How to pick the best freelancer for your project


Guide to picking the best freelancer for your project

Knowing who to hire can be difficult especially if you have several top quality freelancers to choose from.

It may be tempting to go for the one with the lowest fee or fewest hours. But there are a number of factors to consider when choosing the freelancer you wish to work with on your project.

In this guide

Factors to consider when hiring the right freelancer

The Process: How to hire the right freelancer

how to pick the best freelancer

Factors to consider when hiring the right freelancer

Cost

Although it shouldn't be your only decision-making consideration, cost is a real factor in hiring the right freelancer.

There are a number of old sayings that ring true regarding evaluating cost, but the one probably most applicable to hiring a freelancer is, "If you think it costs a lot to hire an expert, wait until you see how much it costs to hire an amateur".

So, as a business looking to hire an expert there are two considerations when assessing cost:

Freelance Project Costing Matrix

Here is a matrix to help you decide what you are prepared to pay for a particular type of project.

picking the best freelancer - decision matrix

Business critical projects

These are tasks that you do not want to penny-pinch on. They will typically be tasks that impact either your customers, your staff or your P&L.

For example, if you're an ecommerce business moving from Shopify to Magento, you want to ensure you get the very best freelancer on this project.

Regular projects with a similar output

Here are tasks that take a degree of expertise but have a similar output each month. For example, VAT returns or book-keeping. The freelancer needs to know what they are doing, but the work is ongoing so you should consider this in what you are prepared to invest.

Low risk repetitive projects

These projects are things that need doing consistently but don't require anything too complex. An example could be regular admin that involved backing up photos by uploading them to dropbox.

Avoid these projects

Any project that's high-cost and requires little or no expertise should be scrapped. There's bound to be 101 other projects that are more deserving of your time and effort.


Industry Experience

An important factor to consider when looking at freelancers is whether they have experience in your industry.

Being able to understand the nuances of how an industry works, the people in it, the language that's used and the challenges it faces is really good experience to have.

All other things being equal, it would be sensible to choose a freelancer with experience in yours (or a similar) industry over one that has not.


Skills and Tools

First, let's quickly differentiate between skills and tools. Here's an example:

A freelancer having a tool does not necessarily mean they have the skill you require. Or vice versa.


Follow-on Projects

Outsourcing one project, more often than not, leads to outsourcing subsequent projects. This is because completing one project usually creates requirements or ideas that follow-on.

When you've found a freelancer you like, being able to call on them for future projects is a real bonus. (Tip: Read How to rehire a freelancer and Creating and using talent pools

So, when you are considering which freelancer you will award your project to, ask yourself, "if this project grows are they going to be able to help with the other bits too?"

picking the best freelancer - project follow-on

For example, if you need a logo, it's likely you'll need a website and in turn content backups. And in time, you're going to need to think about a regular email newsletter.

It could be beneficial to work with a freelancer who is able to help with all of those requirements.


The Process: How to hire the right freelancer

Here is a 4 step plan to help you make that decision.

1) Review

There may be a clear front runner in the applications but if you are not sure who to choose, the first thing to do is to look through all the applications and review the profiles of the freelancers that you think have the right experience and fit your style of working best.

review freelancers

2) Shortlist

Once you have had a look at all the applications it's time to make a shortlist. Eliminate those applications which you know are not right for you by clicking the black X in the top right hand corner of their application. This way you will be left with just the best applications to make a final decision from. It's best to try to get it down to just two or three applicants otherwise this process can take too long and you may lose workers who are in demand.

shortlist freelancers

3) Discuss

Now you have got your shortlist it's time to start a conversation with the applicants to find out more about their skills, background and how they envisage carrying out the project. This will help you to make a final decision. To start a conversation, click on the Discuss button on the left hand side of the application. Clicking this will open up a messaging system to get in touch with the worker directly. If you decide it would be good to chat on the phone then you can arrange this with the worker via this messaging system.

discuss projects with freelancers

3) Hire

Now you have got your shortlist it's time to start a conversation with the applicants to find out more about their skills, background and how they envisage carrying out the project. This will help you to make a final decision. To start a conversation, click on the Discuss button on the left hand side of the application. Clicking this will open up a messaging system to get in touch with the worker directly. If you decide it would be good to chat on the phone then you can arrange this with the worker via this messaging system.

hire the best freelancers

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