When not to hire a freelancer

When is hiring a freelancer not the right decision?

A freelance marketplace recommending not to hire a freelancer might seem a bit strange. But it's true, there are instances where hiring a freelancer through a marketplace won't make sense.


In this guide, we'll explore some things to consider when deciding if a freelancer is right for your project:

When is hiring a freelancer not the right decision?

Location specific roles

Roles requiring the person to be in a specific location can be done by freelancers, but it severely limits your choices.

For example, if you need to hire a Drupal developer, you'll be able to find one on a marketplace without breaking sweat. But if you need the person to be able to come and work from your office, you're restricting your search to those developers within about a 90 minute commute.

Location specific roles

Freelancers will commonly be working on multiple projects in parallel, as well as running their own business and all that entails. This requires a great deal of flexibility in their working lives. People also choose to freelance for the freedom to work from where is most convenient for them. As such, you may struggle to find freelancers willing to commit to a long, or daily commute.

If you need to hire for a role where location is critical, you may need to look at traditional recruitment methods. Hiring people who have in-demand skills means you'll need to create an attractive package and an appealing employer brand to get the best people. Of course, this is a challenge for even the biggest businesses so an easy option might just be to rethink the location specific nature of your hire.

Set hours roles

'Set hours roles' are typically those required during specific hours of the day. For example, during your office hours of 9am to 5pm.

People choose to freelance because of the flexibility and control it gives them over their working lives. Typically, they'll choose to work around other commitments. For example, there is a huge hidden workforce in the UK who freelance. These include professional mums and dads who work around their family commitments.

If you need very tight control over when your work is being done, you may be successful in finding a freelancer but it does limit your options.

Commission only or profit sharing roles

Commission-only, profit sharing roles or on-target earnings roles (OTE) offer a business a low-risk option for sales and lead-generation functions.

It is very possible to hire people willing to work for generous commission-only packages. However, due to the nature of the freelance marketplace, commission-only packages just don't work well.

A marketplace is where sellers and buyers come together to do business.

A freelance marketplace is exactly the same, the only difference is in the freelance marketplace, it's skills and time being traded.

This concept demands an equal value exchange between both the buyer and the seller.

For example:

Equal value

The equation doesn't balance if all of the value is placed on the side of the Seller, in this case the freelancer.

Unequal value

There are also complications for a marketplace when you consider most commission-only workers will require soft benefits like travel or phone allowances.

If you need to hire a person on a commission-only basis, you will have more success hiring direct rather than through a marketplace.

Employment Status

A very important factor to consider when hiring a freelancer is their employment status.

A freelancer is an independent contractor. They are typically either self-employed or working through their own limited company. A freelancer won't be your employee, bound by the rules of an employment contract.

Hiring a freelancer who, for all intents and purposes, performs the role of an employee could put you and the freelancer inside the IR35. IR35 is legislation designed to combat workers who fraudulently claim to be contractors for tax benefits, therefore, it's important that you are IR35 compliant.

Read our guide to IR35 for more information.


For the vast majority of projects, remote trusted freelancers are a perfect solution: they are on-demand, talented and cost-effective. Freelance marketplaces are designed for projects like:

The work can be completed remotely, the work is not required during set-hours and the balance of value on both sides of the transaction is equal and quantifiable.

Venn Diagram: When is hiring a freelancer not the right decision?

When you remove one of the three elements, you may find it difficult to attract the best freelancers.

Other Resources

Creating and using talent pools

Learn how to create and use talent pools to manage your favourite freelancers and reduce your freelancer recruitment costs.

Are your freelancers IR35 Compliant?

Use this simple IR35 Q&A to see if your freelancers are inside IR35.

Resourcing tech projects - A new approach

In this guide, we’ll look at how you can use the right mix of permanent and freelance staff to keep pace with today’s technology demands.

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