For more and more companies, taking on freelancers just makes sense. Not only are freelancers alive and thriving with the entrepreneurial spirit, they also have work-ready talents with specific skills that can be used for new and isolated projects. From social media expertise to content writing, freelancers can help a brand boost themselves to the next level. While the best kinds of freelancers can deliver on projects that your team has little experience in, the worst can cost you time, money and even your reputation.

To ensure that you’re getting the most out of your freelancers and that they’re producing the best work, here are these 5 tips to keep in mind.

Be Clear When You Communicate

It’s crucial to take your employer-freelancer relationship seriously. With a strong partnership, you and your freelancers can meet or even exceed your initial expectations for a project. As the employer it’s here that setting clear and honest expectations from the outset will be vital to the success of a freelancer’s work. It’s not uncommon for potential hires to oversell themselves and indicate that they’re more qualified for a position than they actually are. You’ve likely experienced this scenario and its frustrations on your own, but also understand they’re salvageable scenarios. In most cases it isn’t too much of a big deal for employers. They can train and mold regular employees to their needs. But, with freelancers, you will need their expertise to be sharp and ready from the get-go. Especially because you won’t have time to train them.

As such, it will be key for you to sit down with a potential freelancer and fully disclose and discuss your needs. Be honest, detailed and clear about your expectations. If you don’t do this, it’s likely your freelancer’s work will, in the end, underwhelm you. Make sure that your freelancer has a full comprehension of the work that you expect and that you are certain that they can meet those expectations before ever putting them on a big project.

Draw Up A Contract That Indicates Clear Deadlines and Expectations

Fingers crossed no problems arise when your freelancer is working on your project. However, in case they do, you’ll want to make sure that you protect your interests by drawing up a contract. More than just giving you a sense of security, though, a contract can be a great way to define your project expectations to your freelancer. Having deadlines and standards written out and outlined will make it easier for the two of you to refer to should any confusions come up.

Pay For The Project, Not The Time

Instead of focusing on project time, focus on delivery. It’s a very different sort of management than the typical 9-5 work structure, but paying a freelancer based on a project will likely deliver the optimum results you want. Plus, it’ll likely save you costs in the long run.

Once you’ve decided to pay for a project instead of time, talk with your freelancer about their assignment and the expectations you have for it. Hiring a freelancer who is open to a paid project as opposed to an hourly pay rate, will likely help you to get a project done faster and more precisely. Consider how long it should take your freelancer to complete a deadline and give them some leg room for a completion date. Remember a missed hard deadline can stir up quite a bit of complication.

Any time a change occurs that will affect a freelancer’s work, you might be asked by the freelancer to tack on an extra payment. As such you should make sure that that you discuss any changes in the terms of the project right away.

Treat Your Freelancers Like They’re Part of The Same Team

Pushing for team morale extends to your freelancers too. Even workers who prefer the independence of a freelance gig like to feel included in teamwork. Just like regular employees, freelancers are more likely to stick around and feel a sense of loyalty to a company if they feel personally invested. Enforce that two-part sense of reliability by building a good working relationship.

For first time freelancers, start building a relationship by giving a modified version of your first timer initiation efforts. Instead of just launching them off into a project explain the ethos, vision, and heart of your company. Introduce them to your team and help them to understand the importance of the projects they will work on and explain how it relates to the wider objectives of your business. Remember, be sure to treat in-house and remote workers like they are part of the staff as much as possible and appropriate.

Give An Incentive To See A Finished Project All The Way Through

Finding out a freelancer is checking out can be a nightmarish scenario in itself, but discovering that they’re doing so mid-project can be a complete disaster. Especially when they’ve decided to leave in the midst of a longer term project that was looking like it would be pretty successful. To avoid getting ditched at the last minute, give your freelancers an incentive to stay. For important launches and projects, whose deadlines you can’t afford to pass up, loop in a bonus to encourage them to stay on until the very end.