One of the things that I have learnt over the past few years is that any successful project has been one that has delivered the project on track and on budget. One of the bigger issues over the past two years is that the project remained profitable for the business to undertake but cost effective for the client to do.
There is often a gap in the market but some of the platforms I’ve seen regularly that have helped bridge this gap are Freshbooks, Raventools, eLance and BaseCamp and this article seeks to explain their benefits for managing contractors.
FreshBooks Supports Contractors
Easily track their timesheets - Freshbooks allows you to invite your contractors into your projects and it will track their time on your projects from within their own Freshbooks account, but you will see all time entries from all contractor in one place.
Receive all contractor invoices in one place - To simplify your business you can now easily under stand which client owes which contactor and how much. No need to worry about handling multiple invoices and different formats you can have all your contractors invoice you within Freshbooks.
Turn contractor time sheets into expenses - You can easily re-bill your clients at your rate but instantly turning a contractors timesheet into a Freshbooks expense.
Freshbooks protects client information - As contractors are sharing your projects and not your client information they are unable to see your re-bill rates, client list or sensititive information. This ensures your business model is protected and you can have piece of mind in using contractors.
Freshbooks supports Team Members
You can elect to add Contractors or Staff to your account depending on what tasks or roles they need to undertake within your company. You can add as many contractors as you want and they are able to use the free version of Freshbooks to track project time and invoice you. The staff feature behaves differently as they share your Freshbooks account and can be permitted to create & send invoices and estimates, run reports and manage client and projects. You can set your staff members hourly billing rate and also what projects they are assigned to which makes it suitable for higher level contractors and part-time staff. You can learn more about how you can streamline your projects and cashflow by reading my article on cloud hosted billing & invoicing solutions.
RavenTools is built for Contractors
RavenTools is a great SEO platform for businesses who are needing to integrate data from a number of sources to make the best possible decisions and need to report via a centralised platform. It allows easy integration into BaseCamp to make project management easy while offering the control you need on your team while reducing duplication of work between contractors and staff. RavenTools also offers the ability to publish your content direct to your WordPress blog to ensure your new content created on eLance can go live once your contractor has delivered it.
RavenTools offers 3rd Party Support
- Google Analytics
- Google AdWords
If required for projects it is possible to offer easy white labelling of RavenTools but also sub-user access to ensure your contractors are able to access individual components of your web marketing campaign. RavenTools benefits as it helps monitor the tasks being undertaken by the contractor but also offer a level of transparency for the client on what tasks are being undertaken as part of the project.
eLance can Manage Contractors
I have already outlined in a previous post that you can hire article contractors on eLance to create the content based on your RavenTools reports but you can also use the same platform to manage your own contractors. This allows you to manage and pay all your contracts in a single platform and any contractor you bring onto eLance will receive a 22% discount on their service fee. To make outsourcing more scalable and ensure consistency you are able to set payment terms for your contractors:
- Hourly rate of pay
- Contract will earn (after elance fee)
- Hours authorised to work each week
- Duration of the project
To make it suitable for larger projects you are also able to change the elance contractor payment terms to fixed price and also you can setup additional options such as job name and purchase order number that will show on all invoices by the contractor. The advantage of using eLance to manage contractors is that you given another alternative to Freshbooks to manage your projects if you don’t require as much transparency or accountability on the task undertaken. It’s worthwhile looking at eLance for managing contractors if you want the most simple platform for managing your outsourcing projects.
BaseCamp manages Projects
BaseCamp works in with platforms such as Freshbooks and offers business a simple and clean way to collaborate with your team but also to manage your projects. You are given two options for integration with Freshbooks and BaseCamp:
- You are already tracking time to your projects within Basecamp
- You want to take advantage of time tracking features within Freshbooks
Basecamp is an easy and cost effective way for business to work with contractors where effectively communication is vital and tracking tasks outstanding and those completed are needed to be constantly updated for clients. The centralised feedback, ability to meet deadlines, assign new tasks and share relevant project files will keep your clients happy and your project on track. If you are working with multiple languages due to client locations or outsourcing resources don’t worry as Basecamp is designed to work in dozens of popular languages. If you specialise in a particular industry or service then it is possible to save yourself time and re-use templates on similar projects.
Keep projects on track and on budget
So reduce stress, increase productivity and discuss any project issues openly with cloud hosted platforms like BaseCamp, ensure accurate accounts via billing platforms like Freshbooks, focus on SEO/Social with RavenTools and create/source resources via eLance.