The term “gig” used to be reserved for hopeful rock stars and musicians looking for an empty stage to occupy. But the rise of the on-demand economy (affectionately referred to as “the gig economy”) has redefined the term and applied it to any worker making their living off of short-term assignments, or “gigs.” And it’s more common than you think.
According to Intuit, nearly 3.2 million contract workers occupy the American workforce today–that’s about 20 percent. However, those numbers are expected to double within the next four years. Intuit’s VP of Self Employed Solutions reportedly wouldn’t be surprised if the actual stat landed somewhere north of 50 percent. If that’s the case, by the year 2020, more than half of the American workforce will be comprised of on-demand workers.
What does this mean for business owners? Time is changing. The growing number of employees prefer to work as freelancers or contract workers–and managing those employees can be a complicated feat. There are serious legal ramifications for misclassifying contract workers as employees (or vice versa), and finding accurate payroll solutions suddenly got a whole lot harder.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools on the virtual market intended to help business owners navigate the gig economy waters. From finding freelancers to tracking time and crunching numbers–there’s a tool for you.
1. Work Market
Work Market hosts a massive freelance marketplace for virtually any industry. Recruit contract workers for your on-demand workforce, migrate your own contractors onto Work Market, and manage them all from one simple dashboard. Work Market’s detailed worker profiles and comprehensive verification tools ensure you’re finding the perfect person for your gig–and their screening tools guarantee freelancer credibility.
Pay your freelancers instantly and automatically, directly through Work Market, using the method that works best for you and your business. When the job is done, rate your workers in terms of timeliness and performance. Work Market takes the work out of finding on-demand talent.
Chances are, Intuit is a name you’re already intimately familiar with. They’re the brains behind QuickBooks and TurboTax, and they know just what it takes to run a small business. So if you’re looking to scale your on-demand manpower, look no further than Intuit Workforce. The Intuit platform allows you to find and interview the best possible people for the job, and because Intuit abides by industry-standard services, you’ll never have to worry about being non-compliant.
Perform in-depth background checks, send legally binding e-signatures, and create custom tests or training courses for your newly recruited on-demand workers. With the power of Intuit at your fingertips, you can “launch new markets anywhere.”
Upwork allows you to find freelancers in a vast array of industries, collaborate within their secure online workplace, and pay your on-demand workforce under the safety net of Upwork Payment Protection (you only pay for work you approve). But what really sets them apart is the ability to build an online team. And for businesses that need a BIG team, there’s Upwork Enterprise.
Using Upwork Enterprise, you can easily find and hire freelancers, train and onboard your new hires, and benefit from the assistance of Upwork’s “white-glove” services. In short, it’s “your end-to-end contingent workforce solution.”
The hardest part of adapting to the gig economy is adapting to the fact that your on-demand employees are literally on-demand–meaning they might never make their way into your physical office. Fortunately, project management tools like Basecamp make it easy for any team (no matter how far-flung) to collaborate.
Assign projects and tasks, schedule regular check-ins, and set hard deadlines for the team to follow. Loop clients in on specific projects, work in groups, and instantly see what your workers have been up to. Basecamp makes working together easy.
*If the initial cost is a little outside your wheelhouse, or you want to test the waters, check out Freedcamp, the free version of its paid predecessor.
Take on-demand project management one step further with Teamwork, a comprehensive way to collaborate with your entire team and your clients, in real time, from any device. On top of that, Teamwork is designed to seamlessly integrate with the tools you’re probably already using–tools like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box.com–which means organizing your on-demand workforce (and, let’s face it, your business) has never been so easy.
TSheets is the Swiss Army Knife of time tracking software, and it’s making the advent of the gig economy a lot easier to swallow. With more than 1,500 five-star reviews in the Intuit app store, there’s no doubt that you’ll love TSheets too.
With TSheets, your on-demand workforce can clock in from any device; anytime, anywhere and under any job code. The “Who’s Working” features allows you to see exactly who is on the clock (and when!). Automated GPS tracking means you can find your freelancers with the click of a button.
Extensive reporting ensures that you’re sending each and every one of your on-demand workers an accurate paycheck, and faultlessly accurate time tracking allows you to see exactly how your people are spending their time. After all, studies show that accurate time tracking can save your business thousands of dollars per year–which means you can’t afford not to track time! The best part? TSheets integrates seamlessly with the payroll software you’re probably already using–so you can pay your freelancers with precision and ease.
Gigs aren’t just for rock stars.
With these tools in your toolkit, you can rock the gig economy. As the freelancing trend continues to grow, so will your opportunities to use new tools–to work smarter, not harder. Don’t let the opportunities slip away. Take advantage of these tools and set the stage for success.