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Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Learn how to keep your best freelance talent with our best practices.

Working with freelancers provides your company with the on-demand talent and expertise you need when you need it. But freelancers are like vendors and work with many companies. So once you’ve found great freelancers, how do you ensure that you have a reliable talent bench? How do you ensure that these vendors will prioritize your company when you offer new projects? How do you retain your best freelancers?

Value your freelancers

Just like employees, freelancers wanted to be valued. Underpaid employees won’t want to stay with your company — underpaid freelancers won’t want to work with you again. To get and keep good talent, you need to pay the market rate rather than lowballing every project. And the best freelancers will often be above the market rate. To retain freelancers for future work, you need to pay at a rate that reflects their experience and expertise.

Keep in mind that you don’t exert the same oversight and management over freelancers as employees. So you need someone who can hit the ground running and quickly deliver what you need.

Set clear expectations

Freelancers need clarity on the metrics of success for each project. Every deliverable should be clearly defined, with all expectations spelled out. Plus, make sure you’ve detailed the project timeline (a realistic one), including any interim reviews. Finally, break down all of these details in the Scope of Work (SOW) or Work Order (WO). Setting clear expectations sets you and your freelancer up for project success.

However, sometimes the unexpected can happen, and a project needs to be adjusted. Don’t make scope creep or project changes a financial burden for your freelancer. If you are driving the changes, you need to adjust the scope of work and fees to include these revisions.

With Liquid, you can easily set up Master Service Agreements (MSA) or Independent Contractor Agreements with your freelancers and vendors using our contract template or your company’s template. Then you can quickly create a detailed SOW / WO for each project with a freelancer using our project templates. Projects can be up and running in minutes. 

Communicate regularly

Establish times and preferred forms of communication upfront. You should check in with your freelancer during each project, providing feedback and any new company insights or input that would assist with the project. And ensure that you provide timely responses to any questions or requests. But don’t forget to be respectful of the freelancer’s time — they want work-life balance, too.

Challenge them with interesting projects

The more interesting the work you offer, the more likely it is that an experienced freelancer will sign on. Freelancing is inherently about flexibility and choice — the best freelancers can pick and choose their projects. By regularly offering engaging and challenging work, you’ll make their list of preferred companies.

Make payments on time

One of the biggest complaints by freelancers is around getting paid. Would your employees want to work for you if they weren’t paid on time? Or if they didn’t receive payment at all? If you have to chase after payment, you won’t want to work with that company again. So make sure to pay your freelancers promptly, following the agreed-upon payment terms.

Liquid makes it easy for you to pay freelancers, independent contractors, and vendors on time and cost-effectively through our automated processes. Plus, you can pay freelancers in 175+ countries in 2-5 days, enabling you to work with freelance talent anywhere.

Give feedback and appreciate your freelancers

During and after the project, provide positive and constructive feedback to your freelancers. Share what went well and what might need improvement. Likewise, solicit their feedback for you. This open dialogue will help build long-term relationships.

When your freelancers do great work, make sure they feel appreciated.

Be flexible

Good freelancers are in high demand. If you approach freelancers with a last-minute project that starts tomorrow, their schedules might not allow them to fit your project in. Consider whether you can adjust your project schedule to accommodate their availability. In the future, give your preferred freelancers a heads-up for imminent projects.

Retain freelancers and build long-term relationships

Think about all these tips from the freelancer’s perspective. You’ll be on your way to retaining your best freelancers on your talent bench. Building strong relationships with your freelancers will ensure that you have the right on-demand talent when you need them. And with Liquid to help you contract, onboard, manage, and pay your on-demand workforce, you have the tools you need to make it easy.


3 min read

7 Tips to Retain Freelancers

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