional who freelances for you can help you save costs, promise a quicker turnaround time, offer multi-talented packages and so much more. But is it really that simple and flawless? Are the advantages of hiring a freelancer worth it? More importantly, are these advantages even true?
What if we told you that it’s all a façade? What if we could prove that the appeal of a freelancer is actually like that of a gleaming porcelain cup that you might have found in an abandoned house as a child, something that you might want to treasure as a collectible? It is sparkly, vintage and special because you found it, almost like stumbling upon left behind treasure of pirates! But again, it leaks! You might want to bring it home but every time you use it, you lose half of your favorite tea. Would you still want it? A freelancer is not too different from that cup- Exotic and appealing, with promise of the unknown and adventure. But when it comes to business, do you really want to do exotic, unknown and adventurous?
The Broader Picture
If you’re wondering what the cons of hiring a freelancer are, you first need to take a second look at the pros. Because, with freelancers, every pro is a con hiding in plain sight!
- Freelancers who promise quick results: For a freelancer, you are not the only priority. There could be ten other clients and their projects that the freelancer needs to also complete within set deadlines. So, if they are promising you an unrealistic turnaround time, be wary. Chances are, the quality would be below average. Also, there is no guarantee of uniqueness and your work could be vulnerable to future copyright issues and unnecessary lawsuits.
- Freelancers with multiple skill sets: If it really sounds like an asset, you need to look at it from another perspective. As the old saying goes, a Jack of all trades often fails to master any. And do you want half-baked talent working on your important projects? Or would you rather choose a professional specializing in the kind of work you need done? You never know, the so-called multi-skilled freelancers could even be self-taught amateurs lacking adequate experience that your project demands.
- Affordable freelancers: Turning to freelancers as your cost-saving strategy is certainly not a smart move because there is always the risk of poor work quality and data theft. When you pay lower than average, you cannot expect superior professionalism anyway. Think about it. Money is a major motivation for anyone to commit to a project and if they are not able to earn a good amount, they are less likely to be 100% dedicated towards that work.
- Freelancers capable of working independently: What is the guarantee that a freelancer is able to work without supervision? Even experienced professionals need supervision and guidance from time to time. It is not wise to blindly trust a stranger to carry out experiments on your project independently. Supervision is imperative no matter how reliable a freelancer claims to be.
Does that mean only in-house employees are the solution?
Yes and no. That totally depends on how you approach the concept of an in-house employee. With the changing times, the idea of an in-house employee has undergone major transformation. A skilled professional hired by you doesn’t always have to work in your country. You can hire offshore experts for your project who, unlike freelancers, continue to thrive in a professional environment complete with the ideal resources and infrastructure. It is more like setting up your offshore office.
Hiring Freelancers vis-à-vis Hiring Offshore Employees
Remote staffing companies around the world, such as Virtual Employee, can help you connect with dedicated professionals outside your country, as per your budget and recruitment process. Your chosen professionals then work in well-equipped, supervised offices. There is no concept of working from home here. Keep reading to understand how offshore employees are a better choice than freelancers.
Unlike a regular employee, freelancers have no problem disappearing without warning. This is particularly true in case of very distant freelancers. While things may go very well for some time. Deadlines are met, even the quality is maintained. But as soon as you clear a certain payment, there is a high chance of them abandoning your project. While these professionals can be replaced, it can turn out to be a huge mess to clear up.
In the case of offshore employees, however, there are legal safeguards like time-bound employment contracts. In other words, when you hire an offshore employee, they are highly accountable to you as well as to the company that helped connect you two. Besides, there are social safeguards as well such as the company’s need to protect itself from bad reviews or a disaster that may taint their reputation.
When hiring freelancers, there is always a huge risk involved in the beginning. There is no guarantee that they will be worth the money you pay them or if they would be able to meet deadlines, keep your data safe and whether or not they have the skills that they state on their CV.
On the other hand, hiring offshore employees from a well-established organization allows you to take a look at social proofs like reviews and customer feedback. A reputed company will never risk their credibility and hence, you can be assured of getting professionals who are as good as they claim.
Ideas & Security
On one hand, there is the risk that your ideas might be stolen and used for another client and on the other hand, someone else’s idea might be stolen and implemented for your project, and you will never know on time. So, when you choose to trust a freelancer who has no accountability, you are risking a lot more than you realize.
When delegating tasks to freelancers, there are several legal issues that can come up. As hinted earlier, there is no assurance that your sensitive information will not be traded with your competitors. Besides, it is impossible to track a freelancer’s unethical behaviors and practices even if they sign an NDA with you.
Contrarily, when you hire an offshore professional with a reputed company, you get to enjoy the following:
- Access to your employee’s system and work environment any time
- The option to disable all external accessories, drives, suspicious websites and mail on your employee’s system.
- Access to a vigilant IT department, powerful anti-virus, anti-spam systems and firewalls.
- The option to view your employee’s screen while they work.
- Latest collaboration tools to communicate with your Virtual Employee as if they were present in your office.
In addition to that, certain companies make it mandatory for every employee to sign a stringent non-disclosure agreement, consisting of severe penalties for breach of client confidence.
In contrast to remote/in-house employees, freelancers tend to enjoy a lot more freedom. So, if you need them to be present for a meeting or crucial discussions, there is no guarantee that they would show up. Second, they rarely care about your company’s reputation and they will never get involved in a team life cycle. They only concentrate on the task at hand because their only motivation is personal growth. Basically, if you want complete control over your project and all related processes, an offshore employee is the only way to go about it.
Disrupted work-life balance= Dropping productivity!
Freelancers tend to face multiple distractions due to which their work-life balance is always disturbed. On any day, they might have several personal tasks but at the same time, they need to finish the work that they started for you. It is like working 24*7, without breaks. As a result, their productivity can drop over time. In addition to that, a disrupted work-life balance can take a toll on their well-being, lead to burnout and constant stress. All of this together affects the work quality.
But when you hire an offshore employee, there are no such issues. They work for a fixed number of hours every day, are granted weekly days-off and even the flexibility of leave and holidays. Hence, a better work-life balance and better productivity.
One of the major downsides of hiring freelancers is that they will never commit to your project the way a full-time employee would. Offshore professionals, on the other hand, are motivated by your growth because they are working directly for you and focusing only on your work rather than juggling multiple clients and their projects.
The biggest advantage of hiring offshore employees is that you can enjoy access to a huge talent pool at a much lower cost. You can interview them, test them and even ask for a trial period before you decide to go full-time with them. Such a flexibility is not possible with your local hiring and certainly not with freelancers.