Tips on hiring freelancers

I was recently asked in the comment section for one of my vlogs about some tips on hiring freelancers. I’ve copied and pasted my reply below in case it is helpful to anyone. Feel free to ask follow-up questions in the comments.

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Ah, good question. No I’ve not written anything about that. Yes it can be a bit daunting. To start off I would recommend writing a very detailed specification of what you need e.g. X images of Y, with the following resolution, in .png format etc.

By being very prescriptive in your spec, you can reduce the chance for costly misunderstandings. As you get familiar with a certain freelancer you can start giving them more open ended specs, as your trust in each other grows.

Then ask for an estimate on how much the work will cost. You can either go fixed price (agree on an exact amount regardless of how long it takes them) or agree a “day rate” which is the amount you pay them per day. Personally I prefer going day rate as it gives you flexibility on increasing/decreasing scope as you go along and I also believe it’s fairer to the freelancer. It’s still important to get an estimate up front even if you go day rate because it helps manage everyone’s expectations.

You’ll need to get them to sign a freelancer agreement/contract which handles getting the copyright and other intellectual property for their work assigned over to you or your company. It also makes it clear that the relationship between you and them is not one of employment but on a freelance basis. Employees can demand certain rights, like a pension, so it’s important to get it in writing that they are not an employee. There are templates online.

The hardest bit is probably finding the right freelancer for the job. Recommendations from other developers are nice. Or going to local game development networking events (if there are any in your area) so you can meet people in person. I’ve never used an online advert, but I don’t see why this shouldn’t be an effective way to hire people as long as you take the precautions outlined in this comment. :)

Hope that helps!

Tim