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Contract or Temp Workers

As part of your hiring strategy, you may want to consider hiring contract workers—such as independent contractors, consultants, or temporary agency workers.

Independent contractors or consultants

As self-employed individuals responsible for their own taxes and benefits such as healthcare, contractors and consultants generally direct their own work based upon a contract they sign. It’s important to clearly document expectations and deliverables in contracts.

These arrangements are often a good fit when:

  • You have project-based work that may be temporary in duration, but requires specific skills. For example, you might need a web designer to help design and launch your website.
  • You want to build your staff’s capacity around a specific skill. As part of their contract, consultants can often build in a capacity-building component.

Since consultants tend to be experts in their field, their rates are often competitively high. So it's always a good idea to ask at least two to three consultants to submit a bid for your project.

Temporary-agency workers

Temp workers are employees of temporary agencies, not your company. Your company pays the agency directly and the agency is then responsible for payroll taxes and benefits such as insurance.

Temp workers are often a good fit when:

  • You need help fast and don’t have much time or capacity to interview—the agency takes care of initial screenings and only sends you candidates that meet your requirements.
  • You need general extra help for a set amount of time (for instance, for vacation relief, maternity leave, seasonal demands or a special project).
  • Your project requires skills that an agency specializes in—common agency specialties include accounting and tax assistance, data entry, record keeping, medical filing, web design, or telephone answering.

Who should you hire?

If you’ve read the definitions above and feel that hiring temporary or contractor help might be right for you, check with the Small Business Administration (SBA) for more details on the legal considerations of hiring.

Get started with SBA's article Should you hire a contractor or an employee?

Need help working with contractors or with other workforce issues? Contact your local American Job Center to connect with a Business Services Representative or other resources that can help.

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