The freelance economy has grown considerably in the last half decade or less and according to some studies in the USA; freelancers are estimated will be half of the workforce by 2020.

Needless to say, it’s understandable why this is the case; the freelance economy is a fantastic alternative for businesses hoping to leverage their contingent workforce. Statistics from the Staffing Industry Association saw online staffing increase by 60% in 2012 – a remarkable increase.

The reason a lot of businesses are still wary of the getting involved in the freelance economy is based on it being something of an unknown to them. Luckily for businesses, there are a number of websites out there, including PeopleperHour that do a great job showcasing the freelancer’s job history, portfolio, previous work and a whole lot more.

However, with hiring freelancers becoming incredibly common and a range of great transparent options that showcase freelancer’s talents clearly online very prominent, it can be considered a safe bet. So, to ease you toward considering hiring online freelancers, here are some tips and advice on how to do so.

1. The Description

For businesses hoping to hire a quality freelancer, the job description is everything. You want the people applying for your position or job to be completely clear with what’s involved before sending a proposal.

If you create clarity from the off, you’ll be far more inclined to see clear responses and proposals in return. So, create a detailed, clear description of what you need and when you need it by, making sure that you point out any specific needs or focuses.

2. Portfolio of Work

Talking the talk is good and well, but walking the walk is incredibly important. You need to know that the proposal sent matches up the delivery and the best way to do this is to take a look at a portfolio of work.

That said if you feel the need to ask a freelancer something, then just go right ahead and do so. Always ask anything you need clarified or aren’t sure of, check for previous work and take heed of their reviews – all of these are great for evaluating the quality of the freelancer.

3. Communication

A good freelance relationship is based on good communication and setting the ground rules for keeping contact is very important.

Ideally, set up a means of communication, time of contact and when and how regular contact should be. If you deal with freelancers from a different country then it’s often best to use messaging systems for communication as time differences may not make such a method simple.

4. Price isn’t everything

Remember that you often pay for what you get, so use some discretion regards pricing when deciding on someone to work for you. Even though there are plenty of great low cost contractors out there, it’s often a good idea to examine other factors besides price before choosing.

Remember that freelance marketplaces tend to push prices down to a degree, so you’ll probably get good value anyhow. Also, remember that the value of some jobs may be less or more depending on geographic location.

5. Manage Expectations

If a project tends to miss out on milestones again and again it can be a big problem. Sorting out expectations beforehand can prevent this being a problem. So, provide clear details as regards these expectations and be organised and provide a clear framework for the job. This will greatly ensure your project works on time and to schedule.

6. Payment Terms

Payment terms can work in conjunction with the milestones and paying as certain goals are reached can be a reasonable way to work with freelancers. Most freelancing websites will keep money in Escrow until it’s required and offer a safe and secure way for the freelancer and the buyer to work together.

These tips will ensure you and your freelancer has a smooth, fruitful and hopefully long relationship together.