From Sourcing to Payment: Best Practices for Managing AV Freelancers
Posted by Gabe Solomon on May 23, 2023 11:26:39 AM
There’s a lot of work involved in AV freelancer management. When you’re contracting skilled AV freelancers to work an event, you need to source the right people with the right skills for the job, make sure they have all the necessary paperwork including proof of insurance, and that they complete work on time and get paid on time. It’s a lot for anybody to juggle without the right tools.
At Mertzcrew, we have created software for managing audio visual freelancers that allows production managers and operation managers to do everything they need to work seamlessly with freelancers, including an option to allow us to obtain necessary insurance if it isn’t already in place. Here are some best practices for administering the freelancers you work with.
How Do You Source AV Freelancers?
Let’s begin with best practices for sourcing AV freelancers. When you’re producing an event, you need skilled AV professionals who can deliver results that will wow your clients. If you don’t already have a list of vetted freelancers to call on, you may use any one of these methods to find the workers you need:
- Get referrals from your network. You can make calls and send emails or texts to capitalize on your professional network. Many of your colleagues may be willing to share information with you and make referrals to help you book the best AV freelancers for your event.
- Shopping the freelancer forums. There are many online forums where you can search for AV freelancers with the skills necessary to make your event into a success. An example would be LinkedIn. In this scenario, you’ll be competing with other companies for the most skilled workers.
- Partner with a staffing agency. The final option if you’re building a team from scratch is to partner with a staffing agency such as Rhino Staging to find the workers you need, although in this case you’ll be required to pay a fee to the staffing agency, something that will add to your administrative expenses.
We think that getting referrals is the most affordable way to go and we would recommend it as a best practice if you don’t already have your own list of freelancers to draw on. One of the features we have built into Mertzcrew is the option to make and maintain a list of skilled AV freelancers that you can access at any time. By keeping track of the AV freelancers you have already worked with, you can remove the guesswork from sourcing skilled freelancers and make the process of staffing an event quick and easy.
How Do You Effectively Pay AV Freelancers?
Paying freelancers requires a multi-step process that begins with collecting W-9 forms and ends with paying an invoice. It’s essential to have the right practices in place to minimize the risk of making an error and maintain good relationships with your AV freelancers by paying them in a timely manner.
Collect W-9 Forms
The best practice for collecting W-9 forms is to do it the first time you engage a new freelancer. That way, you can keep the W-9 form on file and refer to it as needed. You should also make clear to your freelancers that if any relevant information changes, you will need an updated W-9 from them. Two examples might be if they get married and change their last name or move to a new address.
It’s always a good idea to have a formal contract with each freelancer you contract, spelling out the work they are expected to do and how much you will pay them. Mertzcrew automatically drafts compliant contracts and keeps track of signed contracts for approved freelancers.
Track Freelancers’ Time
Tracking freelancers’ time is a must because it will help you to quickly verify invoices once they are submitted. Ideally, you should use a freelancer management software solution like Mertzcrew, which makes it simple to assign work and track time as work is completed.
Each freelancer should submit an invoice for payment. Using a crew management solution like Mertzcrew can help freelancers submit invoices directly to you and allow you to review, approve, and pay invoices in a timely fashion.
Paying freelancers on-time and accurately is a must, and is especially important for building trust with freelancers who you may contract again. Mertzcrew simplifies the payment process, making it easy to pay approved invoices.
There are multiple payment methods to choose when paying freelancers. Some may prefer an easy online payment using a peer to peer payment app such as PayPal or Venmo. Others may prefer a check, wire, or ACH transfer. It’s rare, but some freelancers may prefer a credit card payment. You have the option to use an accounting system such as Gusto or QuickBooks, or you can choose crew management software like Mertzcrew to take care of it for you.
Create and Send 1099 Forms
The final step in the payment process is to create and send 1099 forms to contracted AV freelancers. 1099 forms report the amounts you’ve paid to the IRS and help freelancers file their taxes. Mertzcrew can take care of 1099 filings and make them available to the freelancers you engage.
What Are the Benefits of Using Management Software for AV Freelancers?
There are significant benefits to using freelance management software like Mertzcrew to manage your AV freelancers. Here are some to consider:
- Using freelance management software saves time and drives efficiency. Instead of juggling multiple spreadsheets or maintaining paper records, you can store all relevant documents in the same place.
- Easy onboarding and compliance. Crew management software like Mertzcrew makes it easy to collect necessary tax forms, draft compliant contracts, and collect (or even obtain) insurance for your AV freelancers.
- Accurate invoicing and payments. Using freelance management software allows freelancers to submit invoices and for you to verify and pay them quickly.
- Better budgeting and financial forecasting. Every event needs a budget, and using Mertzcrew can help you calculate expenses associated with AV freelancers to build your budget and allocate resources.
- Improved communication during events. Choosing software that facilitates and streamlines communication will eliminate wasted time and confusion, making for an efficient and successful event.
- Build a reliable pool of freelancers to re-engage in the future. With software like Mertzcrew, you can easily create a pool of skilled and reliable freelancers that you can call on for future events.
These benefits make it clear why freelancer management software like Mertzcrew is a good investment that can help make your company more profitable in the future.
What Makes a Good AV Freelancer Management Tool?
If you decide to invest in a freelancer management tool to help you book quality freelancers, it’s important to know which features and functions are most important. Here are the things we’d recommend:
- It should automate manual tasks related to freelancer management, including onboarding, insurance, contracts, tax forms, and payments. With Mertzcrew, you can do more than collect insurance information. We offer the only crew management software that will provide insurance to freelancers who don’t have it.
- It provides you with reliable data about how your freelancers are performing. You should be able to assign roles, create schedules, track freelancers’ time, and so on. The ideal software solution is one that puts every task related to freelancer management in the same place for your convenience.
- There is robust customer service in place. You need help when you need it, not on somebody else’s schedule. The solution you choose should have multiple avenues to get help, including customer service and technical support. With Mertzcrew, you’ll get concierge service to get you and your team up to speed quickly and provide support along the way.
Choosing freelancer management software that allows you to maintain a list of skilled AV freelancers, ensure that their paperwork is compliant, and run events from the planning stage through to their successful execution is the ultimate best practice.
Implement Best Practices for AV Freelancer Management with Mertzcrew
Implementing the best practices that we have outlined here will help you plan, staff, and produce engaging events that your clients will love. The right crew management software can help you at every step of the way.
Do you need a crew management solution that works for you? Mertzcrew can help! Click here to schedule a free 15-minute assessment call where we’ll discuss your needs, the benefits of using Mertzcrew, and how we can help you book quality AV freelancers, reduce administrative costs, and execute your best AV project.
Topics: Crew Management & Scheduling