Top tips to work with contractors

Posted by Jackie Russell

Getting someone who is not on the company payroll to complete special projects or work in specialist areas can be a win-win for both parties.

You can gain expertise from someone for a short-term or make someone part of your long-term team when you don’t need an employee.

You must know your employment law though and ensure the contractor relationship is genuine and legal.

At Chatterbox® PR we put dinner on the table by contracting to businesses with a go-getter philosophy and we’ve experienced numerous different ways of working with our clients.

We have discovered how to keep the relationship hyper-efficient and achieve clients’ outcomes but there are always times when things could operate a little better. Nobody is perfect, right?

Here are our top tips to get heaps from your contractor.

1. Plan, plan, plan

Did we mention you need to plan?

If you don’t know what you want to achieve, your contractor won’t know either.

Before working with a contractor ensure you are prepared and have all the details, including:

  • Agenda – either you or the contractor should know the purpose and goals of every meeting.
  • Budget – consider if you are going to request a quote at a fixed price or will you be prepared to pay by the hour?
  • Deadlines – you need to be clear about timelines and let a contractor decide if they can meet your them.
  • Brief – have a clear description of the task and guidelines for the contractor.
  • Outcomes to be achieved – which should be tangible and measurable.
  • Who is the primary contact person who signs off final work – in your company and theirs.
  • Contact details – supply contact information about everyone the contractor will need to work with.

Here's a free briefing sheet for you.>>>

2. Be open-minded and listen

If you are paying someone else to do a job you need to establish a level of trust that gives them the freedom to apply their expertise.

They need to understand the outcome you require, and you need to understand how they will reach it.

They may identify things in your business you don’t want to hear, things you have never thought of or things that you’ve previously tried that didn’t work.

Be brave and see what their expertise can do for your business.

If you really don’t want to share control of the functions you’re giving to a contractor – then it’s probably better to keep the work in-house and employ someone.

3. Make them part of your family

With time, a contractor should feel like part of your business family.

Just like a real family you share information with them, but you don’t always have to invite them to be part of every conversation.

You need to work with their strengths, allow them the freedom to grow with you but also hold them accountable for reaching targets.

4. Confidentiality agreement

It is common and recommended that a contract agreement includes a confidentiality clause that ensures a contractor protects your business’s commercially sensitive information.

They also should be required to protect your intellectual property (IP).

5. Exclusive arrangement

If you want to restrict a contractor from working with any other businesses in your specialist field – be prepared to pay for exclusivity.

Contractors often develop a niche for industry sectors and it may not be reasonable for you to expect them not to work with a similar business.

However, you can expect disclosure if there is a potential conflict of interest.

And, if you are a have developed a loyal relationship with a contractor, they may avoid working with any potential competition.

6. Check the scope of works

For everyone’s benefit both parties need to be clear about the expectations of the work being conducted by a contractor.

For example, if you are contracting a company to manage social media you need to know the frequency of posts, who is developing the content, will there be photos and video footage, is graphic design required and who pays for it, etc.

If you are asking for more than the scope outlines – it would be reasonable for the contractor to provide a quote for extra work.

Contact Chatterbox PR now to talk turkey about contracting out your marketing and PR work.