Freelance vs. Full-time: The Pros and Cons of Hiring an Independent Contractor

woman working at a keyboard


From Recruiterbox, Riia O’Donnell offers a terrific list of the advantages and disadvantages of hiring an independent contractor.  Riia writes:



Even at a higher hourly rate, expect to save 20 to 30 percent annually with a freelancer when you factor in not having to pay for benefits, like health insurance and retirement, as well as Medicare and Social Security. If your worker is remote, you also reduce the need for office space and lower your office supply costs.

Risk Reduction

Because freelancers are not employees, employers’ risk is reduced. Freelancers have no right to collect unemployment insurance, almost never have a right to workers’ compensation benefits, nor do they generally have the right to sue for harassment or discrimination. If they’re not working out, they’re also easier to terminate and replace. This is particularly helpful in states with laws that create exceptions to employment-at-will.


With the meteoric rise in talent-pairing platforms, you can find even the most unique worker to meet your needs. There are platforms to hire IT pros, academics, writers, designers, marketers, accountants, lawyers, sales staff, business consultants and more. Once you find the talent you need and you agree to terms, they start working ASAP.


Freelancers run their own business, which thrives on repeat work and repeat customers. They strive to turn in their best work, every time, to maintain the relationship. While staff members’ performance may have peaks and valleys, freelancers know the contract is always subject to renewal.

Limiting Payroll

Many companies cite legislative measures to keep their headcount low. For the Affordable Care Act, having 50 or more full-time employees requires compliance; for EEOC only 15. Using freelancers who are not considered employees can help get work done, without adding to headcount. But beware: Just calling someone as an independent contractor doesn’t make them one according to the IRS.

Global Reach

Companies look to freelancers to find talent outside their geographical limits. Expansion or an understanding of new markets can be made with a finite budget outlay. Using an freelancer may open the door to growth while minimizing risk if things don’t work out.


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