Innovative New Ways Businesses are Using Independent Contractors

Sarabeth L.

Servable Freelance Writing Team Member

4 Minutes

Reading Time

This 4-minute article will help you learn about the new ways various types of businesses are using independent contractors to get more done while lowering costs.

Today, more business leaders are hiring independent contractors in new and unique ways.

A growing number of businesses are finding ingenious ways to tap freelancers to complete complex projects. For many businesses, jumping over the hurdle of 1099s or finding dependable freelancers seems like too much to handle. Why bother with all that? 

If you’ve ever watched Shark Tank, you know that making money should be the end goal of every business. According to data in the Intuit 2020 Report, smart business leaders are starting to see that they can reduce fixed labor costs (and capitalize on the wealth of specialized skills that freelancers have!) by contracting independent workers.

The model for hiring independent workers does not fit one mold. People are doing some interesting things. For example:

Companies like Panacea, a high-end furniture and décor rental company in Austin, TX, have realized that they can grow faster and leaner by contracting on-demand teams. Instead of spending 4 hours of admin work to get a delivery crew scheduled, coordinated and paid for a one-off delivery, Panacea can now send service requests—much like sending a request for a car from Uber or Lyft—to secure an on-demand team. This "on-demand" workforce has empowered the business to continue their rapid growth with much lower logistical overhead, and they're now taking on more client projects, and bigger client projects.

It’s similar for a popular taco catering company in San Francisco. By creating a private on-demand delivery team, the restaurant doesn’t have to pay drivers an hourly rate to sit around during daytime lulls, and they no longer struggle to figure out which driver will fulfill every delivery opportunity. Instead, they’ve automated their process of coordinating independent contractors using these private teams, enabling them to scale their business without wasting time coordinating workers one by one.

Where are all these independent contractors coming from?

The  number of independent contractors in the US economy is growing quickly, in large part because millennials value flexibility in how they are employed. The Intuit report (linked above) estimates that 40% of the US workforce will be working as independent contractors by 2020, led by millennials. As most industries are disrupted and mobile becomes king, traditional industries—such as newspapers and media companies—have to adjust to stay competitive.

A weekly newspaper in Texas is a great example of this phenomenon. The newspaper has assembled a team of freelance writers instead of maintaining a centralized newsroom, effectively creating a private on-demand source for local articles. This drives efficiency way up, enables the newspaper to increase quantity of content, and lowers costs for the newspaper as they reframe their business model in the digital age.

No one ever said progress would be easy.

It's undeniable that there are some new and interesting ways that businesses are making progress and minimizing costs by hiring independent contractors. 

Of course, no business leader wants to create new problems. Using independent contract workers brings the added factors of 1099 reporting, automation, and how to find trustworthy workers. While managing freelance workers might seem tedious at first, there are some amazing new tools that make it nearly effortless. 

But, before you research the new tools that help businesses manage freelance workers, it's important to understand the big picture. Specifically, you should understand the concept of a Trust Spectrum to help ensure you always choose the best person to do each task you need done. Fortunately, we cover that exact topic in this next article.