Looking for IT help: Hiring an employee vs. an independent contractor

February 22, 2016 - Tags: Employers

If you want to adopt information technology into your business, you’ll likely need some talented people to help you plan, develop, implement and maintain that technology. The question is, should you hire employees or independent contractors for this work?

Your decision will depend on a variety of factors, including budget, business goals, and the kind of work you need done. For example, are you looking at developing a dynamic web presence that requires ongoing technical support, or do you have a shorter-term goal, like training employees on a particular piece of software?

You may want to hire employees for the purpose of building IT expertise into your business. As your business grows, and the internal IT capacity grows with it, you can begin to promote from within, reducing the need to hire experts from outside.

If you decide to go the independent contractor route, look for someone whose skills match the job requirements you’ve set and who is a good fit with your business. While a contractor might only be with you for a short while, you will want them to blend in with your organization and make themselves available during regular business hours in order to attend team meetings or events.

Advantages of hiring an employee

  • An employee may have more loyalty and investment in the business’ success
  • Less risk of knowledge loss related to technical projects
  • More control over how tasks are performed
  • An employee’s hourly wage is generally less than what you'd pay a freelancer, and it's already built into your budget.
  • Any intellectual property developed will belong to your business

Advantages of hiring a consultant

  • Save on training costs and employee benefits
  • Flexibility to hire when needed, and to determine the length of each contract
  • Choose people with the specific skills required for each project
  • They generally require less supervision than an employee

The IT field is a competitive space; you may need to offer perks and bonuses in order to attract the best of the best. If you find someone you like, don't wait too long to make an offer, or you might lose that person to a competitor.

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