Episode 13: Common Benefits of Hiring a Contractor

12 Nov 2014

In this episode, we look at the benefits of hiring a contractor. Not necessarily instead of hiring employees, but potentially in addition to. Many larger companies have developers and software engineers on staff, but still hire contractors. In fact, many of these reasons are inspired by the rationale of some of our clients who also have in-house technical staff. We discuss today�s buzzword: edge case. We are also joined by a guest co-host.

Contractors are specialists.

Rather than delegating a task to an employee that either has a general knowledge of many skills or a specialty in a skill that is not applicable, you can almost always find a contractor that specializes in exactly what you're looking for.

Contractors can be treated as franken-coders.

Rather than hiring multiple people to have specific skillsets full time, you can hire a contractor for exactly the amount of time you need them (per week, month, etc.) and mix and match the exact skills you need at the most efficient price.

Contractors have the time.

Contractors are paid to work specifically on your project. They'll schedule your project when they have the time to work on it and tell you when that is. Employees always have a full-time workload, so fitting your project in must be done around everything else they are already scheduled to do.

Contractors can bring in new ideas.

In addition to doing work that contractors are paid to do, contractors spend time honing their skills and learning what's new in the world of technology.

Contractors are unencumbered by tribal assumptions.

Contractors approach problems from their own perspective, which (hopefully) is the perspective of how best to solve each problem. They don't start from the context of how an organization has "always solved" a given problem, which can give them a wider array of tools and potentially lead to a better solution.

Contractors uncover hidden tribal knowledge.

Contractors don't know what every other employee knows, so they have to discover this somehow. Hopefully, this process will help an organization uncover the things that people "just know" about themselves, encouraging them to record them or refine them and ultimately reducing the onboarding overhead.

Contractors can be accounted for differently.

Sometimes how money gets spent and where it comes from means that a particular project can happen quicker. Likewise, spending money a certain way can sometimes lead to a cleaner justification of how money is spent, keeping the books clean and clear.

Contractors are hired under distinct, finite contracts.

When hiring a contractor, your liability is limited to the bounds of the contract and you are under no obligation to continue working with a contractor (should the relationship break down, for instance), outside of what is stated in the contract.

Contractors can provide additional consulting or guidance.

Contractors are paid for their expert eperience and opinion, which can help guide what actually gets built. Contractors can draw on their experiences working with past clients to help you avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Contractors can reduce overhead and administration.

Onboarding, benefits, project management, and equipment are some of the most expensive sources of overhead a company can have. Outsourcing this as part of a contract can significantly reduce the amount of money that is spent to support a project, rather than directly to complete the project.