As an independent contractor, growing your business is exactly what you’ve always hoped to do.
Yet, at a certain point, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of leads, clients, and projects you’re juggling at once.
Don’t scale your business back!
Instead, hire subcontractors to take some of the load off your shoulders.
Your business is your pride and joy. So, you want to make sure to hire qualified individuals that’ll help your business thrive and grow even more.
How do you do that?
We’re going to show you! In this guide, we’ll walk through the steps of how to subcontract work to scale your business faster.
Here’s what we’re going to touch on:
1. When to Hire Subcontractors
2. Finding the Right Subcontractors to Work With
3. Developing a Contract
4. Maintaining a Professional Relationship With Your Subcontractors
5. Expanding Your Business Slowly
When to Hire Subcontractors
Not all freelance businesses need to subcontract work.
That’s especially the case if you’ve just established your business and are still gaining momentum. It wouldn’t make sense to hire four subcontractors if you’re barely making enough to break even.
So, you have to evaluate your business where it stands right now and where you envision it going.
Looking at the Big Picture
To the outside world, your business may look simple. All your clients know is that they hire you, you do the work, and then they get a product or service in return.
But, there’s a lot of behind the scenes in any business.
It’s important to look past your main job and take inventory of the other tasks on your to-do list. Perhaps there are things that other people could be doing for you.
You might want to hire an SEO expert or even a blogger to create content and drive traffic toward your website.
You could hire a marketing or advertising expert to optimize your social media accounts and run them on your behalf.
You may want to hire a project manager to file your paperwork, correspond with customers, and even do menial tasks like buying supplies.
You may want to hire an assistant who understands your particular field. If you’re a freelance photographer, for example, you might want someone to set up your equipment before shoots so it’s ready when you get there.
Considering Time Wasted
Think about how much time you spend daily or weekly on the tasks above.
Are you spending three hours a week answering emails?
Does it take five hours a week to sort through paperwork?
Do you spend two hours a day responding to social media comments?
These minor tasks, although necessary, distract you from your real work. By subcontracting these jobs out, you can free up your schedule and spend more time on paid gigs.
Think about the tasks that eat up a lot of your time right now and consider hiring a subcontractor to do them for you.
Check out The Best Time Organization Hacks for Freelancers
Where to Find Subcontractors (And How to Hire the Right Ones)
Once you’ve decided it’s time to hire a subcontractor, you can start looking for employees to bring on board.
Tip: This is not the time to desperately cut costs. As much as you want to save money, hiring the wrong subcontractor can absolutely destroy your business.
The Best Places to Hire Subcontractors
You need to have a pretty good idea of what you’re hiring for before you place an ad.
Take some time to write a job description and clearly lay out what you expect your new employee to do. This includes the job responsibilities and the number of hours they must work per week.
When it comes to finding freelancers, there are plenty of places to look.
Online freelance platforms like Upwork are great for streamlining the application process. You can easily post listings, accept applications, and correspond with applicants through the site. This makes it really easy to weed out the bad candidates.
Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook have job listing sections, too. Just be aware that a lot of people using these resources might be looking for full-time jobs with benefits.
Choosing the Best Candidates
Receiving 100 applications doesn’t mean much if they’re all from inexperienced people. You don’t just need a person to fill the position; you need someone who can do good work and help you scale your business.
That’s why it’s crucial to interview before hiring. You can do this via phone, Zoom, or even direct messaging on your platform of choice.
Just be sure to cover all your bases and ask the important questions. You should ask about their work history, skills, desired salary, and how many hours they can commit per week.
Also, you might consider asking for references. By talking to their past employers, you’ll be able to verify that they have a good work ethic and that they actually know how to do the things they say they can do.
Remember, hiring a lousy subcontractor isn’t just a “live and learn” moment. A poorly skilled employee can cost your company money or, even worse, your reputation.
Trust your gut. If you feel they aren’t a good fit, don’t hire them!
Related: Lead Generation for Freelancers: How to Get More Clients
Developing a Contract
It’s easy to hire a freelancer to take on some of your workload. Just be sure that you’re not choosing the easiest way out.
In other words, don’t hire your roommate and pay them under the table just because it will save you time.
In order to guarantee high-quality work, you have to formalize the relationship with a contract agreement.
What’s in a Subcontractor Agreement?
A contract is much more than just a legal document that covers your business if something goes wrong.
It’s more about being on the same page as your workers.
Your subcontractor agreement should include things like:
- Deliverables: The tasks or projects your employee is expected to perform
- Pay rate: The amount of money the employee receives for each task, project, or hour worked
- Hours: The amount of time the employee is expected to work (if they’re paid hourly)
In addition to those points, you should also include a non-disclosure agreement, which states that your employee can’t share information about your business or your clients’ businesses. This is crucial if your work needs to stay private for any reason.
You may want to include a force majeure clause, too, which describes what happens if you or your freelancer cannot meet the agreed expectations. For more info on this topic, read our article on force majeure clauses.
Should You Consult With a Lawyer Before Hiring Subcontractors?
The last thing you want to do is end up in a court dispute with your former subcontractor, right? This eats up even more of your time and money.
The best way to avoid this is by getting some legal insight.
You might want to consult a contract attorney to guarantee that there aren’t any loopholes in the contract you’ve developed. The contract should be able to stand on its own in the court of law.
But, you’ll also want to add a lengthy “Terms and Conditions” section.
This will overview all of the rights and responsibilities that both you and the employee have. It can protect you from lawsuits related to issues like wrongful termination.
Do Freelancers Need Liability Insurance?
Depending on the type of work you do, you might want to think about getting liability insurance for your freelancer.
Think about why:
The freelancers who work for you represent your business.
So, if your freelancer accidentally injures a person while on the job or damages someone else’s property, both of you might be on the hook to pay for it.
A general liability insurance policy can help save your bank account when an accident happens.
Consider making this a requirement for employment.
Related: How to Inform Your Clients of a Price Increase
Maintaining a Professional Relationship With Your Subcontractors
In all honesty, hiring subcontractors is the easy part. Keeping the relationship running smoothly and efficiently is a whole different story.
And the last thing you want to do is lose a worker due to a poor relationship.
How to Communicate With Your Subcontractors
Your subcontractor depends on you to help them pay their bills. At the same time, your freelance employees might be working with several other clients. So, finding a new job to replace yours is not that difficult.
That’s why it’s important to maintain your subcontractor relationships, especially if they do quality work. If you can keep your employees happy, they’re less likely to look for work elsewhere.
This means that your freelancers should feel comfortable providing feedback. Just as you give them feedback on their work, they should be able to contribute thoughts and suggestions when they have them.
You should also communicate as often as possible.
If your virtual assistant lives across the country, you probably won’t call them every single day. But, you should make yourself available to communicate when necessary. Your subcontractors shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to speak with you!
Easing Your Subcontractor Into the Job
Hiring a professional to take over some of your work is relieving and exciting.
Yet, piling a ton of work on them during their first week is the easiest way to overwhelm them. And the last thing you want to do is force them to quit due to a heavy workload.
First, think about how complex your business is on its own.
Now, think about how long it took you to learn the ins and outs of your company.
There’s definitely a learning curve that you should be a bit lenient with. Don’t expect your new employees to learn everything overnight.
Work on easing them into your company smoothly.
That might mean giving them 10 hours of work during the first week and bumping it up to more over time.
Or, you might even have them “shadow” you for a few weeks before having them work on their own. That way, they’re able to get the hang of their job before they have to do it themselves.
Use a CRM to Manage Your Relationships
As important as communication is in running a business, contacting your employees can be a little tricky.
It’s hard to bounce between emails, phone calls, text messages, and back again.
You want everything organized in one neat place.
That’s why a CRM like Bloom is exactly what your business needs to thrive as you continue to expand.
Bloom is a CRM that helps you to keep track of your client data. It’s useful for client interfacing, as well as tracking sales and invoices.
This app allows all of your employees to have access to the information they need to do their jobs. And, your subcontractors can communicate with clients directly through the app, so they don’t have to bounce between emails, SMS, etc.
If you’re hiring a subcontractor to handle your finances, Bloom will be especially helpful. They can use the app to record and keep records of your spending and invoices.
Everybody can be in the loop without any extra work from you.
Plus, it’s affordable and very easy to use!
Expanding Your Business Slowly
If it were easy to scale a business, every company in the world would have 500 employees.
Hiring too many workers at once can force your company to go under. After all, if you hire 10 people when you only have enough work for 5, you’re going to run out of money fast.
That’s why it’s essential to scale your business slowly. Be patient and let things expand in a natural way.
Tracking Your Progress
For every subcontractor you hire, that’s less money that goes into your company bank account.
So, you need to keep a close eye on the financial data of your business.
That means considering how much you’re making from clients, then subtracting your bills and what you’re paying your current workers.
If you’re cutting it close, don’t hire a subcontractor just yet.
But, if you’ve built a steady stream of revenue as a one-person operation and you’re sure that hiring someone else will help you grow, it could be time to start looking for freelancers.
Related: How to Track Business Expenses [Step-by-Step Guide]
There’s no doubt that subcontracting work is a fantastic way to scale your business.
Yet, there’s a lot that goes into this whole process.
You need to make sure your company is ready for this investment and that you’re hiring the right people. It’s a good idea to create a legally binding contract and maintain your relationships with your new employees.
Most importantly, keep your eye on the prize and work on expanding your business as you see fit.
Keep your new team organized! Try Bloom for 14 days free to see how.