Manual processes that waste time and money: the broken relationship between creative agencies and freelancers — and how to fix it

The relationship between agencies and freelancers is broken. Here's how to fix it.

Posted in
Management
By
Joseph Russell

For agencies, freelancers can be a complicated subject. There’s no doubt that you need to use them but between sourcing, contracts, management, and payments, the process is really complex. It also involves a lot of unnecessary back and forth between many different departments.

Since freelancers are so integral to agencies, you might not even realize how broken your process actually is. You can’t work without them and you’ve never stopped to consider if there’s a better way. So before we dive into how it can be better — and we promise it can — let’s take a look at why this relationship needs some love in the first place. 

Biggest problems between freelancers and agencies 

Time spent onboarding 

For agencies, the phrase time is money carries even more weight. Clients are often going to want to see progress on projects as soon as possible. This can be tricky because it takes agencies a long time to onboard freelancers. Between the time spent finding the right freelancer for each project and handling contracts and compliance, this can really add up. When clients want quick turnarounds, this extra time in the process can be a huge problem. 

Delivering quality to your clients

Because time is so important for agencies, it’s really important to minimize back and forth and avoid too many revisions on a project. You need deliverables quickly and you need them to be as great as possible. This makes freelancers a bit of a concern for agencies. Since you’re a lot less familiar with their individual work, it can be hard to trust that they’ll get you quality work without a lot of revisions or help. 

Compliance complexities 

Freelance workers come with a lot of complexity in terms of compliance and worker classification — both international and local. The more freelancers you’re working with at any given time, the harder it is to make sure you’re staying compliant with all of them. This can create a lot of risk for your compliance teams. 

Outdated processes that aren’t centralized

This is a big one that you may not even realize is an issue for you. Hiring freelancers involves a lot of back and forth between HR, finance, and operations, leading to information that is siloed and inconsistent. Which adds up to a lot of wasted time and money trying to reconcile differences and get your different teams on the same page. 

On top of that, a lot of the processes for hiring and managing freelancers are very manual and outdated, relying on inefficient tools like spreadsheets that don’t always communicate with each other. Improving your processes can add up to really large savings, in terms of time and money. 

Late payments

Late payments consistently come up as the biggest pain for freelancers when it comes to working with agencies. But it’s actually a problem for you as well. Your teams waste an enormous amount of time going back and forth each time your freelancers reach out wondering when they’ll be paid. You also need to worry about retention here. Because late payments affect their livelihood and frustrate freelancers so much, if you’re consistently late on payments you might start to lose your top freelancers. 

How to work more effectively with freelancers 

A lot of the issues between freelancers and agencies come down to communication. Being more transparent about your needs and concerns up front will help ensure you land the right freelancer for each project and that you both leave the project feeling happy and fulfilled. 

We surveyed our freelancers to find out what their everyday pains were when working with agencies and a large amount of them had to do with communication and expectations. Too many different people involved in each project also came up as a big frustration for them, hindering them from actually doing work for the agency. 

"Working with agencies can get muddled because there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Multiple departments and people are involved in each project, which can cause your work to get lost in the shuffle. Delays in responses and late payment can be pretty common. It's one of the most frustrating parts of freelancing for agencies."

If you can cut down on unnecessary steps and interactions in the process and be better about setting expectations, it’ll go a long way for your freelancers. 

Put more time into your briefs 

When you’re always in a time crunch it can be tempting to throw your brief together so that you can find your freelancer and get the project started. But the more detail and effort you put into your brief, the better your chances of finding the perfect freelancer for that specific project.

This isn’t limited to your concerns about the project. The more detail you go into in terms of the project, the type of skillset you’re looking for, and the outcome you want, the likelier you’ll find the right freelancer for your client’s needs. This saves you from souring a relationship with a client or freelancer down the line, and helps ensure everyone is happy at the end of a project. 

Freelance management systems

Fortunately, using a freelance management system like Worksome actually solves a lot of these problems automatically. 

Let’s start with time spent onboarding. If you’re not currently using an FMS, this involves a lot of back and forth between HR and operations to select the freelancer, sort out contracts, and figure out compliance. In Worksome, worker classification and contracts are done within the system, eliminating the time it takes to manually handle them as well as the time spent communicating back and forth between teams. Your payments are also automated and always on time, so there’s no back and forth with your freelancers when they’re wondering why they haven’t been paid. 

Quality concerns are also eased — but not completely eliminated — by using Worksome. Worksome gives you a detailed background of each freelancer and their projects. You can also tag your freelance workforce by skillset, so it’s easy to select which ones make the most sense for each project. This means more peace of mind for you in knowing you’re always getting the best work for your clients. 

Compliance can be a big headache when you have freelancers in a lot of different locations, but Worksome owns worker classification and compliance. This means less headaches for your team and no liability. You can focus on other things and know that you’re operating risk free. 

The biggest benefit to Worksome is having one central view into your freelancer operations. Everyone has one view of your freelancer hiring and management so that all of your information is housed in one place. No more back and forth between departments, no more inconsistencies in information. 

Ready to get started? Click here to request a demo and learn more about how Worksome can help you better manage your contingent workforce, so that you can focus on getting great work done for your clients. 

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