Managing the peaks and troughs of client demand can be a serious challenge for a PR agency, especially if you suddenly land projects you weren’t expecting (great!) and simply don’t have the capacity to deliver them (not so great). This is where hiring a freelancer works brilliantly. They are usually talented self-starters who hit the ground running and immediately add value, bringing valuable expertise and a fresh perspective. Freelancers constantly have to prove themselves (rather like shiny new employees) and they know they have to earn their day rate every single day. Hiring a freelance PR can be like an injection of fresh energy into your team, relieving some of the pressure at critical times.
Value for money?
It might seem expensive to hire a freelancer and, while the cost per day is higher than that of a permanent salary, failing to deliver due to lack of team resources would be infinitely more costly. An experienced freelancer should be able to build rapport with your team and clients instantly, pick up a project and run with it. Whether you need someone to help run a launch, pull together a deck, hammer the phones or just add ‘bodies’ to your team, a freelancer should add value at every step of the way. Good recruitment consultants vet freelancers rigorously so you should only get quality people through the door, but if it’s just not working out you can quickly bring their time with you to a close as they will be on little or no notice.
Typical day rates vary but as guide, AEs to SAEs will charge around £100-£120 a day, AMs and SAMs around £150-£180 a day, ADs and SADs around £220-£300 a day and Associates around £350 a day. If you need someone to help with a pitch – perhaps someone with specific industry sector expertise, then you are looking at around £400-£600 a day. But remember, you’ll only need them for a short period of time! Don’t forget to budget for an agency fee of around £20%.
So, how do you get the best out of your freelancer?
- Brief your recruitment agency properly – give them a client portfolio and ideally the project you want the freelancer to get involved with. The more info we have, the better a match your freelancer will be
- When they arrive, give them the chance to meet with the team and give them a buddy who can answer client-specific questions
- Brief them properly – make sure they are up to date with the latest happenings on the account, who the client contacts are and what they are like to deal with
- Ensure they have an email address, a working phone and any other resources they might need
- Give them specific objectives / goals – if it’s about securing coverage, tell your freelancer and give them an idea of how much will exceed client expectations
Do’s and Don’ts when hiring a freelancer
- Show them where the loos are and where they can make a cup of tea
- Take them for lunch or coffee on their first day, preferably with their team
- Give them the door code or a swipe card – having to buzz in and out all the time makes you feel like a visitor rather than part of the team.
- Tell them if it’s dress-down Friday, there’s nothing quite like being the only person in a suit to make the new person feel even more new!
- Be really clear about how they get paid – if they need to submit timesheets, to whom and how
- Treat them with respect – they’ll be telling their many contacts and friends about you
- Be nice when they leave – you might need them back
- Forget they’re coming! Make sure someone has carved out time in their diary for an induction
- Overwhelm them on their first day and scare them off
- Forget to sort out their email address and somewhere to sit
If you’re in need of some quality freelance resource, call Natalie on the Workfish freelance desk on 07766 305 174 or email her here.