Most companies see freelancers as vendors who work with them on one or two projects, and do not take a long-term view. However, it’s important to recognize that freelancers work just as hard as someone who’s at an office desk from 9-5.
If you’ve found an international freelancer who delivers on time and understands your business needs, you’ll want to permanently keep them on your team. Here are a few tried and tested ways to create a win-win relationship with freelancers, wherever in the world they might be.
Freelancer’s carry the pressure of keeping their pipeline full to pay the bills, while also keeping it just full enough not to be overwhelmed and end up with delayed deliveries. This is why it’s important to keep them in the loop about the work they can expect from you. You can consider discussing a retainer fee to cover expenses over a specific timeline, or you can agree on a salary that is paid out on a specified schedule.
Here are a few things you can do to be responsive:
● Respond to emails within 24 hours or less, especially when they’re seeking information about the project scope and expected deliverables.
● Every month note down all tasks, and decide which tasks need to be delegated to whom. Convey this clearly to your freelancers.
● Provide them timely payment and ensure they get exactly the amount they have invoiced you, net of bank charges (this is easier said than done and is one of the main grouses of freelancers, having to bear upto $30 in bank fees for receiving payments).
2. Paying On Time:
Fulfilling invoices on time is a sign of trust, especially for international freelancers who have never actually seen you or visited your office. It shows them that they are valued and that you’re a trustworthy client.
International payments can be a big hassle- there are transfer delays from the bank’s end, and many formalities to fulfill. A payment system like REMITR can help you transfer money to any person in the world in a jiffy. All it takes is a few details and an Internet connection. For some countries, REMITR uses a blockchain-based payment system that eliminates many of the time consuming circuitous payment mechanisms used by banks. This also means you can schedule your overseas payments in advance, and automate them for the future.
REMITR payments platform is available 24×7, which frees you from having to plan your payments during banking hours. Thus, you can now make international payments even after banking hours and during weekends and holidays.
When your freelancer works remotely in another country, it’s important to sign and agree upon all terms with a signed contract.
Signing a contract allows you to set some ground rules, while also understanding the other party’s expectations. In the contract, be sure to mention when an invoice is to be sent, within how many days of receiving an invoice the payment would be made, and who owns the services created during the contract.
If you feel that there is a particular limitation on what you can and cannot share with them, contracts such as a Non-Disclosure Agreement or NDA can help you specify which information they can and cannot share.
You also need to have a conversation about the end expected end result- are the freelancers allowed to showcase all or part of it in their portfolio? If not, you need to let them know why.
If you are working with an international freelancer for an extended period, make sure you check-in regularly with them about adherence to the spirit of the contract.
4. A feeling of being a part of the Team:
Very often, freelancers work from home or remote locations. As a result, more often than not they have little interaction with the other team members. If you’re working with international freelancers, be sure to send them small tokens of appreciation and find opportunities to connect them with the rest of your team.
For example, if you exchange gifts during the festive season, be sure to include them in the process. More than the gift, they will appreciate the gesture and the relationship you are trying to build with them.
5. Clear Communication:
Since a freelancer is often not involved in your company’s day-to-day business, be sure to provide context and all the information they need to perform well on their project. If they work from another country, they may not always have access to the same information regarding your work or even cultural nuances that may be relevant for their assignments. Therefore, you would be served well to proactively keep them informed of any relevant news.
Very often, freelancers share forms and questionnaires for you to fill out, or ask for calls that would take some time from your usual workday. Sometimes, freelancers will appreciate your asking for a call or online face-time and may be hesitant to propose it themselves. All of these are ways for them to arm them with the information they need to finish their project.
6. Dealing with payments and Foreign Exchange Rates:
There’s no denying or ignoring the elephant in the room, the question about what happens when exchange rates fluctuate.
If you have contracted e.g., for $15 an hour, the dollar weakening would mean more money in the freelancer’s currency and the dollar strengthening would mean less money in their account when you pay. One of you has to bear the brunt of exchange rates, and they can mount up based on just how much you need to transfer.
Not to worry! REMITR allows you to get the best live exchange rates at anytime. They also showcase when transferring money to a selected country is most affordable. Not only that, you can specify your contract in the freelancer’s currency, e.g., EUR if they are in Europe instead of contract rates in $$. Hence, you could agree to pay EUR 10 per hour, or the equivalent amount in the freelancers’ currency be it EURO, Philippines Peso (PHP), Vietnam Dong (VND), Indian Rupee (INR), Bangladesh Taka (BDT), Mexican Peso, Brazilian Real (BRL), Russian Rouble (RUB) and many other currencies.
For more information on using REMITR to make quick, stress-free overseas transfers, click here.