freelancers vs full-time employees

Yeah freelancing might be good for some designers, but not for all. The fact that companies would rather hire freelancers than deal with hiring full-time employees is outragous. Not only are they being exploited, but it’s not fair to the designers who want to be that full-time employee.

“Freelancers will do it for less.” “They take away jobs.”

This is a growing concern for many people…how do you feel? How can we fix this?

My freelance hourly wage requirements are much higher than my full time hourly wage… almost double.

If you have freelanced for a company for a while it sounds to me they must really like you. This is the time to ask/inform them that you are really interested in full time. If they don’t hire you then they run the risk of losing you.

In the long run its less expensive to hire a full time person then to hire a freelancer and have them work full time. Salaried personal don’t get paid for working over 40 hours a week at most places. Of course if they only need a few extra people during crunch season then it makes sense to hire a freelancer.

But don’t you think that the Outsourcing Phenomenon has gotten out of control?

Shouldn’t these companies whose staff is mostly freelancers be regulated somehow? There are just too many articles out there about how great of an opportunity it is to be a freelancer; but they never show the other side. No healthcare, stability, etc. Wouldn’t it be better for the economy & lessen unemployement if we stopped the exploitation of freelancers?

There’s something to ponder.

Freelancers are usually local. When I think of outsourcing I think of hiring people from outside the country or hiring another firm, not an individual.

Freelancers are only exploited if they let themselves be. They should charge at least twice as full time w/ benefits to cover their health insurance costs, taxes, vacation and downtime.

Reducing the use of freelancers won’t lessen unemployment. Companies that are made up of mostly freelance workers are penny wise dollar foolish. Over a long period of time it is not cost effective to have full time freelance. Also, if your freelance staffer finds a full time gig, then they have to retrain a new person. That costs time…$$

Stability? Here in Illinois an employer is allowed to can your butt without a reason. Just because you’re full time doesn’t mean you’re safe.

Maybe if we had a national health care program small companies would be able to hire more people without the burden of health care costs… which have been increasing exponentially. (Read in the paper today that premiums are going up 15%.)

Now if you are talking outsourcing outside the country, that’s a different conversation.

Come on…no one else has an opinion on this subject?

Outsourcing is outsourcing. Whether it’s jobs from the US to other countries or jobs from full-time to freelancers. Granted, I am talking about the small scale.

There are just some industries that don’t need a large design staff. Take gilette, they launch a truly new product like every 3 years, in between they release little BS updates like Turbo or X-Treme or whatever. They are not going to have a large in house industrial design staff, I think they would get more unique ideas from a design firm or team of freelancers, that work on all kinds of stuff to keep them fresh and up to speed on current consumer desires.

I have experienced the opposite of hiring freelance help to expedite a short term project. My principle hired a full-time designer specifically for a project. It turned out that this project never got fully off the ground. Now there was a real problem, too many designers and not enough work. The decision was made to let things evolve and see how it plays out. In actuality, my boss was too nice a guy and didn’t want to lay off the designer he had just hired. Projects went over budget and designs were put under a microscope because people were less busy to design and more willing to critique.

This could have been a better situation. To avoid this situation, our staff has been defined as a skeleton crew with a core group of individuals. When we get too busy, we explain to our clients that we cannot expidite work for them at the drop of the hat. If our client is under a serious time constrant (which is typical) we bust our asses and if neccessary, we offer work to a couple freelance designers and engineers. It works out well. These individuals even have work stations at our office.

Hiring an outside designer as a freelance employee can generally give a stalling design team a much needed charge.

I have to agree with Yo and Miss G. I is difficult to support a large full time staff, keep them busy and make them profitable. This is why I am so worried about graduating design students. Some live and breath design and it is shown in their portfolio, but so many others slide through and produce mediocre projects. They all just assume that there is a design job out there for them. It is a large investment for an employer to hire someone full time.

Again this is a discussion about freelancing, outsourcing to local designers and engineers. I am not touching outsourcing to other countries. I have participated in projects were the electrical and mechanical engineering is outsourced to the Far East and this was a disaster.

“Yeah freelancing might be good for some designers, but not for all.”

why does it have to be good for everyone?

you may get paid more hourly while freelancing.but are you taxes deducted, are you reaping any medical benefits, 401K, etc…?

could ask some full-timers the same. my first corp gig didnt give 401k benefits til 3 years. that was a while ago. probably worse now. less matching funds. medical benefits are usually better, but payroll deduction for some plans going up. not all full-time jobs are equal. not all freelancers are either.

Well, I have been freelancing for the past 5 years and when the season is good, it is awesome! I have time to do everything I want, beach in the mornings, afternoon bike rides and very long hours on weeknights. I can’t deny that I enjoy my freedom but it does get kind of lonely and you don’t get the pluses of being part of a team like going to trade shows, conferences (paid by the company) and the day to day inspiration you might get from being with other creative people.
What I do think is the mayor plus, is the variety of projects that you get to work on; so as time goes by, you define what you definitely DO NOT want to do anymore before you throw yourself into a company that does for example packaging (which you didn’t know you didn’t like when you first graduated) and get stuck there for a few years.
As long as you can freelance without having to have a “day job” it is very much worthwhile but in order to succeed, you have to know how to market yourself, network, give your business card to everyone and keep yourself up to date on new material developments and manufacturing processes. Create a team that you can depend on; find back-up when you can’t handle it all; have somebody at hand that can work on graphics, manufacturing and marketing.
Be a one stop shop for your client and they will come back for more.
Oh and one more thing…freelancers do not do it for less, the hourly rate is almost twice than that of a regular employee.

i have a question related to freelancing, im a recent grad, ive been freelancing at a particular place for 4 months, they only ever tell me ill be here for another month, or “definitley 3 more weeks” and fortunately ive been there a while.

but I went on an interview for a full time job, didnt tell my current employer, and when I discussed my potential full time employment they seemed upset that I was looking for another job without asking them first.

Was it innapropriate of me to be looking for future work ? it seems to me that It would be understandable that I would look at full time work with benifits, if I was in a position without benifits etc. and security that I’ll even be working in the near future.

So did I break some rule of ettiquite? What is the approiate action in this situation?

I don’t think so, you are not under any contractual obligations, and there is no spoken agreement that there will be work for you indeffinately tyhere, so you in fact SHOULD be looking for fulltime work.

The freelancers that I know that have really made a successful career have never put all their eggs in one basket, or even two or three. If you want to freelance long term, think about doing no more than three days a week with a single employer, or no more than two weeks straight. One of the best guys I ever worked with freelance had a strict two week rule, you also had to biik him in advance.

If you want to go full time but are working freelance to keep the lights on, that is totally ligit. If your current employer truly valued you he would put his money where his mouth is. If is not able to do that financially, he should wish you well and keep you while he can… it’s of course never that ideal and doing the best you can to ceap it clean ethicly can be hard.

Good luck man.

You have to watch out for your best interests. Unless the place you’re freelancing offers you a contract where they guarantee work for a certain amount of time, then you have every right to look for other work. You don’t want to wait until you have no projects coming in before you search for more clients or you’ll have too much down time (=no money). I had a sweet deal that I’d have guaranteed 40hrs/wk work with option to renegotiate / review status every 2-3 months to see if I wanted to continue with them at my or my clients discretion. I ended up being with just them for about 2 years straight at my freelance rates.
-Nowadays, I do about 2 week long projects at a time, consultancies generally have faster turnarounds / freelance needs then the big corporate gigs. It’s fine to look for more work constantly if you’re in that situation. Only bad time comes when you get 5 offers at once and have to reject projects, after 2 months of nothing.
-Good luck to you, don’t let that company keep leading you by the nose without you preparing for other options. If they want to keep you for definite time period exclusively, have them get a contract ready, otherwise, do your thing.

Well , I work many years employed in a huge advertising agency (Young and Rubicam) and I have to say, I prefer my work now freelance. For me the payment in the agency is soo good, never have time to spend all. But the relations with the clients, the work you have to do, and many others things make me think in go work like freelancer.
I work now freelance(8 years now) with an illustrator partner in Graphic Studio, and the freedom is incredible, you can planning your time, choose the client, say NO when you want .
I have to say is more hard work than employed because you have to do all, looking clients, go to the printer,choose the alternative services for the clients, ALL. But you can generate more creative work, and is all your work not the “company work”.
The money… depends how good are you looking clients. The big companies hire a freelance and wants to pay little(in my experiencie) is the freelancer have to say “this is my price for this job”, "is urgent? you need it? this is the price.
If want to see how good clients can have? go to our place:
And the best thing at all. In the freelance job you can FUN a lot. With design experimental things.Do yourselves the photography and other things. TRY first employed and then go freelance is the best way.