Why are freelancers so expensive?

Feb 20, 2019 Emily Brungard

Freelance Experts, Marketing Budget

Pop quiz! If you’re hiring a marketing expert, do you want:

a. Someone less qualified, with less experience, for less money?
b. Someone more qualified, with more experience, who costs a little bit more?

Hopefully, you chose option B.
Every marketer searching for an extra set of hands has come up against the cost question at least once: How much am I supposed to pay a freelancer to do this?
It can be as simple as deciding whether you want to work with someone qualified, who costs a little bit more, or someone who has less experience and is, therefore, less expensive to hire. When you’re searching for a freelancer, here are a few factors to keep in mind:

You get what you pay for

As you search for freelance experts, it’s important to remember that you usually get what you pay for. Many (but not all) of the on-demand experts you typically find in freelance marketplaces are inexpensive. The ones who charge very low prices tend to have limited experience, or may not produce top-quality work.
Want your marketing to stand out and make a difference to your company’s bottom line? Invest in experts who have experience — after all, quality is key. If you want to find someone cheap to design your latest whitepaper or optimize your existing email marketing solution or organize data to be more actionable, there are certainly options out there. But consider that you’re likely to spend time editing their work or chasing after them for email responses.

Freelancers are filling a critical gap

You’re hiring an on-demand expert for a reason. You either don’t have the time or talent to get something important done, whether it be building out a robust customer journey, building an app, or creating a promotional video. If you take a look behind your freelancer’s curtain, though, you’ll understand why they charge a premium. Building an app requires more than just writing code. Consider the full process from planning and sketching, iterating, editing and finally deploying a final product. It’s a process that requires an expert, and top freelancers enjoy a premium for their skills.

You’re still saving money

Hiring a freelancer, even an expensive one, is almost always less costly than hiring a full-time employee. When freelance rates seem expensive, check yourself. How much would you be paying a full-time employee? Even if a freelancer’s hourly rate is high, you’re not on the hook for providing benefits or long-term work. Companies that use freelancers also save on benefits like insurance, retirement contributions and PTO, which saves an average of $4,708 per employee per year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Torchlite has saved more than $250,000 over the last year by leveraging our own business model by harnessing the power of our marketplace of experts. We throttle our marketing team when and where we need it, while still creating the output of a much larger organization.

Freelancers spend a lot of time to become an expert

You’ll also pay more based on the freelancer’s skills and the skill level you’re looking for. You may pay a Salesforce consultant $107,000 annually, or you may hire a Salesforce consultant for a few hours per month on an as-needed basis. Either way, you’re paying for their expertise: something that’s cost them countless hours of research, training, and testing. If you don’t need a full-time expert on your team, a freelancer can bring just as much to the table while also providing cost savings.
One of Torchlite’s on-demand Salesforce Marketing Cloud experts, Sean, shared his wisdom on why highly qualified freelancers are both necessary and more costly. “Experts have taken the time to learn the ins and outs of the platform, know the shortcuts and the pitfalls, and can look at your problem and tell you, ‘This is the best route to get there.’ In the end, this saves you time and money on internal resources and allows you to drive revenue on your new campaign that much more quickly.”

Freelancers offer flexibility

Some freelancers prefer to charge on a project-by-project basis, while others charge by the hour. Just as these experts have the freedom to charge as they see fit, you have the liberty to engage freelancers on-demand. If you need to pause an engagement for a month while you focus on other initiatives, you can. Likewise, if you need to ramp up a program quickly, an on-demand freelancer can enable your team faster than it would take to hire a full-time employee.
Freelancers offer flexibility, and you’ll pay more by the hour to accommodate it.
Wondering what other factors may affect a freelancer’s rate? Consider these:

  • How aggressive are your deadlines and goals? In other words, how risky is this project for the freelancer?
  • The tighter the timeline for a project, the more you’ll likely be charged. Think of it like a convenience tax.
  • What kind of quality, personalization or convenience are you getting from your freelancer? Different levels of personalization, for instance, may have a variable cost.
  • How much experience does the freelancer have? Just like in the corporate world, freelancers with more experience tend to charge more.
  • Though a freelancer’s hourly rate may be high, remember that you aren’t paying for other costs associated with a full-time employee.
  • What kind of value does the freelancer bring to your team? If they’re building an eCommerce website, consider the cost of opening a brick and mortar store. If you make $500,000 a year from your online store, is paying $10,000 for a website a bad deal?

The next time you’re in the market for a freelance expert, take a moment to consider what you’re paying for. Not only are you paying for the expert’s time, but you’re also paying for their depth of knowledge, and their unique perspective. If you need an expert to help you achieve your marketing goals, we’d love to help. Request an expert today!
29 Ways to Ensure Your Freelance Cost is Worth it

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