Top tips when you hire a fellow freelancer to help you out

Posted on: October 12th, 2013

When you are snowed under with projects (and every freelancer experiences the feast/famine syndrome) do you work all hours,or do you ask fellow freelancers to help you out with your workload?

Sometimes I clear the workload by myself and, at other times, I call on someone else to help me out. It all depends on the situation. Of course, sharing your workload might save your stress levels but you also have to share the payment from the client.

When you call on the services of someone else, here are a few pointers to bear in mind:

1. It sounds obvious but make sure the person who is helping you is someone you rate highly. If their work is below the standard your client is used to receiving, you will have to spend time improving it. And the whole point of hiring them is to save you time – not to create more work for you.

2. Think about whether you want to be upfront with your client and tell them that you have someone working with you on the project. If you don’t want to let on that you have additional help, then you will need to be the client contact, you will need to attend meetings and you will need to send emails etc.

3. If you don’t charge VAT (sales tax) but your freelance friend helping you out does, then remember you will have to absorb this cost. And, with VAT rates running at 20% in the UK, that’s quite a hit to take. So find a freelancer who isn’t VAT registered.

4. Think about what might happen if your freelance helper is taken ill or is unable to finish the project for some other reason. Have a back-up plan, because these things do happen.

5. The person you ask may be an old friend of yours but do get something down in writing first, so you are both clear on the agreement you are entering into. For example:

  • Their day rate and the number of days they will work (or the fixed fee you have agreed between you that they will be paid for the project).
  • The deadlines they will have to meet.
  • Payment terms. Are you going to pay them out of your cashflow or wait until the client has paid you?
  • If they are dealing direct with the client, you will probably want to add something that says they can’t solicit work from your client or accept further work that may be offered to them by your client. This is your client, so don’t lose them to the friend who is helping you out!   

If you have all bases covered, then things should run smoothly. Who knows – if you find yourself with shed loads of work, you might even end up managing a small team of freelancers, with you taking a percentage of the project fees. And that’s a great way to increase your income.

What have been your experiences of hiring another freelancer to help you out when you’re snowed under? Do leave your comment in the box below.  

4 Responses to “Top tips when you hire a fellow freelancer to help you out”

  1. dojo
    October 13th, 2013

    I don’t usually work with anyone, but this all makes a lot of sense. I couldn’t team up with someone whose work is sub-standard and there’s indeed a lot of stuff I’d need to have in mind, should I come to decide for this. Really great tips.

  2. Carole Seawert
    October 13th, 2013

    Glad you found it useful!

  3. Aída Ramos
    November 11th, 2013

    Thank you, Carole, you made some good points there!

    I hire freelancers whenever my clients request translations into languages I can’t do myself, and so far it’s worked out fine :) Even if the profit margin is not too high, I personally find it’s a good way to add value for the client by taking care of a problem he/she is too busy/unable to deal with.

    Have a lovely day,


  4. Carole Seawert
    November 11th, 2013

    I agree, Aida, it’s a great way to add value.

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