When you run an agile business, you supplement your core team’s strengths with the specialized skills of your flexible and global bench — vendors, contractors, and freelancers. As your business acquires more clients, you build up this virtual bench you can call on. But between the project’s first agreement and the final payment, there’s many places for friction. You might not notice it, but if it goes on too long, you could lose your place as your contractor’s favorite client — or lose them from your bench altogether.
Stop Losing Your Best Contractors
Your working relationship is important. That’s why we’ve highlighted 7 tips to retain your freelancers. While you work hard to cultivate a healthy working relationship and avoid project management snafus, there may be hiccups you don’t see it until it’s too late. So rather than waiting for one of your contractors or vendors to find the courage to vocalize why they’re unhappy, here’s our collection of the best ways you can help your flexible team and keep them happy.
Treat them as a valuable part of your team
Historically, businesses have had difficulty integrating their independent contractors with their full-time teams. Some managers have an outdated mindset that contractors and vendors don’t care about the work the same way full-time employees do. But the truth is that vendors, contractors, and freelancers rely on referrals and repeat business, so they’re invested in giving hirers consistent, high-quality work. Additionally, independent contractors bring fresh eyes and new perspective to projects, so they may have insight into updated best practices and strategies that would benefit your workflow.
At the end of the day, businesses and contractors have the same goal. So why not get to know them and celebrate victories together?
Give assurances through proper contracts and agreements
Contractors are often pushed into working with the promise contracts and work orders are on their way — but if they could just start working now, then everyone wins. This might be the most conducive option for the hirer (especially if contracts are stored deep in a Google Drive or Dropbox folder) to start their project, but it puts the contractors and freelancers in an uncomfortable position:
On the one hand, by starting work immediately, there’s no written guarantee of what’s expected, how much they’ll get paid, or what their deadlines are. But if they push back and refuse to start work until everything is signed, they might lose their client.
That’s why it’s invaluable to have standardized contracts and a streamlined onboarding process. Signed agreements guarantee not only that the contractors will get paid as agreed on, but also show clear, upfront terms and units to clarify the work being agreed to. Efficient onboarding allows a project to get started quickly and provides peace of mind to everyone involved.
Make things easy and transparent
No one enjoys being left in the dark. If your bench doesn’t know the status of a contract needing to be signed or whether you’ve received their invoice, it can lead to anxiety and frustration. Dedicated AP vendor management systems like Liquid were built to give contractors and vendors a complete overview of their invoices.
Liquid’s dashboard allows a vendor to see the status of their invoices across multiple clients, and hirers can see the status of invoices for their entire team. That’s the great thing about Freelance Management Systems — they’re built to help keep clients and contractors happy and working together.
Pay them fast, securely, and without extra fees on their end
Without a dedicated vendor management system designed for project work, a number of businesses struggle to pay independent contractors. Hacking your payroll system can lead to compliance issues, while wiring money to foreign banks can feel like you’re one typo away from sending payment to the wrong account. On top of that, exchanging currency can come with its own hidden fees, leaving less money in your team’s account than they expected.
Liquid provides US-based businesses with the opportunity to pay vendors and contractors in their preferred, local currency across 175+ countries. Payees can choose their preferred method of payment when they first sign up and are never charged to receive payments. Hirers pay a monthly fee to send unlimited payments to their bench of contractors with built-in currency conversion, which puts more back in contractors’ pockets.
Not only does Liquid make it easy for clients to pay, but it’s easier for vendors and contractors to get paid as well — Liquid sends billing reminders to the team and automatically generates invoices based on work agreements. This means contractors can review and send their invoices in a fraction of the time it would take to manually prepare it. And with Liquid’s Dashboard, they’ll always be in the loop on invoice statuses.
Don’t make them chase receivables
Just getting paid can be an enormous issue for contractors. “Over 70% of freelancers have trouble getting paid at some point in their careers”, the Harvard Business Review wrote. Nonpayment of invoices, in fact, is such a problem that New York passed their own law to protect freelancers.
But there’s more that goes into a payment than just issuing a check, like matching the invoice to the original work order and preparing their bank for international payments. These take time and, unfortunately, can leave your team waiting. That’s why Liquid has built-in automated invoice matching: it means less time spent hunting down contracts, no chance of double payment for clients, and faster payments to vendors and contractors.
Happy Vendors Mean Happy Businesses
Being a vendor’s favorite client often means getting their best work, fast email responses, and an excellent attitude. But if you fail to return that attention in kind, you could lost your place as their priority. Keeping your vendors and contractors happy, it turns out, is just as important as keeping your customers happy. An integrated and complete vendor and contractor management system like Liquid goes a long way toward making that relationship easy to sustain and even easier to manage.