Brendan Shick | Freelance Film, Broadcast, & Digital Media

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Finding the Right Freelancer: 3 Points of Consideration When Hiring

May 25 2012 by Brendan Shick Add Your Thoughts

Anyone who has spent any amount of time pursuing a college degree is undoubtedly familiar with the phrase “School, sleep, friends. Pick two.” The implication is that there is only enough time in a 24-hour day to do so many things well. For many people, college is the first time they realize this. Combine that with all the time college students waste coming up with snappy catch phrases and the slogan is born…

I’ve heard a similar principle applied to freelance work – and it’s particularly important for the client or hiring manager to understand it before selecting, or even looking for, an applicant.

Quality, Speed, Price – Pick Two

Let’s use freelance video editing as a starting point. If you want to find the right person to tackle your project, you need to prioritize. You would like to have a quality product delivered on a short timeline at a low price, but the first step is learning to accept that you will likely only get two out of three.

It is important to realize this before making any decisions. Too often clients have a set budget and a set timeline. They hire the freelancer who promises quick results at a low price, only to find that the results are of such low quality that they can’t be used. That investment is now wasted.

Working under the assumption that quality work is important to any client, there are two paths of foresight that can prevent these disasters from happening. Here’s how to attract that freelancer who will give you a quality project you can actually use:

  1. Increase the budget. Spending more money usually means better results. You can either find a better freelancer this way, buy a higher end package from the same freelancer, or encourage the same freelancer to prioritize your project and get it done sooner.
  2. Allow a longer timeframe. If you’re on a budget and can’t spend more, allow more time for the project to be completed. Good freelancers are in too much demand to take a lowball offer from you if you’re asking for a quick turnaround. But if it’s a short project that doesn’t need completed for a few months, they’ll probably have a sufficient dry spell somewhere within that timeframe to tackle it. If they realize this, they might be willing to take a lower offer. Plan ahead!

From the Freelancer’s Point of View

Keep in mind. If you’re a high-quality freelancer in any field, you charge higher rates because you can. You also turn down lower paying jobs because you don’t have the time to handle them.

As with anything that’s in demand, if you want it sooner, it’s worth more on the market. So if you’re a client looking to hire, plan ahead. Don’t try to find a freelancer on the eve of your project deadline and expect them to work miracles – they might be able to, but it will probably cost extra.


Brendan Shick

Brendan Shick is a freelance DP, gaffer, and sports broadcaster serving primarily the Chicago, IL; Pittsburgh, PA; Grand Rapids, MI; and Fort Wayne, IN, regions. You can find out more by following this blog, his recent work on Vimeo, or by connecting with him on Twitter or LinkedIn. Brendan is also an occasional contributor to the Project Updates feed for one of his most recent films, To Turn Back Time.

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