Freelance vs. Permanent: Which One Should You Hire?

Freelance or Permanent: Which One Should You Hire?

The ‘gig’ economy is a buzzword in the recruitment industry these days, with over 5 million professionals choosing this more flexible way of working.

But is hiring a freelancer or contractor right for your business?

The answer to this question boils down to a number of factors.

To help you come to a conclusion, here are some pros and cons of hiring on a temporary basis.

The pros of choosing a freelancer or contractor

Low overheads

One of the biggest pros of hiring a freelancer or contractor on a job-by-job basis is the fact that you won’t need to offer as many (or any) holiday and sick pay entitlements.

This can also include removing the cost of pension contributions, taxation and funding equipment too.

In other words, you simply pay for their time.

It’s a hands-off approach which you can choose to use when you want and whenever you need it most.

Deliveroo is a perfect example of this.

Their flexible nature of the gig economy has enabled professionals and students to work when they want, without having to incur staff costs when there’s no guarantee of work.

Providing the individual is fine with the unpredictability, this can be a real plus for businesses that are trying to keep overhead costs to a minimum.

In fact, this idea of zero hour contract agreements has lead to a huge global growth surge with sales of 128.6m in 2016 and providing 30,000 with jobs.

More flexibility

When you hire someone on a permanent basis, you are potentially limiting your capabilities.

For instance, if you hired a full-time copywriter who doesn’t have any experience in proofreading articles, you’re already limited.

However, if you brought in a freelance copywriter, you can simply utilise their skills and then find a freelance proofreader to help with the other elements to the project.

In other words, you can tap into more resources as and when you need them most.

Greater quality

Naturally, this pro in favour of freelancers depends on the individual.

But relatively speaking, freelancers and contractors should provide a quality service every single time, as they rely on repeat business to make a living.

In contrast, a permanent employee can sometimes relax and won’t always feel a need to push themselves every minute of the day.

Although you should always take this point with a pinch of salt, as every professional is different.

More options

If you’re looking for someone to work remotely, you can potentially find some of the best talents from around the world.

There’s no limitation on geography as you aren’t expecting them to travel to work every day like a lot of permanent workers would.

This pro can also save you a lot of money as well, especially if you are based in London, as freelancers and contractors located outside of the capital don’t usually charge as much due to their lower living cost requirements.

The cons of choosing a freelancer or contractor


This word can relate to a number of things if you choose a freelancer or contractor.

For starters, can you honestly guarantee that they will deliver your project on time? Also, what’s the quality of the work going to be like?

It can feel like a gamble, so once you have someone who is reliable, make sure that you keep hold of them.

Otherwise, hiring a permanent member of staff will grant you more control over the outcome of your project.

Networking and relationship limitations

When you opt for a freelancer, building strong relationships with your other clients isn’t always easy, or indeed likely.

The truth of the matter is that a temporary member of staff gets paid for completing a piece of work, not helping you grow your business in a hands-on way.

Time is money to them, so if you want this included, freelancers probably aren’t the best option.

Higher wages

While your reduction in payroll duties and contributions might be lower, just be prepared to pay more on a day-by-day basis to a freelancer or contractor.

As your project isn’t permanent, they have to push their daily and hourly rates up to factor this in.

So if you’re not in a position to pay more in the short-term, it might not suit your budget.   

Making your decision

Ultimately, the tough decision is a matter of establishing your company’s future goals.

If you’re looking to fulfil a need within one project, a freelancer or contractor can hit the nail on the head.

However, if there’s a possibility that you’ll have further requirements down the line, it might be worth offering a long-term contract or searching for a permanent candidate.

The main thing to remember is to be open and honest with candidates from the start and always keep temporary staff frequently updated on your requirements.

It’s also important to make new employees (temp and perm) feel welcome too.

You can do this by:

  • Warning your staff beforehand so they are prepped to welcome them properly.
  • Having everything prepared for them to start work efficiently.
  • Partnering them up with an existing employee to show them the ropes.
  • Inviting them to socialise so they can get to know their colleagues.
  • Carrying out an end of the week review to make sure that they’re happy.

You can find out more top managerial tips on this in our previous blog here.

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