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Hiring a Professional Freelancer: Go Cheap or Go Smart?

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to hiring a freelancer. In addition to the argument of whether or not to hire one in the first place, there’s another thought to keep in mind: is it better to go cheap, or to go smart?

Now, what does that mean exactly? It means, what do you prioritize when it comes to hiring your freelancer. Would it be better to hire someone who won’t charge a lot of money? Or would it be better to hire a professional, who’s albeit, rather expensive? To answer that question, continue reading.

What do we mean by cheap?

Cheap is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as
1. an item of low price
2. the charging of low prices
3. a thing of low quality or value and/or
4. one that easily gets worthless.

Now, associate the word cheap with a freelance expert and the remark becomes a little unflattering. Ironically, as clients, we want the freelancers to come cheap, for the right reasons of course. But that doesn’t mean that we want cheap quality when it comes to their work.

When do we say hiring a freelancer is cheap?

Professional fees usually appear as one line items of expenditure in a company’s profit and loss report. Companies employ the services of professionals, in certain cases that may be freelancers, for work only members of a particular profession are capable of doing. That can be done with the help of a license, certification or both. This may be granted by the state itself or by some professional organizations that the state recognizes.

To employ such talented people, specifically, the ones whose work may only be required once in a while, or for specific non-recurring projects, on a full-time basis will result in a very expensive and therefore unwise cost for the business. That’s why hiring a freelancer comes in handy, you avoid all the unnecessary expenses that come with hiring a full-time employee without skimming on the results and work as a whole.

What should you consider beforehand?

Consider comparing the bill of a freelance expert to that of a full-time employee with the benefits and possible profit-sharing they would receive. In that case, isn’t going cheap, and choosing to go with hiring a freelancer, is the economically sound decision to make for the business?

“That which costs nothing is worth nothing” – Anonymous

Market research, feasibility studies, due diligence on mergers and acquisitions are some of the tasks that may require the services of an expert professional. Since they’re very important tasks, it’s worth thinking about very carefully. Here you have one of two options, one is to play it safe and hire someone cheap, and in turn, get mediocre results. Or two, hire a professional, with a higher price tag, but a far more distinguished and reliable outcome. For, even when it comes to hiring freelancers, the quality differs from one level of expertise to the next.

When can less be more?

“Many great opportunities are not cheap; but some cheap opportunities are great” – Iveta Cherneva

As individuals, our natural inclination is to be like water: take the path of least resistance. Decision-makers are no different and more often than is necessary. They end up running after a known freelancer specializing in the needed job, hire them and just be done with it. Mission accomplished!

Though it doesn’t seem problematic, the more “carefully-thought-of” approach may include considering a freelance expert who hasn’t had much exposure. Why? In many cases, newbies in the scene can be just as creative and innovative as veterans in the field. But if everyone follows the same path of only hiring the known experts, the amateurs don’t get much of a chance to show their potential. They might not be as well versed in the field, but they might be your ticket to something that sets new trends and revolutionizes the stale and stagnant market.

When can going cheap be dangerous?

Protecting the rights of both businesses and consumers is the rule of law. It follows that anyone who conducts a legitimate business adheres to those regulations to meet expectations, which can be costly. Failing to do so, or coming up with inadequate results may play a big role in causing liabilities to arise from penalties and sanctions. That money won’t only affect the cash flow of the business but may cost the company its reputation.

This is why the role of expert professionals is vital. These people are paid for the quality of work they create under the all-encompassing principle of due professional care. They provide reasonable assurance of the business’ adherence to policies and standards – and in some cases, deliver information gathered, tested and analyzed all of which are highly relevant to their clients’ business decision-making (e.g. business acquisition).


Making sound business decisions is never cheap but finding the right option while hiring freelancers (at a reasonable cost) to help you can be your first step to preventing further excessive cash outflow. Renown freelancers usually offer standard fixed rates on work engagements. But an amateur freelance professional may be more flexible in pricing his services. In both cases, a freelancer may exercise his liberty to offer a more cost-efficient workflow plan and achieve results through proper negotiations and relationship building.

In the end, one’s objective of going cheap should not be to find the least expensive offer (on the wrong notion that it will yield savings). But to choose the option reflecting a commitment of unmatched benefits for the company. A commitment backed up by a portfolio of previously successfully completed work engagements. And a reputation that mirrors the ethical standards of one’s profession.

Read more here.

How to Hire a Qualified Freelance Expert
Why Are Companies in the UAE Reluctant to Employ Freelancers?
Expert Freelancer vs Specialized Firm: Choosing Who to Work With

Marco C. Suaze is a Certified Public Accountant and has worked in various industries in the UAE including real estate and construction, import/export and distribution, as well as security training and facilities/asset management. He also took an active role in helping the Filipino Community in the UAE being a volunteer trainer (until December 2017) for… More about Marco

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