There ain’t no party like a freelance party, right? Today, freelancers make up 39% of the U.S. workforce, adding benefits such as niche expertise, scalable resources, and cost-effective talent to any enterprise.
To make sure you manage this golden ticket effectively, the right technology is critical. Here’s 7 elements to consider when choosing a Freelance Management System (FMS), alongside some tips from the pros so you can get it right the first time.
You can also learn more when you download our eBook, 7 Considerations for Choosing the Right Solution to Manage Your Freelance Workforce.
1. Don’t ignore compliance regulations
Tax and legal compliance doesn’t have to be a headache when you have automation on your side. Look for a FMS that automated all the collection of relevant documentation, and validates that your freelancers align with both your internal governance, and wider industry-specific regulations. Compliance is a moving target, so it doesn’t stop once a freelancer has been onboarded. Your FMS should offer continual compliance audits, for as long as the relationship continues.
Pro tip: Put your cards on the table
Before you sign on the dotted line, share Legal’s traditional onboarding process, to make sure the vendor can accommodate with ease.
2. Broaden your sourcing channels
Finding the right freelancers is half of the job done. Many FMS technologies jump in to manage existing talent, but don’t help you find, vet and onboard skilled freelancers to start with. This is the equivalent of entering the playing field at half time. Look for an FMS that offers a hiring service, either through their own marketplace, or even better, via a variety of different channels. Think personal networks, specialized forums, or online communities, as well as industry-specific freelance marketplaces and platforms.
Pro tip: The FMS should cast a wide net
The words “sourcing services” aren’t enough. Check that your vendor has a wide pool to choose from, and isn’t limited to their own marketplace.
3. Sidestep staffing agencies
Spoiler alert: those staffing agencies are slowing you down. The best freelance talent doesn’t need a middleman to help them find work, and they don’t usually engage with staffing agencies or Managed Service Providers. Instead, they are used to working with corporates and enterprises, and form direct relationships with their clients. Unlike staffing agencies, this also means you can build up long-term contacts, as they are happy to come back time and time again on separate projects when the fit feels good.
Pro tip: Ensure you’re offered between 2-6 candidates
Your talent needs to be a good cultural fit, as well as a good skills fit. Make sure your FMS offers more than one candidate to help with the search.
4. Consider integrations
Let’s face it, your technology stack is higher than the to-be-read pile on your bedside table. The right FMS will seamlessly integrate alongside the rest of your organization’s systems and processes, and play nicely with everything from project management tools, to communication apps and payment systems. Without integration capabilities, a solution that’s meant to add agility could actually slow you down and increase the number of errors you have to deal with.
Pro tip: Look for business analytics tools
When systems are integrated well, you get better visibility. For example, ask your vendor of choice if they can connect spend to purchase orders.
5. What’s the cost?
Not all freelancer management systems will take the same hit on your bottom line. Some will charge a flat fee for using the system, or per freelancer. Others will charge a percentage of what the freelancers are earning each month. There could also be markups, subscription costs, and add-ons for specific essential features that you thought were included in the label price. Work out your budget, and then have a straight as an arrow conversation with your potential vendor where you work out what value you need, and how much that will cost.
Pro tip: Try before you buy
FMS with nothing to hide should allow you to kick the tires. Ask for a free trial, and take the tech for a real spin before you make a final choice.
6. Remove any stumbling blocks to relationship building
If you click with a freelancer, and want to continue working with them on additional projects, it can be a real hurdle if you can’t work with them off the platform. That’s why the best FMS will allow you to retain foundational ownership over the relationship. After all, if there are hidden fees, buyout clauses or contracts to break when you want to work with your talent outside of the FMS, this could make it prohibitive to continue to take on subsequent projects.
Pro-tip: Think, what is the freelancer being offered?
Just because you aren’t being locked in, doesn’t mean the freelancer isn’t. Ask straight out whether freelancers are given incentives or offers that get in the way of them working with you long-term.
7. Believe the crowd
Like with any important purchase, impulse buying is not your friend. Scour industry forums for reviews and information about your shortlist of FMS vendors, and look in particular for the features and capabilities that are important to your business. Remember to separate the reviews that are about the specific freelancers found on the marketplace, and those that are about the FMS itself and how well it integrates into the enterprise, or meets the business’ needs.
Pro tip: Ask for specific recommendations
Request a reference that comes from an enterprise similar to your own. Take some time to speak to them directly and hear their genuine experience.
Fiverr Enterprise has you covered
Fiverr Enterprise is a SaaS solution that gives you full visibility and control over your entire freelance workforce by allowing you to source, hire, onboard, manage and pay, all while ensuring compliance, so your teams can work faster and maximize business growth.
Our latest eBook goes into greater detail about how to make sure you’re choosing the right Freelancer Management Solution (FMS). It includes many more top tips from the professionals to make sure you’re choosing the right technology for efficiency and agility.