Small business

The 4 Big Things You Need to Know Before Working with Contractors

meeting with contractor

Whether you’re working in a physical space or online, the boom of contract work is a win-win for employers and contractors alike. It’s no secret why hiring contractors has become so popular, especially when you consider the benefits such as…

  • Being able to bring on and release talent on as as-needed basis, allowing yourself more flexibility when working on projects
  • Ensuring that everyone on your team is as productive as possible and there’s no waste when it comes to talent
  • You aren’t tied to ask much red tape when it comes to hiring and firing; meanwhile, the expectation that contract work is temporary means that there’s less of a chance for hard feelings when a project suddenly ends

That being said, hiring and working with contractors isn’t always a walk in the park. There are some key elements of hiring contractors that often go swept under the rug which can cause problems for unsuspecting business owners.

So, if you’re looking to bring on some contractors for your team or next project, what should you keep in mind before getting started?

Don’t Ignore Insurance

While it’s true that contractors often represent less of a legal liability versus traditional employees, the fact remains that contractor insurance in a solid investment to avoid “what-if” scenarios. Such insurance is crucial for those working in physical spaces where injuries such as slip-and-falls can occur (think: construction sites).

The purpose of protecting yourself from a legal perspective isn’t to assume the worst of your contractors, but rather make sure that you don’t put your business in a perilous position if something goes wrong.

Make Sure Your Expectations are Crystal Clear

Speaking of legalese, it might be a good idea to speak to a lawyer to ensure that your actual contracts hold up in court and don’t leave you open to any loopholes. For example, before your contractors sign on the dotted line you may want to work out issues concerning confidentiality and intellectual property. Likewise, the scope of your contractor’s roles should be well-defined, as should the length of any given project.

Maintaining a positive workplace is important for those hiring contractors, especially if they expect them to perform to your satisfaction. Just because contractors aren’t designated employees doesn’t mean that you reserve the right to treat them poorly or keep them in the dark.

On a similar note, you need to set expectations in terms of your contractors’ working conditions and what you represent as a boss. For example, don’t try to sway someone with a price point that you can’t pay or promise a year-long contract that’s really only going to last a few months. As always, it pays to treat your workers with respect regardless of their status with your business.

Check Their Track Record

Given the transparency of the modern web, it’s easier than ever to figure out whether or not your ideal worker has the qualifications and experience you require. Whether working with digital contractors via Upwork or a home contractor via Angie’s List, ratings and reviews are crucial to determine who’s worth your time and who isn’t. When it doubt, strive to find personal referrals for contractors to provide you with peace of mind rather than work with someone that doesn’t have a track record.

Don’t Freak Out if You Don’t Find the Right Fit

Simply put, oftentimes hiring contractors is a game of trial and error. You might find someone who works out well and meets your expectations from the word “go,” but rarely are businesses so lucky.

Don’t panic if you don’t find your ideal candidates right away; however, bear in mind that there are things you can so as an employer to increase your likelihood of success. For example, it’s your responsibility to craft specific job descriptions that attract the right talent versus someone who simply wants a paycheck. Likewise, asking specific questions during your interviews can help you sniff out who might not be a good fit.

With these tips in mind, you can reap the benefits of contract workers without jumping through too many hoops. Hiring contractors is a fantastic way to scale your business minus the strings attached to traditional employees.

One Comment

  1. Levi Armstrong

    I like your tip about talking to a lawyer about the legalities of the contract with a contractor to assure that you get all the necessary details and expectations ironed out. My dad is planning to build a residential building on his vacant lot downtown. He is looking for a reputable commercial construction contractor, so I better tell him to set clear guidelines and a tight contract with the help of a lawyer. Thanks for this!

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