What to Know Before Hiring through a Freelance Marketplace

By MBO Partners | August 10, 2022

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Key Points

Freelance marketplaces, which are online platforms that match independent workers with jobs, are becoming more and more well-liked.

Many marketplaces today simply match clients to contractors.

Marketplaces can help firms match the supply and demand of labor, cut the cost of hiring, and shorten the time it takes to fill a position.

If your organization is not already using a marketplace to source independent professionals, you may be missing out on great talent.

Freelance marketplaces—online platforms that connect independent contractors with projects—are quickly growing in popularity. As many as one in four independent contractors said that they had used a marketplace to find work in the past year, and 33% said they intend to use a marketplace to find work in the coming 12 months.

What are the Benefits of Using a Marketplace to Find Independent Talent?

Marketplaces can help businesses help match the supply and demand of labor, lower recruiting costs, and reduce time-to-fill. However, when evaluating a marketplace, it’s important for companies to proceed with caution. By law, independent contractors cannot be engaged or treated like traditional, W-2 employees. If the IRS or state agencies suspect that workers have been misclassified, your company may be audited.

Whether you’re looking to use a marketplace for the first time or you are already working with a marketplace provider, ask these five questions to ensure you’re gaining the maximum benefit, as well as protecting your company from misclassification risk.

1. Qualification and Vetting: In addition to sourcing, do you perform qualification and vetting services for independent contractors identified for a project?

If the worker you engage as an independent contractor via a freelance marketplace does not meet a myriad of federal and state qualifications, your company will bear the risk of misclassification.

Many marketplaces today simply match clients to contractors. They don’t provide qualification services to ensure that the workers are, in fact, self-employable. As a result, they aren’t enterprise-ready. Independent contractor classification is a complex topic, dependent on many federal and state-level tests, laws, and guidance documents, and enterprises must adhere to these laws—no matter which freelance marketplace they use.

It is therefore very important to do your research and ensure the provider you choose to work with is fully vetting independent contractors. MBO’s marketplace, for example, is the only direct sourcing solution that’s backed by the proven independent contractor compliance vetting and engagement expertise of MBO Partners. MBO offers many different engagement options that are designed to appeal to a broad range of independent work engagements and worker types. Our qualification process is current and extensive. Before a contractor begins work, we offer a thorough due diligence process to ensure compliance with state and federal contractor classification requirements.

2. Onboarding: How are my company’s contractual requirements reflected in the onboarding process?

The onboarding process can often make or break the engagement experience for independent contractors. You have to find that balance between crafting a positive experience, and getting projects up and running quickly. For example, in order to properly manage risk, it is important to ensure that independent contractors you wish to engage meet the necessary insurance requirements.

Independent contractors value freedom, control, and flexibility in their work; a marketplace that provides an accessible system that automates tasks such as onboarding, payment, and engagement documentation can help create that positive experience both for talent and your company.

When independent contractors are satisfied, productivity, and interest in re-engagement increase. MBO’s onboarding process is customized to meet client requirements and ensures those requirements are followed throughout the entire lifecycle of the engagement. Our unique onboarding site educates contractors on the engagement process and accelerates enrollment time, ensuring compliant engagements and a quick start to your projects.

3. Technology: What are your system’s integration capabilities?

Not all marketplaces are able to integrate with existing procurement systems. To avoid incurring additional expenses, dig into the technical capabilities of the marketplace you’re considering. For instance, MBO’s marketplace seamlessly integrates with leading VMS technologies to distribute job postings directly to known talent pools, enabling faster talent identification and engagement.

4. Satisfaction: Does the marketplace offer value-added services and benefits to increase independent contractor satisfaction?

In addition to getting independent professionals to work quickly and compliantly, it is important to make sure that the process is a pleasant experience for both the client manager and the talent.
MBO provides additional value-added benefits for independent contractors, such as access to portable benefits and a dedicated business manager to offer proactive service and advice. Providing independent contractors with back-office support enables a positive engagement experience and sets the precedent for a positive working relationship.

5. Services: Are there any services that continue once the independent contractor completes a project?

Marketplaces tend to disintermediate a direct working relationship between independent contractors and the enterprise. That type of transactional exchange doesn’t always foster a desired long-term collaborative relationship built on trust and cooperation. The marketplace you choose should work to create a growing pool of talent that can expand with your company’s needs. Independent contractors who are satisfied with their client relationships are more likely to return for future work. Re-engagement with proven contractors will save organizations time and money.

With MBO’s marketplace, managers can post opportunities for contractors to immediately respond to, run a search to find talent, or let proprietary algorithms send talent matches to their inbox. By working with a vetted pool of independents, organizations can quickly and easily start projects and re-engage known talent, all with the peace of mind that comes from a compliant, seamless engagement experience.

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