These days, it’s safe to say the gig economy is growing at a massive rate, and with good reason.
Not only are today’s professionals realizing they no longer need to work for someone else to earn a good living (as an employee), but companies are fully aware of the benefits of working with talented freelancers.
According to research, over 50 percent of the American workforce will consist of freelance workers by 2027, so that’s a huge talent pool to take advantage of. But which is truly the right choice for your company – a team of freelancers or traditional in-house employees?
Let’s go over what you need to know when considering freelance vs in-house to make a sound, informed decision.
What to Consider When Choosing Between a Freelancer vs. In-House Employee
While there’s definitely nothing wrong with hiring full-time in-house help, it’s important for modern marketers to understand that it’s not their only option anymore.
Some of the most talented professionals out there prefer freelancing to traditional employment, and they can help your company meet its goals (at times even better than an in-house team can).
Here are a few factors to consider when choosing between freelancer vs. in-house for your future marketing team.
- Hiring costs
- Necessary skills or experience
- Project management requirements
- Scope of work needed
The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Freelancer
Whether they ultimately wind up hiring individual workers or outsourcing projects to a larger content management agency, more and more businesses are discovering the benefits of outsourcing to freelancers.
Here’s a closer look at the biggest pros and cons to consider.
PRO: Freelancers are more cost-effective
Although businesses and companies of all sizes may decide to outsource various tasks to freelancers, this is an especially popular approach for small businesses on a tight budget.
Freelance talent is plentiful and relatively inexpensive, especially compared to the costs of hiring a full-time employee. And you work with freelancers on a project-by-project basis, so you pay only for the help you need.
PRO: Freelancers are convenient ways to fill talent gaps
Sometimes a marketing project calls for special expertise or experience – something necessary and non-negotiable. But in many cases, it can be impractical to onboard a full-time employee to cover a talent gap that could just as easily be fulfilled by a freelancer.
Freelancers are diverse, varied, and collectively possess just about any ability you could possibly need, so you can cover talent gaps at a fraction of the cost and hassle.
PRO: Freelancers are passionate and specialized
Freelancers are rarely doing what they’re doing just for a paycheck. They offer the services they do because they’re great at them and have lots of experience. They’re also typically very passionate about their work and any specialties they might have.
In other words, hiring a freelancer for a project likely means having a seasoned expert on the job who feels personally invested in what they’re doing – a dream come true for any company or marketing team.
CON: There can be communication delays
Many freelancers work odd hours, as they typically arrange their work schedules around the rest of their responsibilities, not the other way around.
And even if a particular freelancer does work according to a standard business schedule, time zone differences can still mean the person isn’t available to chat in real-time right when you need them to be.
Communication gaps are common and likely. However, in most cases, they are also easily overcome during the hiring process by being upfront about any time management requirements.
The Pros and Cons of Hiring an In-House Team
If your company is like most, then the chances are pretty good that you have at least a few full-time employees on your payroll, and that’s as it should be. Some roles within a company really are best filled by traditional employees.
Here are some pros and cons to consider when figuring out whether that’s the best fit for a role you’re looking to fill within your existing team set-up.
PRO: You can interact face-to-face
There are definitely advantages to face-to-face interaction in a workplace environment. It can foster better, closer relationships and facilitate progress as a result.
This type of interaction may even be optimal for certain types of projects. It is recommended when people need to be able to interact one-on-one or otherwise work within the same physical space.
PRO: In-house employees are more familiar with your company
For jobs, especially long-term ones, hiring an in-house employee often makes the most sense. It’s usually when the person needs an intimate working understanding of how your company operates.
In-house employees are on the premises daily. They interact directly with other team members and possibly also the company’s clients.
For those reasons, there’s no need to brief the person on company policies and practices before they’re ready to get to work on a new project.
CON: In-house employees are expensive
The cost of onboarding a new employee is quite high compared to the cost of hiring a freelancer instead. There’s your employee’s salary to consider, but also vacation time, tax costs, insurance coverage, and more.
Retention of those employees is costly, as well. An employer must be prepared to invest in the person’s ongoing training, keeping them happy with their job, etc.
CON: In-house employees require commitment
Sometimes this type of commitment doesn’t make sense for a small business. When it comes to certain tasks that can easily be outsourced, often it should be the go-to choice.
Great content writers, graphic designers, editors, and SEO specialists are easy to find via top freelance marketplaces. A business owner or manager can easily hire help as needed and pay for only the work that they need.
Ultimately, the freelancer vs. in-house employee decision will shake out differently for every company, marketing team, and project. But in many cases, outsourcing tasks to freelancers make more sense in the vast majority of cases.
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