Disclaimer: The information in this article is a guideline only and is not intended to be legal advice.
It's the era of the gig economy. The percentage of workers engaged in alternative work arrangements rose from 10.1% in 2005 to 15.8% in 2015. While creative and marketing professions naturally align with the gig trend, given their emphasis on campaign and project-based work, it can be stressful for creative talent to string together a steady stream of work and a consistent paycheck.
For these creatives, partnering with one or more niche staffing firms could be the perfect bridge to either launching a freelance career or supplementing an existing freelance business.
Employers Need Temp Workers
There is no shortage of clients looking for skilled professionals to fill temporary positions. In February 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported nearly 100,000 more people on the payroll for temporary employers than the previous year. At the same time, those companies who need freelance support are averse to managing multiple contracts and absorbing the risks associated with onboarding independent contractors.
There has been a lot of news in recent years about the IRS and Department of Labor penalizing employers who misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid financial and risk burdens such as overhead, unemployment, insurance, medical and other fringe benefits. Many companies do not have the resources available to ensure that all freelance workers satisfy the IRS criteria for independent contractors. Hence, businesses of all sizes and from all industry sectors utilize staffing firms to source freelance talent.
The Key to Sourcing and Contracting Temp Talent
By partnering with a staffing firm, companies can consolidate their freelance opportunities under the governance of a master service agreement. Once contracted, the staffing firm provides a level of administration and risk management for the client and gathers an assortment of job opportunities that may not otherwise be available to independent freelancers.
Creative talent who want to provide freelance services via one of these staffing service contracts should expect to adhere to those contractual requirements as well.
Staffing Firms are Partners to Freelancers
For client contracts that permit services by self-employed independent contractors, staffing firms are developing techniques to rapidly qualify candidates within hours. In general, those freelance talent with a registered business, federal employer identification number, business insurance, bill on fixed fees or project milestones, and are willing to accept risk/reward based on project outcomes are those that are most likely to qualify.
Because staffing firms are in the business of hiring and onboarding, creative talent should expect that there will be little grey area on the independent contractor requirements.
Many project-based workers are ultimately classified as W2 employees and payrolled by a staffing firm. But it's important, especially for those who do not want to be tied down to one full-time job, to understand that staffing recruiters can provide a level of consultation and flexibility that does not undermine a freelance business.
Unlike a traditional full-time employer, recruiters will partner to work with your schedule and only present the job opportunities that will work for you. When appropriate, they advocate for you to be able to work from your home office and/or set your working hours to accommodate your other clients' projects.
The Benefits of Working with a Staffing Agency
There are additional perks gained by supplementing a freelance career with temporary staffing assignments. For example, all staffing firms must offer medical benefits that meet Affordable Care Act requirements; many firms will subsidize part of the cost to eligible workers. In addition, temporary workers may receive holiday pay, paid sick time or other bonuses and fringe benefits.
Working through a staffing firm's payroll assures regular, usually weekly, pay cycles without the hassle of generating and following up on invoices. Freelancers may enjoy the assurance of proper income tax withholdings, as well as payment of unemployment and social security tax burdens. In addition, freelancers can save on business insurance premiums because the staffing firm's insurance will likely extend to freelance workers.
If you're looking to diversify your experience and build your network, consider supplementing your freelance business with project-based work. By working with a staffing firm, you can simultaneously grow your freelance business and obtain work that suits your needs - all with a trusted partner by your side.
Looking for temporary or part-time work? Contact The BOSS Group today!