9 Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Hiring Freelancers

twine thumbnail 9 common pitfalls to avoid when hiring freelancers

At Twine, we believe hiring freelancers is great, fantastic, superb… if you avoid the common pitfalls.

Now, don’t get us wrong, we know how easy it is to fall into them – they’re common for a reason! Unfortunately, like most wonderful things in life, hiring freelancers, and freelance jobs, come with their own set of potential problems.

This is why we’ve created this handy article, so you can hire freelancers with ease. No more falling into those pitfall traps – check out our 9 common pitfalls to watch out for, and how to tackle them.

Pitfall No.1: Magical vanishing acts

We may as well start with the scariest one.

Picture the scene: everything’s going swimmingly. Your freelancer is meeting your business needs, they’re sending you assets on time, and then suddenly – everything stops. Out of nowhere, your freelancer stops responding to messages and starts missing deadlines. Eventually, they drop off the radar completely – money, work, and time disappearing down the drain, leaving you completely clueless…

A total nightmare right?

Fortunately, this doesn’t happen as much as the horror stories would make out.

How to tackle a runaway bride:

Contracts are the solution to making sure your freelancers not only take the work seriously but also actually intend to do it. Also, don’t pay all at once! Give a deposit and use milestone payments when key deadlines are hit.
We have another article on how to get in contact with a freelancer who goes totally MIA, check it out here.

Pitfall No.2: You’re out of control

This isn’t necessarily a pitfall – in fact, it’s part and parcel of hiring freelancers. But, it can sure feel like one if you’re used to having full-time employees!

You’ve got to remember (and accept) that freelance professionals aren’t really part of your company, so they’re unlikely to have the same level of loyalty to the business. They also won’t get the training you probably give to employees.

How to feel in-control:

There’s not really much you can do to avoid this one – but try and make yourself a good client. Your freelancer is going to be more likely to want to do good freelance work if you’re not awful to work for!

Pitfall No.3: Lack of contact

In the world of freelance projects, communication can be a mighty issue to contend with.

The first thing to realize is that you can’t micromanage a freelancer. Again, they don’t work the same as full-time employees, so don’t expect minute-by-minute updates on their progress. We get it – when you’re a manager who wants to know what’s happening at work, at all times, this can be frustrating…

Remember – freelances often work remotely, so time zones and different schedules need to be considered before they can ruin your plans.

How to get back in contact:

If you created a solid contract, then you should have gotten multiple sources of contact information – namely: phone number, email address, etc. 9 times out of 10, they’ll have a social media presence too, so that can also be used to contact them in the event they’re unresponsive elsewhere…

In most cases though, they will get back to you (although they shouldn’t leave it too long). They’re probably just busy with other projects – which brings us to our next point…

Pitfall No.4: You’re not their sole focus

Freelancers are busy bees. The talent pool for freelancing is so large, that in order to compete with the best, they take on multiple jobs online at any one time! This usually makes them excellent time managers, not to mention highly skilled and great under pressure.

Because of this, however, freelancers can’t simply drop everything – immediately – because you’ve demanded an “urgent” revision. They’re not at your beck and call.

In fact, if they’re only working for you all the time you’re heading into dodgy legal territory. To be classified as a freelancer, they can’t be working exclusively for you, so make life easier for both of you and don’t expect it.

How to avoid being a clingy manager:

Set regular and frequent times and dates for meetings. That way, when you set out a timetable, you’re being upfront with what you expect from your freelancer and not making any sudden (unrealistic) demands.

Also, it’s beneficial to use an appropriate freelance platform, so you have the support of the agency behind you if things do start to feel overwhelming. Not to toot our own horn, but Twine vets each pitch and portfolio for approval, so you don’t need to worry about hiring someone who is anything less than the best.

Pitfall No.5: Payment problems

Payment is quite the crucial part of hiring a freelancer, and can easily become one of those nasty freelance pitfalls if you aren’t careful.

You’re going to have to sort out all the nitty-gritty details of payment yourself – you won’t exactly have your freelancer on the company payroll.

The many forms of payment could involve deposits, milestone payments, and even international bank transfers. Depending on your freelancer, who should make you well aware of their payment terms during your initial meeting, will dictate how you pay them.

How to pay – the right way:

Well, plan! Plan, and pay on time. There really is no excuse for being a tardy boss, who struggles to pay their staff – even when they are temporary.

Paying a freelancer is not the time for your inner procrastinator to come out to play. Also, don’t pay less than you promised – you had an agreement for a reason, right? Not owning up to what’s right is a great way to get blacklisted by a freelancer.

Pitfall No.6: Have high standards

The truth of the matter is, people can lie.

At Twine, we make sure to remove anyone from the platform who engages in suspicious activity, promotes spam-like content, or tries to scam clients. However, if you’re in desperate need of a freelancer, you may just simply choose the first freelancer you see, rather than doing a necessary background check.

How to spot the good, from the ugly:

Obviously looking at past work will help a lot here, but even so, you need to be aware. It’ll help to have a list of key qualities you want your freelancer to have – whether they be qualifications, experience, or software. Figure out, in advance, what questions you want to ask your freelancer, so you know they’re the right fit.

Pitfall No.7: Confidentiality issues

If your work is highly sensitive and involves many safety parameters before accessing it, there are certainly confidentiality requirements your freelancer will need to fulfill.

Unfortunately, you may not be able to vet them as thoroughly as you would a full-time hire. So, make sure you take the relevant precautions. A non-disclosure agreement might feel OTT, but if it’s necessary, it’s worth getting freelancers to sign one!

Pitfall No.8: Unclear expectations

This can be a pitfall for both you AND your unsuspecting freelancer.

If you give vague instructions and the project turns out a disaster, you’ve really got no one to blame but yourself – sorry. So, make sure you go in knowing what you want the freelancer to do, ensuring you’ve made everything 100% clear. Oh, and find a freelancer that is super on board with your project – that way you’ll avoid any nasty surprises.

Pitfall No.9: You’re a cheapskate

If you’re paying a ludicrously low amount – check out our freelance rates article for guidance – you should probably expect that the work may mirror this.

Be willing to pay what the work is worth, and have realistic expectations when setting a budget. Don’t keep trying to undercut your freelancer either! Most freelancers have rates and prices they’ve set for a reason and it’s not fair on them if you refuse to pay them properly.


So, these are the 9 most common pitfalls clients tend to fall into when hiring a freelancer. Re-read this article, bookmark it, do whatever you need to do in order to make sure you don’t fall into the depths of client hell. Need any more guidance on hiring freelancers? Check out our other articles on the matter here.

Ready to hire? Our marketplace of over 410,000 freelancers have the skills and expertise needed to skyrocket your business to the next level. From marketers to designers, copywriters to SEO experts – browse the talented bunch here!

Tannah Cantrell

Originally, a freelance painter and writer, Tannah Cantrell is a Digital Marketing Executive at Twine - an online marketplace that helps creative freelancers connect with clients and start building their dream careers.