Event Freelancers vs. Employees

Event Freelancers vs Full Time Employees | EventProFinder

An EventPros Perspective On Who Is More Effective To Hire

The question we pose is this: is it more effective – for your business – to hire freelancers to plan/set up events as opposed to hiring full-time employees?

‘effective’ :  producing a result that is wanted : having an intended effect

Having heard anecdotal evidence over the years that freelancers are more effective at their jobs than full-time employees, Jarrod Bischoff, Founder of EventProFinder, thought it pertinent to add some context since he’s found himself on both sides of the fence at various intervals during his career.

It would be a fair assumption that freelancers generally try to work with the understanding that “one is only as good as one’s last event.” If they weren’t a good fit for a job and didn’t carry out their responsibilities actively and effectively, then they wouldn’t be hired the next time a job came around. It’s as simple as that.

It’s for this reason you’ll generally find that freelancers are either really good at what they do and are being rehired, or they are bad and are not.

Could the same be said for employees? Do they effectively give their employers constant value from their services? Jarrod believes not and his experience comes into play as he’s been employed as a full time employee for more than half of his time in the events industry, and has seen first-hand that employees can sometimes underutilise their time.

Are Event Freelancers More Effective in Getting a Job Done Well?

As a freelancer, you’re given a certain level of responsibility and autonomy to get on with the job; it comes with the territory. You are being hired for a specific role or to carry out a specific task. Your scope may widen but allow it to creep and you’ll have a very short events career. Jarrod argues that this kind of relationship applies the right amount of pressure that makes freelancers more tuned into their roles and considerate of their clients’ needs.

Flexibility

Event freelancers are flexible. They have to be. When you need them, they turn up. When you don’t need them, they don’t. No frills, no fuss, that’s just how it is. In the events industry, freelancers are mostly hired for a specific project/event. When the event is over, the contract ends as well. No salaries, no bonuses and no syphoning petrol out of company vehicles (true story).

Experience

Using a freelancer may allow an employer to leverage off the experience he/she has accumulated from working on many unique projects during their career.

Freelancer’s Personal Brand

As a freelancer, they are not only being given the opportunity to represent you and your brand on a project but also themselves as their own personal brand. This offers further impetus for a freelancer to deliver, as it carries with it a direct correlation to the success of his/her own brand.

What About Employees?

The upsides to having full-time employees on standby is that they’re always on standby. They’re there when you need them, and equally, they are there when you don’t.  The industry calls this ‘standby-to-standby’. Whilst this is an asset during peak periods it can also often be a burden when things go quiet, which is something we can all relate with, having to work in a work environment that is very seasonal.

You can also build up a certain level of trust with people you work with more regularly. Spending time with someone ensures that you really get to know their strengths. Unfortunately this is the same for their weaknesses, too. Have you ever been stuck in a job with someone you would gladly punch in the face? We’ve all been there.

It is also more likely that the full-time employees will have the company’s vision and mission engrained into their DNA. Jarrod recalls seeing freelancers occasionally mistreat the client’s equipment and also fail to go that extra mile for them. This is detrimental to the long term success of an organisation and whilst this isn’t always the case, these instances do occur.

In terms of costs, a full-time employee’s ‘rate’ (hourly/daily) will inevitably come in cheaper overall than that of a freelancer. Since as an employer you are getting that good ol’ ‘bulk rate’. Make no mistake however; securing the full employ of a person does not mean that they are constantly giving you a healthy return on your investment. Staff that are not self-motivated or managed well tend to misuse company time. It’s social science.

So Where Does This Leave Us?

The facts are that the ‘gig-economy’ is growing and according to the government it currently represents 14% of the workforce in the UK of £4.6 million. Unfortunately because of the way the government classifies event freelancers, which is basically in the same tax category as every other freelancer, we cannot give an accurate number as to exactly how many there are in our industry, but it is most definitely growing.  

Rory Sloane (Ex-Production Director at RPM/INCA Productions) had this to say:

“Delivering events is about bringing together the right team of people to produce any given project. The best thing, and also the biggest challenge, about our industry is never knowing what the next brief will throw at you and when it will come in.  During my time at both RPM and INCA it was not always possible to fully resource projects internally so being able to bolster the team with reliable freelancers was and remains an essential part of the event delivery process.”

Cheryl Conner (Entrepreneur and Founder of SnapConner PR) goes on to explain that “people waste time at work” and that “time, generously doused with effort, equals capital.” In fact, there is evidence that 60% of workers check Facebook daily. Imagine now that an employee works 2080 hours for you annually (260 days). Furthermore, if the top bracket of time-wasters sit at around 25%, 520 hours per year, that represents a substantial loss of capital.

Isn’t this something that all full-time employees look for? A few added perks? In Jarrod’s experience, freelancers tend to get on with it and are generally more willing to go that extra mile.

In summary:

  • Freelancers are more effective with their time – otherwise, they wouldn’t be re-hired
  • Freelancers bring with them the experience they have gathered from working on many other projects; experience that businesses can benefit from.
  • Freelancers, in an environment that is seasonal, generally cost less to employ

And of course remember that we are currently making the last few iterations to our very own event freelance platform. So admittedly we are slightly freelancer biased! If you fancy joining our team of early adopters, go to www.eventprofinder.com.

We are sure that there are those that will disagree with us, and we are open to hear your thoughts on this matter – please feel free to leave a comment below.

We’d love your feedback…

Image courtesy of: http://blog.careerfoundry.com/

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