Tower Lane Consulting recently released a new study on freelancers and small businesses entitled “The Freelance Model for Enterprises” that demonstrated that freelancers play an increasingly critical role in small business success. Since their skillsets are so diverse and already developed, freelancers are enabling businesses to close skill gaps while providing a cost efficient approach to dealing with the ever-present fluctuations in demand that define today’s marketplace.
According to the study, businesses are planning to hire more freelance workers in the next year. In fact, over 60 percent of respondents plan to hire more freelancers in the near future. In addition, for many respondents, freelancers are already a critical part of their workforce. In the survey, 88 percent used freelancers on projects lasting less than one year.
For many of the businesses surveyed, the versatility that freelancers offer is one of the main reasons they choose to use them. In fact, 75 percent of business owners said they bring in freelancers on projects and in other arenas because they need different skill sets at different times and this provides a cost-effective alternative. However, for many businesses, having freelancers on the payroll doesn’t necessary translate to virtual or work at home work arrangements. Rather, 66 percent of respondents said they have their freelancers work onsite.
An important aspect of this study looked at the processes and methods by which current businesses were able to procure freelance workers. The study reports that between 30 to 40 percent of responding businesses found the process of locating, hiring, and paying freelancers to be difficult and/or cumbersome, pointing to a growing need for innovative solutions for more effective management of this extended workforce. This indicates that there may be a new market emerging for a freelance management tool, with 68 percent of respondents said they would be interesting in a product that made it easier to hire, manage, and pay freelancers.
The Freelance Model for Enterprises study focused on mid-sized firms with anywhere from 50 to 1,000 employees.
King, Steve. “Businesses Hiring More Freelancers.” Small Business Labs. 10/2/13.