EDITORIAL – Dealing with the ebb and flow of workloads can be challenging for small businesses. How do you address those extra busy times without adding regular employees? And what happens when things slow down again?
Subcontractors can often help provide a great solution. Below are some benefits of using subcontractors and considerations for bringing subcontractors on board.
The Benefits of Using Subcontractors:
1. Cost‐Effective Help
Without creating a lot of additional overhead, you can bring subcontractors (or independent contractors, freelancers, etc.) on board to handle extra work.
Hiring a new employee can cost you 25 percent more than if you bring a subcontractor on board for the same purposes. Why? Because for an employee, you’d likely pay Social Security and Medicare tax, worker’s compensation insurance, liability insurance, employee benefits, training, and so on.
2. Specialized Assistance
Subcontractors can bring with them a unique skillset that can enhance your business’s work. From design efforts to technical writing tasks and beyond, you can keep clients happy by meeting their needs with specialists you might not have in‐house already.
This also keeps your existing team members focused on their areas of expertise, so their primary work doesn’t suffer if there’s an assignment that doesn’t play to their strengths.
3. Busy‐Season Boost
Is there a particular time of year that sees a surge in business?
Subcontractors can provide the extra manpower when you need it temporarily. Whether it’s around the holidays in the winter months or tourist season during the summer, subcontractors can be the answer to meeting those seasonal needs without bringing folks on board for the long haul.
So, what’s next if you decide this could be a good path to take for your business?
When Working With Subcontractors. . .
Find the Right Fit
Use your existing networks – word‐of‐mouth, social media, etc. – for trusted recommendations and referrals. Check out portfolios or samples to get an idea of a person’s work.
Create an Agreement
Formalize the basic terms and conditions of this new working relationship. Include a description of the professional services delivered, quality expectations, termination conditions, invoicing terms, tax reporting requirements, non‐compete language and an intellectual property agreement.
Consider a Non‐Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
This legal document establishes the confidentiality of shared knowledge or materials. It can restrict subcontractors from speaking about or divulging private company information to outsiders.
Follow Hiring, Tax Reporting and Labor Requirements
The law is strict when it comes to how businesses classify subcontractors/freelancers versus employees – and violations can be costly.
(Courtesy US Small Business Administration)