As organizations face uncertain economic stability and diminishing budgets, leaders must get creative with how to spend their dollars wisely. Taking care of everything in-house may feel like a safer spend, but using freelancers and contract workers is the smarter spend.
Long-term budget benefits of working with freelancers
Cost Savings. Full-time employees are fully immersed in your company culture, which is why you need full-timers to be the foundation and champions of your organization. But FTEs are also fully immersed in your budget, requiring dollars beyond salaries, such as health benefits, PTO, employment insurance, and overhead costs. Add it all up, and a full-time employee typically costs businesses 1.25 to 1.4 times their base salary.
The cost savings add up quickly when you use freelancers to fill some of the roles you may have traditionally designated as full-time. At Uncompany, we work with clients who have single projects to complete, but we find the clients who build a freelance bench truly reap the financial advantages of working with independents.
We’ve built one of our agency clients a 12-person freelance team through our OnDeck service. They saved over 75% in 2022 on staffing costs by pulling in freelancers from their bench when needs arose rather than having an entire team of salaried employees.
Optimized Utilization. In an 8-hour full-time workday, employees typically work 3 hours, meaning they are being paid for 5 hours during which they aren’t actively focused on work. Independents, on the other hand, work at 100% utilization. They are hired to complete a specific task or work toward a measurable objective, and are paid accordingly.
Proactive Planning. Incorporating freelancers into your long-term staffing plan creates a hybrid team – what we call adaptive staffing – that can quickly and easily pivot when necessary. Thinking through your organization’s needs and skills for the year ahead allows you to prepare for slow and busy seasons. You won’t have people sitting idly by and you won’t lose time (and money) scrambling to find someone last minute.
How to plan for freelancers
Including freelancers in your big picture plan requires you to think strategically and scope out your needs for the year. The responses to the following questions will help you see where adopting a flexible staffing model can support your organization’s goals.
- List the types of projects you do over and over with repeatable deliverables.
- Which positions are more tasked-based versus management-oriented?
- Do you have a process in place to manage freelancers? Onboarding? Offboarding?
- How does your current team feel about working with freelancers? Happy? Threatened?
- Look at your yearly scope of work. Are there ebbs and flows? What are your busiest times of the year?
- What are the positions and skills you need every day, 40+ hours per week?
- What are the positions and skills you need less than full-time or seasonally?
- Over the past year, which skills have you used the most?
- Which skills will you need on a project-basis versus full time?
- Which skills would you want to add in the next 12 months? 18 months?
To further assist you, we created an Adaptive Staffing Calculator to let the numbers show you which roles would best be filled by full-time employees and which would best be outsourced.
Time to bring freelancers aboard
You know the benefits, you’ve identified the skills and roles you want to fill, now all you have to do is bring some freelancers aboard. You could do this on your own by sourcing and vetting the talent, onboarding them, and operationalizing your adaptive staff.
Or we can take care of that for you.
Our OnDeck service helps you grow and scale with freelancers while we manage all the back office tasks. We build your team from our talented freelance pool, train and onboard them, give you access to our custom OnDeck software, ensure compliance and timely payment, and provide a dedicated Client Success Manager.
Read our guide to learn more about the benefits of an adaptive staffing model run through our OnDeck service.
By partnering with us, you won’t only spend smarter, you’ll work smarter too.