Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to scale your business. Attracting new customers, which used to mean labor-intensive mailing and sales calls, can now be done by providing an online click button. Product development, which once demanded intensive in-house resources, can be done efficiently in the cloud. As a result, your business can grow much faster. But will you have the staff you need to provide top-notch service to your new customers?
Balancing the number of employees with the amount of work is a problem many businesses face. Hiring more employees is a commitment you may not want to make until you have a better idea of flow and demand. In the meantime, you could lose customers to competitors if your services lag behind.
How Contractors Can Help
Sometimes the best solution is to hire contract IT staff. Business owners interviewed for a New York Times small business guide said that independent contractors can be helpful when companies try to increase operations while retaining the flexibility to cut back if necessary. Nowadays, contractors can include anyone from developers to system administrators, help desk analysts, engineers, project managers, directors—or even a CIO.
Even though their hourly rates are higher than those of employees, contract workers are likely to save you money. That’s because you avoid Social Security and Medicare taxes, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, vacation pay, sick pay, and 401(k) matches, not to mention the need for additional equipment and office space. These expenses can easily add 20% to 30% or more to a base salary.
But hiring temporary IT staffers isn’t just about saving money. An Accenture study found that just 39% of executives hired contractors to save on costs, while 64% cited the ability to adjust to changing demand for skills. If you need specific expertise for a project, you can get it quickly through an on-demand hire without worrying about whether you’ll still need that person three months down the line.
Making a Decision
To decide whether you should go with contractors or employees, first crunch some numbers on costs. Then assess your goals. Do you plan to do training and build a team? If so, you should hire employees who reflect the core skills you will need for the next several years.
But for seasonal work, temporary projects, rollouts with an uncertain future, or projects that require skills outside your company’s core competence, contractors might be a more practical way to go. In addition to providing flexibility, they often have years of experience, so you don’t have to train them, and they are responsible for their own licenses and permits.
Be Ready to Seize a Chance
You don’t have to go it alone. One good starting point is a PC Connection Technology Staffing assessment and engagement. PC Connection’s recruitment division will listen to your needs and work to provide you with top-notch talent for your project. Next, PC Connection’s staffing experts offer a cost-effective, timely, and flexible hiring program to provide IT consultants with the right skill sets on an hourly basis and/or contract-to-hire basis.
Even if you don’t have a desperate need for contractors today, you may want to try them out to gauge their abilities and get used to working with them—because you never know when a big business opportunity might come your way and require you to staff up quickly. By developing a solid base of trustworthy temporary staffers, you can always say "yes" to new work.