With more and more companies outsourcing as many tasks as they can to freelancers or agencies, some are finding that the services of a freelancer cost more than they originally anticipated. There is a stigma associated with outsourcing that you can get cheap work from a freelancer or agency, and in many cases, you can.
But if you want quality work that is backed by experience, you need to learn to negotiate with a freelancer so that you do actually save money in the long run, but the freelancer gets their fair share, too. Here’s how to negotiate with a freelancer or outsourcing agency so that everyone wins.
Be Clear About Your Needs
Often, companies will reach out to a freelancer or outsourcing agency to complete a project, but they don’t know the full scope of the project. Freelancers are not consultants. If you are looking to rebrand your entire company, you might want to work with an image and marketing consultant, but if you are looking to develop a company-wide newsletter, you can hire a graphic designer for that.
Freelancers will often have the ability to take on more responsibility, but you need to know what your requirements are before approaching a freelancer so that they can quote you an accurate cost for the work needed.
When working with a freelancer or outsourcing agency, you want to know about the freelancer’s experience and how it applies to your project. Don’t underestimate the skills of a freelancer: they are independent workers for a reason. Freelancers are very good at making something from nothing and can deliver work quickly and efficiently if they have all of the information they need. Allow them to ask questions of your project, and take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about them as well.
Don’t Be a Cheapskate
Freelancers experience low-ball offers almost every hour of the day. If a freelancer is just starting out, they will expect to be paid a lower wage for their work, but it doesn’t take long for a good freelancer to get a few jobs under their belt and start demanding a more competitive wage. In negotiating rates with freelancers, don’t assume that every one of them will be clawing at your door to do your project.
This is a common mistake company make with students. Reaching out to a graphic design student or a programming student will not get you free work, and if it does, it will be student quality work. If you want professional work, you need to be willing to pay for professional work. Understanding how much time and effort, skill and experience, goes into a freelancer’s abilities is important when you see how much they want to charge you for a project.
Trust and Understanding
Freelancers love to work with clients who are willing to show them that they appreciate their work. Being a freelancer is about building long term relationships with clients so that they can provide valuable services when they are needed. If you think that $90 an hour is too much to pay for a programmer that you have to hire once a month for 8 hours, consider how much it would cost you to hire a programmer full time.
Once you start to breakdown the cost of hiring someone for a few hundred dollars once in awhile, versus paying a full-time employee, you can see the value more clearly. Also understand that freelancers don’t have access to employment programs, benefits, vacation, sick time, or the other niceties that come along with working for a company full time, and you can see how that $90 an hour wage diminishes quickly.
Being open and aware of what freelancers and outsourcing agencies have to pay for on their end makes it easier to work with freelancers and set the expectations for pricing from the start.
Agreeing on Price
When it comes to negotiating with Freelancers, it’s hard not to focus on the price. After all, your company is likely seeing a freelancer because you perceive it to be more affordable for you. Allow the freelancer to demonstrate what you get besides a word count, logo, or line of code. Let them tell you all the things they can do for you, and be frank about what you need. Respect the experience of the freelancer by offering them what you can afford to pay them.
Don’t try to get the best work for the cheapest price, because you don’t really want to work with someone who is willing to do work for the cheapest price anyway. Ask the freelancer or outsourcing agency about rates, and consider all that you are getting in return. The work you get back could serve you for years to come, but that freelancer is only getting money from you once for that job.
Building a good relationship with a quality freelancer could help you save money, but you can only build a good relationship with a quality freelancer if you pay them fairly, respect their skills, and understand that they are providing you with a service you or your other employees can’t do, or don’t have time to do. Don’t shut down a freelancer because they quoted you a higher-than-anticipated cost.
Always ask if there is room for negotiation, but respect the fact that there may not be. Show the freelancer how working with you can benefit them and be clear if you have opportunities for future work; that may help the freelancer agree to a lower price initially for the promise of more work in the end.