The Wall Street Journal reported how for many small businesses, providing health insurance, due to the rising costs, is simply not feasible.
Small businesses are laying off employees, going out of business, not offering health insurance or using freelancers.
WSJ writes But, for some small businesses, help can’t come soon enough. Consider Nimbus Software of Atlanta. After being battered by the recession, business at the marketing-software company is finally looking up. Nimbus has a six-week backlog of work—too much for the four full-time employees to handle.
But rather than hire more full-time staff, chief executive and co-founder Jason Brewster plans to use developers in the Eastern European nation of Belarus, and maybe additional contractors in the U.S. “If health care wasn’t a line item we needed to worry about, I would probably hire directly,” he says. “I’d have better control” over the staff and their work. But with the company paying about $1,000 per month for the average family plan for each employee, the cost adds up to virtually an extra minimum-wage worker for each full-time staff member.
For those of you who decide to ‘staff up’ by using contract workers, hiring these freelance agents randomly and managing them in Excel or in your head is going to be a royal, unproductive pain.
Elance has evolved its service to not simply connect you with consultants for just about any project you need, but their Elance Work System is a platform for managing, hiring and paying freelance consultants.
Key components of the integrated Elance Work System include:
- Job Postings act as an RFP engine and help companies publish job descriptions and receive proposals from qualified professionals
- Proposals enable contractors to demonstrate their qualifications, expertise and compete for the work
- Digital Workrooms provide a shared space for work collaboration and a permanent record of all communications
- Milestones clearly define what needs to be done and by when
- Status Reports provide visibility into progress, work performed, and next steps
- Time Tracking allows contractors to easily create journals and timesheets to document their work activities
- Billing and Payment systems protect both parties and distribute payments worldwide
- Feedback and performance measurement maintains a track-record of results delivered and visibility into work performance
So as you hire more freelancers to do work for you, use a system (or platform) to manage the entire relationship. Doing it in your head, manually or even with Excel is simply not the way to do it.