Freelancer vs Employee: How to Decide

“People are not your most important asset. The right people are.” (Jim Collins, author, speaker and consultant)

Knowing whether to hire a freelancer or full-time employee for any particular role is vital for the successful running of a modern business. With budgets constantly being constrained and the pressure to perform going up, ensuring you maximise your workforce is absolutely essential if you want to build a successful company.

Here is our quick guide to help you decide whether the roles in your company should be filled by a full-time employee or a freelancer.

When to bring on an employee

  • Training: If the role requires specific knowledge or a significant amount of training, it will always be better to bring in a full-time employee. While the risk always exists that you will train an employee only for them to leave, this risk is far greater with a freelancer given the fact that they are already working with multiple companies.
  • Oversight: If the role requires careful oversight, it is also a good idea to make it full-time. Freelancers work with multiple clients and as such schedule work to their calendar and not strictly to when your managers and supervisors are online.
  • Culture and brand awareness: Freelancers are exceptional at delivering on their specific tasks but may not have the same general awareness and knowledge of your company. This is important to consider especially when choosing staff who will be interacting with your clients and customers, where it’s vital they are living the company culture and fully cognizant of the nuances of the brand.
  • Recruiting a leader: Anyone who is set to take a senior role in your business should be a full-time employee, simply because these roles require someone who is fully dedicated to the business and not distracted by other roles and concerns.

When to bring on a freelancer

  • Budget: If the budget is a concern, then you should definitely be using a freelancer. Even if that freelancer is charging a premium your company will often save money on benefits such as health insurance, paid holidays, retirement annuities and bonuses, while also saving on their office space and supplies and equipment. With freelancers the company only pays for the hours worked, and dead time around the coffee machine is no longer an expense. If you find the job is larger than expected the option exists to take the freelancer on a retainer for a set number of hours each month at a set rate, which can activate even more savings. Your accountant can easily run the costs for you in each scenario, making this decision an easy one.
  • Risk: As freelancers aren’t employees, they are significantly easier to terminate should their work not be up to standard. Further, they aren’t generally considered when tallying the employee numbers for determining the size of a business, and their working conditions are not regulated by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. In general, taking on a freelancer runs far lower risks for an organisation than hiring in a similar position. Beware however of tax and labour law rules on when a freelancer or “independent contractor” will be deemed to be a full-time employee no matter the terms of your contract – ask us for help in need.
  • Quality: For the freelancer in particular, quality reigns supreme. With their livelihoods dependant on repeat work and satisfied clients, freelancers must be the epitome of dedication and excellence in their craft. Unlike staff members whose performance might fluctuate, freelancers understand that their contracts are always up for renewal, driving them to consistently deliver their finest work.

The Five Skills Your Business Needs to Cultivate

“The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” – (Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motor Company)

In a world where everything seems more expensive today than it was yesterday training and advancement of staff can seem of lesser importance. As an increasing number of studies show, however, this could not be further from the truth. A lack of training at businesses can lead to decreasing quality of service, high employee churn rates, and more recently, an inability to match more technologically savvy competitors in the market.

In 2024, speak to your accountant to budget for the advancement of your employees and the development of skills within your organisation. Businesses who fail to bring these skills on board, whether through training or additional hires, are guaranteeing tough times ahead.

  1. AI Prompting

    Like Excel in the 2000s this is the one skill every office employee will need to have over the coming years. At the moment, prompt engineers are commanding enormous salaries for their understanding of just which commands are genuinely helpful when dealing with AI. It’s all very well having the latest technology, but if you are unable to unlock its potential then you are wasting the investment and falling behind every day.

  2. Creative Communication

    Ironically, in an era where AI is capable of producing a facsimile of good writing in a matter of minutes, genuine heartfelt, creative and original communication is going to become even more critical. Ensuring you have employees who are capable of identifying communication opportunities, and actively translating the insights of AI into easily understood, actionable and motivational text will be the difference in a world littered with paint-by-numbers ChatGPT blog posts and internal emails.

  3. Cybersecurity

    As the world moves increasingly digital and automated it also becomes more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Online threats can cripple companies and put them out of commission for weeks if not months, and lost information can be very hard to retrieve. While it is imperative that your company has experts employed who understand the threats, each and every employee should also be trained in the basics and potential loopholes that criminals will exploit. Failing to train in this area will no doubt lead to far greater costs down the line.

  4. People Management

    Managing a team requires a completely different set of skills to just ten years ago. With most jobs incorporating at least a percentage of remote work, and freelancers becoming an integral part of projects, managers need to be up to date on a number of new communication and management apps and solutions. Additionally, they need to know how to motivate and communicate effectively online and develop teams from people located around the world.

  5. Customer Service

    In the modern era of online reviews and social media, customer service has never been more important. Now, one bad experience doesn’t disappear, but instead lives with a company online forever. As a result, it’s critical that staff be trained in how to keep customers happy, how to handle a disgruntled customer and, when the odd bad reviews inevitably come in, how to turn them around to the company’s advantage.

Price Your Products for Profit with these Psychological Strategies

“Find the right price for an irresistible offer, which, by the way, isn’t necessarily the lower price.” (W. Chan Kim, Business strategy advisor and author)

A good businessperson pays attention to the price of their products. With accountants by their side, they wisely analyse every expense, tax and logistical possibility to ensure their product goes out at the best rate for maximum profitability. Like with everything in society, no matter how thorough the maths, pricing strategies can also be influenced by the underlying psychological principles that drive consumer behaviour and purchasing decisions.

Ultimately, customers want to know that they’re getting either the best price point, the best quality, or the best value. Psychological pricing leans into that idea, and ethically uses price as a way to send the right signals to make customers feel one of these three benefits.

By decoding these subtle nuances, businesses gain a competitive edge by subtly adjusting their pricing strategies to lure customers and bolster profitability. Here we uncover the strategies and insights essential for businesses aiming to thrive in today’s dynamic market landscape.
Price Appearance

All businesses know that pricing an object at R49.99 is more likely to attract a sale than simply pricing it at R50. In the West people read from the left so the lower number on the left is attractive. Of course, many customers know this too, but there are other ways of making the appearance of the price boost sales.

The first of these is simply to leave off the cents in a price. Studies have shown that marking a product as R49 is more likely to make a sale than R49.00 simply because it looks shorter. In fact, according to The New York Times, even putting the currency sign at the start of a price can trigger purchasers into feeling the “pain of paying.” The best route? Remove the currency sign and cents altogether.

Premium Pricing and Price Anchoring

  • Premium pricing is when a brand chooses to price themselves at the top of the market rather than set a competitive price. This can work due to the public’s long-established perception that higher prices equal higher quality or rarer products. This does not always work, but there is a far subtler way to take advantage of the same effect – price anchoring.
  • Price Anchoring is where a business releases their first product at a premium price but releases subsequent products at more competitive rates. The existence of the premium product makes the other products seem that much more reasonable than they otherwise would and encourages sales. Price anchoring can also refer to a practice in retail where the store puts an expensive product alongside a cheaper one, thereby making the cheaper one’s price seem like a bargain. For example, retailers, putting prime virgin olive oil at R89.99 for 500ml next to the sunflower oil, makes the latter seem cost-effective, even if they have priced it above the usual market price.

Discount language

Offering discounts is a great way to sell off stock that may be moving too slowly or to encourage people to try a new product for the first time, but did you know the words you use can influence how likely it is for people to take up those discounts? For instance, telling people they get 50% more of a product for the same price has been shown to be far more effective as a sales incentive than offering them 33% off. This is despite the fact that these are the exact same offer.

Then of course, there is the crafted discount offered by many large supermarkets these days. With the crafted discount you mark a product up significantly and then tell customers they can get the normal price if they buy two. For example: Bacon is usually R35 a packet, so mark it at R50 a packet and then offer the discount of “2 for R70”. Not every business owner will be comfortable with using this tactic without ensuring that the customer does in fact get some benefit (by offering “2 for R65” perhaps) but it certainly should boost sales.

Decoy Effect

Decoy pricing is a strategy companies use to convince clients that a slightly more expensive product is in fact the one offering the best value. It takes advantage of how buyers weigh price relative to the value they perceive. With decoy pricing the salesperson will offer clients products they know they will not take simply to guide them to the one they actually want to sell. For instance, they might be trying to sell you a car that’s a little out of your price range, but then say, “You are right, let’s look at this one which is in the price range you were looking for.” Of course, the new option is significantly lower quality, thereby highlighting the original car as the wiser purchase even if it is a little more expensive.

This gets even smarter when we take into account a psychological state known as the compromise effect, in which customers will gravitate toward the middle ground in any offer. If there are three choices for fibre connections with the fastest speeds being the most expensive, customers are more likely to take the medium speeds at the medium price. Some restaurants who know this make their second cheapest bottle of wine, the one with the highest mark up. Want to make your product seem better value? Simply offer the customer one that’s much more expensive and one that’s much cheaper as well.

Tiered pricing

Let’s say the product you want customers to buy is, in fact, the most expensive one. Then what you need is tiered pricing. This strategy lays the benefits of the highest priced product out in a way that makes it seem like a bargain compared with the others.

For example: Your lowest tier product has 3 features for R50, the middle tier has four features for R75, and the top tier has eight features for R100. In this case the middle product is a kind of decoy that could have been priced with one or two more features, but by giving the top tier product that sudden jump-up in feature numbers, the salesperson can be sure the client is much more likely to buy that.

We can help you formulate a pricing strategy tailored to your business model.