Over the past year, companies of all sizes continue to work with more and more freelancers to help them run their business across all types of job functions, diverse skill sets, and departments. In fact, in 2020 there were 64.8 million freelancers in the US. By 2027, that number is expected to hit 86.5 million, accounting for more than half of the total US workforce. But hiring, onboarding, and managing freelancers is a whole different ball game than overseeing your full-time employees.
Freelancers require an entirely different flexible, onboarding process – one that can streamline the collection of important information and organize and store documents, payment information, and project details. Overall, the onboarding process for freelancers can be overwhelming and time-consuming if you aren’t prepared. Without an onboarding system, you can easily slow down projects, end up with hours of unnecessary administrative work, and even compromise tax compliance.
Here’s how to streamline your freelancer onboarding process to make sure you avoid those obstacles:
Collect all contact info first
The first step of the freelancer onboarding process is an obvious, but necessary, one. You’ll need to collect all of their basic contact and business information. This may sound overly simple, but these key pieces of information are going to be critical to processing end-of-the-year tax information. Having incomplete or incorrect information will lead to major headaches when it comes time to issue tax forms.
Make sure you’re collecting:
- Their full legal name
- Phone number
- Mailing address
- Email address
- ID for verification
- EIN number (if applicable)
Not only is it important to collect and store this information, but it’s also important to verify that it is correct and make sure each freelancer is keeping this info up-to-date. A freelancer management system can help to streamline this collection and verification process. This ensures that you’re not left scrambling when it comes time to issue payments or tax forms.
An FMS also makes this step easy on the freelancer by having them use one portal to enter all of their information, saving them time and the need to bounce between different systems or try and communicate all of this information through emails back to their new manager.
Have one place to save all signed documents
When working with freelancers, contractors, consultants, or other short-time workers, chances are you’re going to have them complete and sign company documents. These can include contracts, company policies, or even non-competes and intellectual property agreements.
Once freelancers start signing these important documents, you’re going to need a standardized way to store them. If you’re relying on storing them in emails or in various folders, chances are you’ll run into an issue down the road trying to locate the right folder exactly when you need it. Storing them in a centralized place means you can easily locate them later or reference back to a specific document if there is an issue.
On the freelancer’s side, having one system where they can digitally sign and save all necessary documents can expedite the onboarding process and eliminate confusion so they can start working on important projects even faster.
Request the freelancer banking information
Once a freelancer begins completing projects and submitting invoices, they are, of course, going to need to be paid! It’s very important to pay your freelancers on time and correctly and some states even have laws to make sure employers are issuing payments to freelancers in a timely manner.
That said, it’s critically important to make sure you are collecting the freelancer’s correct banking information during the onboarding process. Making sure the payments get to the freelancer is still on the shoulders of the employer and having a streamlined onboarding process that collects and verifies this information will, once again, save you time and potential headaches when it comes time to start paying the freelancer for their work.
Tie it all into a seamless payment process
The truth is, most companies don’t have the payment infrastructure in place to pay freelancers in an efficient way. They are used to paying full-time, salaried employees who have a structured pay schedule and amount. Freelancers are an entirely different story. Freelancer payments can happen in a variety of timelines: weekly, bi-weekly, or even as one-off project payments.
High volumes of freelance invoices can take more administrative work to process than your full-time employees. And even with all that work, the potential for error is huge. To avoid all of this, you should use a freelancer management platform with integrated payment services. Having one system of record for your onboarding, project management, and payments means you’ll have full visibility into your flexible workforce while staying in compliance and making sure all freelancers are paid correctly and on time.