How the self-employed can employ contractors

How do employ people without risking legal entanglements or breaking the bank when you are self-employed or an SME? I found a solution to this problem years ago after several very unsatisfactory experiences – paying agencies for staff who spend a day training then getting sent to another job the next day and so on is not great. You spend more time helping the person you’ve ‘hired’ get their job done, then have to stop back and catch up on your own job once they’ve gone – part of which involves paying the agencies invoice (sigh).

Remote working can be a solution for many businesses – I’ve used odesk for years:

There is a seriously impressive range of talent available and the sign up process etc is easy and clearly explained. It works basically by your opening an account, adding a payment method for verification – they take 2 small payments which are refunded within 10 days. You can then either search for freelancers or post a job and invite people to bid – you decide your budget – you can set a project limit or pay by the hour. Rates are in US dollars. It’s a good idea to check ratings and feedback from other customers and you get to email and ask questions of your free lancer before committing to anything. For projects they only get paid when you sign off the job, odesk holds the payment – they make their money by charging a commission – there are similar sites offering the same services but I’ve found odesk to be the most user friendly and reliable. I’ve not had a single problem with anyone I’ve ever worked with via this site. So whether you are considering a one off project or a long term relationship with a contractor it’s as good a place to start as any…