In today’s workforce, it’s becoming more common for companies to foster longstanding independent contractor relationships.
But just like with employees, finding top-notch independent contractors who are willing and able to provide the services your company needs can be a costly, time-consuming challenge. So when you do find those needles in the haystack, you want to make sure you can develop a long-term, mutually beneficial arrangement.
Check out five tactics that your company can use to foster strong independent contractor relationships:
1. Talk it out. Before anyone jumps into issuing invoices or starting work, someone at your company should have a discovery conversation to kick off the independent contractor relationship. Business owner Quiana Darden says it’s important to figure out what type of arrangement you’re both envisioning – numerous small projects, a few long-term contracts, one major venture, etc.
Tip: To avoid misspending money and time, when working with new independent contractors, start small with a minor project before committing to major projects, advise the workforce experts at MBO Partners. Both parties can get a feel for the other’s work style and see if it’s the right fit.
2. Write it all down. The discovery conversation details, along with the scope of work, set or estimated budget and other work terms, should be detailed in a written contract. And you’ll want to make sure any relevant parties (A/P, supervising managers, etc.) get a copy of the contract, too.
3. Continue to communicate. As you start to move into the work, make sure there is someone at your company who can serve as a key point of contact for each independent contractor relationship. This person should continually communicate things like project details and deadline requirements. They can also figure out work relationship preferences, like communication methods and frequency.
Tip: To keep workers happy, ask for their preferences, too. Are there any specific expectations they have of your company? (Even if they don’t, asking the question shows your willingness to work well together.)
4. Keep an eye on rates. As you know, independent contractor relationships are a great way to keep costs in check. They allow specialized workers to complete specific projects without bringing on full-time employees.
That said, costs and rates are always changing. So, it’s essential to regularly keep an eye on the typical rates for the services they provide. By adjusting as things fluctuate, you’ll be able to make the most cost-conscious choices while offering workers fair, competitive rates.
5. Step back and evaluate. Though you don’t want to hold employee-like performance reviews, it’s perfectly fine to have conversations to boost independent contractor relationships.
Talk about what’s going well and what’s not. Be sure to point out both when you’re happy with progress on a project and when you see room for improvement. After, your company will be able to feel more confident that your vision is clear and your desired outcomes will be achieved.