Q & A

Contrazoom asks “Freelance subcontractor used to be great, but now becoming less responsive”

About a year ago I started working with a remote subcontractor, who has done some really great work for me since then. It is an ongoing project, and he has been very responsive and easy to work with. The only reason I didn’t offer him a full-time position is that he’s in a different country.

However, in the past month or two he has not been very responsive. I get the sense that he is taking on other clients and projects which are vying for his attention. Some weeks, he only logs 2 or 3 hours on my project.

One thing I am planning to do is to schedule his projects better, so he knows the deadlines for all upcoming tasks.

I also have a small bit of leeway with his hourly rate. I was thinking about giving him a 10% raise, in hopes that would give him a bit more incentive to pay attention to my project instead of the others. Is it a good idea for me to do that pre-emptively, without him asking for it?

Is there anything else I could try that might get this person re-engaged? I can move on to another freelancer if I need to, but would prefer to keep working with this guy.

My Answer

Everyone is human, have a talk to your contractor … say you’ve noticed the recent drop off and were wondering why.

There are many reasons for their lack of attention of which a combination is likely.

  • Bored with project (or there is a more interesting option that has their attention)
  • Looking for more say and influence over the direction.
  • looking in increase scope and skillset.
  • Greater responsibility, perhaps they start running a team of contractors.
  • More money. A new partner, a new child, a new mortgage are all key drivers that may have changed on their side.
  • family/personal issues. Sick, enjoying time with new partner, looking after aging parents. It all happens, it all settles down.
  • their real job is becoming harder. if your a “side line” project then they may have a big project consuming them for a month or so, if that’s the case you may want to wait. I lost a good contractor a few months ago for this, I’m waiting and making do at the moment.
  • (maybe) a small stake in the company or product. Its a good incentive for many, if their hard work pays off it will continue to benefit them in the future.

Make sure to mention you want to keep working with them over other contractors if possible.

Steer the conversation to possible outcomes, if its just a money issue, then would you consider a pay rise. If its life getting in the way then a balance, if its personal growth then how can you help them which also helps you maybe hire another contractor that they guide and manage OR let them start to take more of the requirements and design work.

Mostly the outcomes help both parties, occasionally it just isn’t meant to be, but at least you know to find someone else, and if you’ve considered their situation, they will most likely consider yours and help you find, train and hand over in order to keep you going.

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