Hiring a contractor can be a cost-effective way of accessing a particular type of expertise on a flexible basis. You won’t need to worry about having another employee on your books, and contractors often work alone and from home, so don’t charge the same level of fees as agencies.
So, how do you go about finding a reputable contractor to ensure you get the results you need? Take a look at sites such as LinkedIn so that you can clearly see a contractor’s background and perhaps even feedback and reviews. A reputable contractor will be happy to provide you with examples of their work and may even be able to provide references.
Once you’re satisfied that they’re the person for the job, be sure to get something in writing setting out what they will do for you. More established contractors may have standard terms for you to review and sign. If you’re planning to use contractors frequently in your business, it may be worth investing in having a good set of terms and conditions drawn up that you can use time and time again, with a little tweaking.
At the outset, reflect on what you want the contractor to achieve and ensure that this is clearly set out in an agreed project brief. If the project is time sensitive, ensure you agree deadlines.
A key issue to think about in any business arrangement is the price. Contractors may charge an hourly fee or work on a fixed price basis – ensure that you’re clear on rates and how the contractor charges. If you’re working on a fixed price basis, clarify whether revisions are included in the fee and whether there is a limit on the number of revisions that can be made.
Another important issue is intellectual property (IP). You might assume that any IP created by the contractor on your behalf automatically belongs to you, but this isn’t always the case, so it’s important to ensure that the written terms you put in place with the contractor clearly state that any IP created will belong to you. For more information regarding IP and how to protect it, check out our blog here.
Finally, depending on the nature of the work being done, if there’s any aspect of risk involved for you – for example, if you will be relying on their advice, ensure that the terms state that they will be liable for any claims or losses that you suffer and a result of any issues caused by their work, and check that they have appropriate insurance in place to cover any potential claim made by you.
If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article, click here.