Many agency owners or freelancers are reluctant to ask a contractor if they’ll do a trial period so their work can be evaluated. It can be difficult to ask, particularly if you’re just getting started as an outsourcer, or if the freelancer or agency you’re working with has a great reputation and has been around for a while.
Even freelancers and agencies with a ton of experience can be approached for a trial period with you. Naturally, you have to be the judge as to whether or not a trial period is necessary before you begin a long-term relationship where you’re continuously awarding projects to an outsourced worker.
In an office employment situation, many employers ask that their workers agree to a trial evaluation period. This will result in a consultation at the end of that period to determine if this is a good fit for both worker and employer. Once the worker is determined to be a good fit, he or she is entitled to time off, possibly a raise, and other benefits of employment.
Since outsourcing usually involves contractor work and is not a typical employment situation, you need to find another way to evaluate your contractor. A trial period with a predetermined date of evaluation is a great idea for both of you.
For starters, it ensures a “no-hard-feelings” outcome if either party decides that the relationship just isn’t going to work. It’s true that down the road a contractor could always bow out of your projects, but a trial period ensures that you won’t spend a huge amount of money or time if you can clearly see the relationship isn’t a good fit quickly.
In addition, it gives the contractor a way out of the relationship if they don’t think they’ll be able to complete your work. You want a contractor working for you who is sure they can prioritize your work and meet deadlines and commitments, so a contractor bowing out is just an incentive to go to the next step in your outsourcing.
Another important feature of the trial period is that it allows you to establish trust. When you invest a large sum of money (or sometimes even a moderate sum) upfront, and the contractor fails to perform up to your expectations, resentment happens from the outset and a future relationship could be jeopardized. As you probably know from working with clients, employers who have a bad experience with a contractor may begin a cycle of mistrust with contractors who don’t do the kind of work they’re looking for. A client who goes through a few bad contractors is exponentially more difficult to work with than someone who’s had great experiences – you don’t want to be that client for a contractor.
As a freelancer or agency who’s hiring out, you’ll find it’s much easier to establish trust and have a positive relationship if you’re upfront about your needs, and a trial relationship can be part of that experience. In the end, it could save a lot of headache as you continue your search for team members who benefit your business.