Hiring a freelancer online? Here are some handy tips.

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Need a taxi? Use Uber. Need a plumber? Hire on TaskRabbit. Need to make website for your business? Consult a developer online.  If you think about it, it seems almost too good to be true to be living in an economy where we can access resources whenever we need them. We’re now shopping online not just for goods but also for services, on an almost daily basis.  On-demand platforms are making it easier for individuals and organizations to quickly get what they’re looking for at short notice. The growing gig economy is allowing workers to reach out to those who need their skills, even if they’re halfway across the world.
Typically, the freelance economy favours both the recruiter as well as the freelancer. Companies can quickly hire talent or temporarily scale up their teams, without having to bother about geographical restrictions or additional expenses. Freelancers can work remotely on rewarding, high-quality projects. It’s a win-win situation.
Most on-demand platforms offer specialized skills: Toptal provides access to great developers, 99designs provides access to freelance designers, Fiverr allows you to access low-cost resources, Upwork has a variety of experts on board. Taking it a step further, Kolabtree offers a dedicated platform for freelance scientists, who can work on projects ranging from making gluten-free bread to making AI robots.
The process flow on all these platforms is largely similar: you post your project on the platform, get bids from freelancers, choose the right freelancer for your project, release a fee to the platform, collaborate with the freelancer and finally, release of funds once the project is complete. It sounds pretty straightforward, however there are a number of challenges recruiters face while hiring on these platforms. These are typically problems with payment, security, and choosing the right freelancer.
In platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, you might have to spend time combing through a large number of applicants before you are convinced that you’ve found someone who can do the job. As a platform that hosts verified freelancers from the likes of NASA, MIT, Oxford and Cambridge, Kolabtree minimizes the chances of a client getting irrelevant bids.
Here are some tips to keep in mind to make sure you get the most out of using an on-demand platform.
1. Prioritize talent and quality
A lot of recruiters on marketplaces get swayed by low freelancer fees and make a compromise on quality. This defeats the purpose of using an on-demand platform. Organizations should tap into the ability to hire great talent from anywhere in the world, not just hire someone who can do the job at a low cost.
2. Discuss your expectations with the freelancer 
Make sure you explain clearly to the freelancer what the deliverables are, before you accept a bid. If you’re hiring a designer, make sure you clarify what formats and sizes you need your visual to be in. If you’re hiring a scientist, make sure you outline the scope of the project. Some platforms allow you to increase the scope of the project as you go along, provided both parties agree on revised fees.
3. Protect your information 
Most platforms have a confidentiality clause included by default in their agreements, however, in case there is a need for additional NDAs to be signed, make sure you get this paperwork done before you start the project. It’s always in your best interest to lay out your terms and conditions clearly on paper to avoid any conflict.
4. Don’t take the project offline 
One of the most common reasons for conflict in payments and security is taking your project offline. Though it seems like a convenient option for many, it affects both the client and freelancer adversely. You lose the protection that the platform offers. You have no guarantee that the freelancer will actually meet your needs and complete the project. Most platforms also have in-built timesheets that freelancers have to fill in within a certain time period, which allows you to track the hours you’re being billed for.

To get the most out of hiring on an ODP, list out the reasons why you’re hiring a freelancer. Do you require a uncommon, specialized skill? Do you require something done at a low cost? Do you need something done within a couple of days? These questions will help you pick the right expert for the project.

Download our free ebook to equip yourself with the best practices while hiring on on-demand platforms.

Have you hired on a freelancer platform before? Share your experience with us in the comments below or Tweet to us.

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About Author

Ramya Sriram manages digital content and communications at Kolabtree. She's had about 8 years of experience in publishing, advertising, and digital content creation. She loves all things science and tech, and moonlights as a cartoonist and travel writer.

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