How to Build a Network of Great Contractors

5.12.2014, Written by Annie Wang
Image is Creative Commons, Attribution Flickr User
Image is Creative Commons, Attribution Flickr User

It’s estimated that over half of new jobs added during this period of economic recovery will comprise freelancers. As businesses look for ways to provide the most specific services possible to their consumers or clients, expert contractors are a smart route to take. Building a network of reliable, high-quality independent contractors can be one of the best investments of time and energy, and the key to success is building successful professional relationships. Keep these vital points in mind as you build your own contractor network.


1. Research the financial side first.

You may know the going rate for the employees you hire in different roles, but when it comes to contractors, there are no rules. What you can determine is a ballpark range of what to expect to pay for a particular service. You can then adjust your company’s budget accordingly. Contractors with more experience will ask a higher hourly or project rate, but you may not want to risk paying less to a person who may not have the expertise you need.


2. Put it in writing.

Make sure any agreements between you and a contractor are put down on paper and signed by both parties. These contracts should include start and end dates of service, cost and expectations for the work that needs to be completed. Do not rely on an email chain of agreements or a phone call to outline your terms. You should also have a contractor sign a W-9 contractor form for tax purposes before any payments are made. Protect your company with the right documentation from the start.


3. Communicate clearly.

Most contractors don’t work regularly in-house, so you will need to establish lines of communication. You should never feel the need to micromanage, but check in frequently with contractors, especially new ones. You cannot expect great results without proper direction.


4. Consider contractors an asset.

The difference between a contractor and a vendor is vast. While a vendor may provide parts for your products—or other things like office supplies—a contractor is contributing to the overall growth and revenue of your business. Avoid the mentality that contractors are just your work horses. Instead, view them as valuable company assets that enhance your bottom line.


5. Show your appreciation.

Contractors can work with as many different companies as they want simultaneously. They can also choose to drop clients (within the terms of a contract) whenever they feel like it, especially if a more lucrative offer arrives. If you find contractors that you really want to keep, let them know how much you appreciate their work. Praise jobs that are done well and be open to their ideas. If you are easy to work with, contractors will feel a loyalty to your company and stick with it.