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The pros and cons of hiring an independent contractor

Whether it's for a couple of weeks or a few months, hiring a contractor could help your small business to grow in a more flexible way.

But contractors aren't suitable for every role. Here are some important points to consider before you decide whether hiring a contractor is the right move for you.

What defines a contractor?

A contractor is someone who works for you on a short-term basis, usually on a project.

The most important thing to remember is that a contractor is not an employee. Contractors are independent businesses working for you, sometimes on your premises.

If you treat them as employees you run the risk of losing money through unnecessary extra taxes. We can help you with the guidelines.

Here are some of the benefits of hiring independent contractors:

  • Access to skills and adapt quickly to changing demands
  • Organisational flexibility - ability to increase or decrease your staff numbers based on wider market
  • Lower overheads such as holiday/sick pay, employer taxes and superannuation payment
  • Reduced legal liability - contractors are their own employers so provide their own insurance

When not to hire a contractor:

  • Stability and team dynamics can be affected by a shorter-term workforce
  • Risk of losing key skills and knowledge. Employees are assets. They become more valuable with time and training. So you won’t want to lose them.

Where do I find the right contractor?

There are specialised websites for people seeking and offering contract work. Use LinkedIn, and other social networks to tell people you're looking to hire a contractor. And talk to friends, family and business acquaintances to see who they might recommend.