When your business is buckling under the weight of its own workload, you may feel the urge to hire. But taking on new employees is not your only option. Contractors can provide a short-term injection of specialist skills as well as bringing you flexibility and financial freedom too.
What if you could have all the benefits of adding specialist skills to your workforce, without the long-term commitments of employing someone? By engaging contractors, you can do just that.
Contractors are either self-employed individuals or businesses that employ their own staff. The key point here is the fact that a contractor is not on your books. You don’t have the burden of responsibility for your contractor, but they are answerable and accountable to you. In essence you are the contractor’s client, rather than their boss.
Working with contractors in this way has several distinct advantages.
Here are five of them.
1. Contractors know their stuff
Just as with employees, you get good contractors and bad contractors. Generally though, you don’t become a contractor unless you have an advanced understanding of your field and often they have built up a great portfolio of relevant work. This can allow your business to tap into specialist skills and resources that may otherwise be off limits. Whether it’s Finance, Organisational Design, HR, IT or any specific skill set, there’s a contractor out there who can help.
2. Bring more flexibility to your working world
Short of investing in a crystal ball, it’s impossible to know for sure whether your internal resource will be able to cope with your workload six months from now. Or maybe your workload fluctuates and committing to the wages of a full-time employee feels like too much of a gamble. When it’s flexibility you need, look no further than the metaphorical ballet dancers of the working world.
Engaging a contractor is a great way to beef up your workforce to cope with a short-term spike in demand. Contractors are often available at short notice, allowing you to be hyper-reactive to changes in your workload. And because contractors have a brawny understanding of their field, they require minimal time to get up to speed on projects. Expect meaningful contributions and results pretty quick.
3. Get short-term cover for absent staff
It’s not just surges in workload that contractors can assist with. They can cover absent staff too. Whether you have employees on sabbatical, maternity or paternity leave, on holiday or off ill, there’s a contractor ready to step in to keep your business running smoothly.
4. Stopping your relationship is as easy as starting it
Whether you are using a contractor for a specific project or to cover staff shortages, you are in control of how long your working relationship lasts. The terms of your arrangement should be laid out in writing before you begin working together. And once you’re done, you’re done. There’s no fiddling around with exit interviews, notice periods or the emotional repercussions of firing a staff member. Easy come, easy go.
5. It’s cost-efficient
We can almost hear the derisory snorts. Sure, contractors charge high day rates. Higher than the equivalent daily wage you would pay for an employee. But here’s the thing, with a contractor there are no training costs, no employee benefits and no PAYE, NI and pension contributions. There’s also no burden on your office space or equipment.
Yes, that day rate may look daunting but with a contractor you pay for the time and expertise you need. No more, no less and no money going to waste.
Over to you...
Want to know a little more about taking on a contractor? Talk to us. We work with talented contractors across a range of disciplines and would be happy to answer your queries.