In’s and Out’s of Booking Freelancers
Digital Talk this month talks with Louise Lawton, Auckland and Alaina Virag, Sydney – about the in’s and out’s of booking freelancers.
Freelance is a growing trend across all areas – what particular growth areas have you seen?
L. I work between New Zealand and Australia and freelance is certainly a growth area. Across design, development, client service and also from the client side. More agencies are comfortable hiring freelancers for project by project basis, a couple of hours, a day, a week and some have been ongoing for 2 + years. We have also noticed a growing trend for the request of remote freelancers.
A. Working across the creative space I have mostly seen an increasing request from clients for designers that are competent across digital. Knowing how to design for digital and understanding the parameters around designing for web and mobile are very valuable skills in the industry at the moment, and I have seen steady growth in this area over the past 2-3 years.
What does it take to be a great freelancer?
L. Attitude is number one – a can do attitude and a natural ability to want to help – is the best type personality for this type job. Skillset of course if equally as important. We vet our freelancers on the skillset thoroughly to ensure they meet the criteria for each assignment.
A. It takes an open mind, a bright and friendly personality and a solid and strong skillset. The ability to jump straight into an assignment regardless of what stage it is at. The best freelancers are really adaptable, strong overall skillset and happy to cover a variety of assignments. The less fussy you are about the type of work you are willing to do, the busier you will be.
Hiring freelancers is a quick and convenient option for clients – how do you make the process easy?
L. We listen first off. What do our clients actually need, are there any special requirements / skill set for the assignment? Our policy is to never say never – we will find you the perfect freelancer.
A. We pride ourselves on having a very easy process for clients who wish to engage freelancers. It’s not rare for clients to request a freelancer for the next day at 5pm or 6pm the day before. We’re available after hours for requests like this and do our best to get the most suitable candidates across.
A few things that make our process easy for clients include;
Providing an all inclusive rate – the rate quoted for each candidate is inclusive of all our fee’s. We pay the candidate directly and invoice you on a weekly basis. The client then knows to budget accordingly, and there are no hidden surprises.
We can provide the one perfect candidate, or a selection of candidates for our clients to choose from for each booking – depending on their preference and then giving them the opportunity to decide who would be most suited.
Any recommendations you would give to clients when requesting freelancers?
L. Have a check list of the skills / tools you would like them to be highly proficient in. Do they need to take a laptop with them, how long do you require them for? Usually after a quick conversation with us, we will know your requirements and find the right solution for you.
A. I find it really helpful if a client is able to tell me as much as they know about the project and the candidate that they are ideally looking for. The more information I have, the easier it is for me to know which of our candidates would be the best fit.
We understand the fast paced and often last minute nature of freelance so having little notice is generally not a problem for us to find the right candidate for our clients, but generally speaking, the more notice we do have – the more options we will be able to present to the client. We have bookings for 2 – 4 months in advance, so it’s never too soon to lock in a freelancer.
What would you suggest to candidates who would like to become full time freelancer?
L. When I get asked this question from freelancers – I ask them how they feel in regards to stability. Freelance is great, and offers a lot of freedom and a wonderful range of assignments, projects, studios and people to meet. However if you can’t cope with it being Thursday or Friday morning and not yet sure of what you will be doing the following week – then it might not be right for you. Freelance can be a bit of fly by the seat of your pants – however if you are good, you will be kept busy – that includes your attitude to work – ie being a designer and happy to take on artworking assignments etc – being flexible and adaptable = busy.
A. I give the following advice to any candidates considering taking on full-time freelancing;
Diversify your portfolio as much as you can. It’s more likely you will get booked for a job if the client can see that you have done something very similar to what they are looking for. They more variety you have – the more roles we will be able to run past and put you forward for.
Be flexible with location, availability and working hours.
Be mentally and financially prepared to potentially go a few weeks a time without work. The freelance market has periods of peaks and troughs – are you going to be able to support yourself if you find yourself out of work for a few weeks?
Treat every freelance job the same as your first day in a new full-time role. Make a good first impression – it’s very very often that clients ask for candidates back or ask to extend them – especially if they’re adding value to their team.
Can you cancel freelancers before or during an assignment booking?
L. Yes. We are super flexible. We understand that these things happen. We don’t restrict our clients or freelancers. It’s all part of freelance.
A. Yes – there is generally no issue if you need to cancel a freelancer before an assignment commences or even during the booking. We know that things can change and so do our freelancers. Just let us know as soon as you can and we will cancel or amend the booking.
What determines the freelancer rate?
L. What the assignment requires vs the freelancers skillset. You do generally get what you pay for in this industry. Majority of our freelance is based on an hourly rate or day rate. Some clients (especially on the development side) request a project rate. Talk to us at any time, we can recommend the best options and rates for you.
We do have freelancers with the mix of skills ie a graphic designer who can artwork – their rate will be determined by what skillset you require – their design rate is higher than the artworking rate.
A. Freelancers rates are generally determined by their experience level, their skill set and the type of work they are doing. For example you could expect a lower rate for a designer that is purely rolling out opposed to a designer that is working on a more conceptual project.
How do you work out fees – rates, hourly, day, week?
L. Our freelancers rates are based on their skills and quality of work. When we meet with freelancers we discuss rates, sometimes they aim themselves too high and we let them know the market rates and what will keep them busy in work, and more in-line with our clients’ budgets and expectations.
A. A freelancers rate is based the experience level and skill set that is required. We always speak to our freelancers about what rate they are looking for and we guide them on what is generally the norm in the industry. Rates can sometimes also be determined by how long a booking is and how in demand the skillset required is. For example we often offer a reduced rate for a client looking to book a freelancer for 3months as opposed to a booking the would span only 3 days.
Who are your freelancer?
L. Such a wide variety. We have full time professional freelancers and candidates who are in between jobs and freelance while they find their right role. We cover a wide range of skillsets, art working, graphic design, digital design and development, producers, account managers, marketing, social media. It’s great working with freelancers, we build up such a great relationship with them, built on honesty and trust.
A. Our freelancers range from juniors to seniors, come from agencies and client side, are local and international and from all walks of life. We have freelancers across all creative and account service roles as well as production and management.
Can we be assured confidentiality from the freelancers?
L. This is something that we talk over with freelancers. All freelancers have our terms and conditions prior to starting freelance with us. I would always recommend to clients that you have them sign your own NDA or confidentiality agreement when they arrive onsite. Some of our clients ask us to do this for them, with pre supplied NDA’s when we book the freelancer in.
A. Yes, absolutely. All our freelancers our subject to Term & Conditions which outline that they must always be in agreeance with all client’s confidentiality agreements. We stress the importance of this to all candidates and encourage our clients to have NDA’s signed by each freelancer as they commence each assignment. This is something we can provide assistance with if needed.
We tell our freelancers when we meet with them, they must have approval from clients before taking ownership of artwork and adding it to their portfolio / book of work.
When it goes wrong – what is the process?
L. This happens. Not often, but it happens. Call us, talk to us, we can sort it out. We want both the client and freelancer to always feel like they are achieving and if this isn’t the case, we can work through it with you.
A. If something is not going to plan with one of our freelancers – let us know as soon as possible. We will always do our best to work out what has happened and provide a solution that is fair to both parties. The sooner we are made aware of any issues, the sooner we are able to provide advice and assistance.
What are the benefits of using freelancers?
L. The main benefit is that you can manage cost as and when required. Using a recruitment agency to source freelancers can actually cost less than hiring the freelancer directly.
We will tailor the skillset to suit your requirements – you may need a senior designer across brand and digital, with front end skills, or an account manager with social media skills.
A. I think there are many benefits to clients engaging freelancers, a few worth mentioning are; Flexibility – if you need an extra set of hands in the studio for a day or a week, bringing in a freelancer is a good option. If you find that the work suddenly drops off or projects have been put on hold – you can cancel or rearrange for the freelancers to come in at a different time.
Bringing in a new perspective or a “fresh set of eyes” for a particular project; are you looking for an illustrator to add something different to one of your projects or do you need a motion designer but don’t have one in your team already? Bring in a freelancer for a couple of days or a week to help out.
If any of my clients are also in the position to allow a person to come on board as a freelancer before they decide to offer full-time employment – this is something I highly recommend and encourage to all clients and candidates that are in a position to do this. It gives a really good opportunity for the client and the candidate to work together, get a feel for the culture fit and really decide if it going to be right for both parties.
If you would like like to book a freelancer, discuss any areas of freelance, or register with The Digital Store – Please don’t hesitate to contact us on (09) 365 1044.
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