Everything you need to know for compliant contracting of AV Freelancers.

5 Ways to Reduce AV Freelancer Costs with a Contracting Service

Posted by Gabe Solomon on Aug 17, 2023 10:45:00 AM

It has become more challenging to find skilled AV freelancers for live events. The pandemic brought about significant changes in producing live events: the mass retiring of highly-skilled freelancers, a shortage of newer freelancers entering the industry, and overall higher labor inflationary costs all around.

At Mertzcrew, we understand how crucial it is for production companies to be able to find and contract AV freelancers who can deliver high-quality results. When quality takes a hit, so does client loyalty and income. There’s an undeniable need to reduce expenses on the administrative side, and that’s where using a contracting service can help. With that in mind, here are five ways to reduce AV freelancer costs by using a
contracting service.

Understanding the Importance of Cost Reduction in Freelancer Management

Cost reduction is a focus of many live event companies, but reducing costs in the wrong way can turn successful projects into projects that disappoint you and your clients. You can’t afford to hire the cheapest freelancers available because the risk is that they won’t have the skills or experience necessary to execute memorable projects that keep your clients coming back for more.

The solution, then, is to look for direct savings in freelance management costs that won’t inadvertently increase your risks. Many live event companies take a DIY approach by cobbling together a simple blanket contract, requiring freelancers to insure themselves, and paying them directly.  This approach may result in reduced costs but it also significantly increases the company’s risk. 

Here are some of the ways that a DIY approach can lead to problems down the line.

  • Blanket contracts are red flags to regulatory bodies.
  • Low-quality insurance coverage can leave the company at risk in the event that coverage is disputed.
  • Direct payments to freelancers make event companies responsible for unemployment claims, child support garnishments, tax lien documentation, and more.

In addition to the increased risk, there’s also the issue of how the DIY approach can increase your costs. While it might seem like a good idea to handle everything in-house, If you’re spending your valuable time handling the details of freelancer management, including drafting contractors, managing freelancers’ time, and generating payments, you’ll have less time for everything else that goes into producing an event.

Working with a contracting service makes it easy to automate and streamline many of the things that can increase the indirect costs associated with hiring freelancers, leaving you with more money to hire the best freelancers available–and more time to produce events your clients will love.

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5 Strategies for Reducing AV Freelancer Costs

If you want to save money on freelancer management, there are multiple cost reduction strategies that you can take advantage of by using a contracting service, including freelance management software, like Mertzcrew.

#1: Stay Within Budget

One of the most beneficial things you can do to reduce AV freelancer costs is to track that you’re staying within your project’s labor budget on an ongoing basis. Accurate tracking allows you to understand your total expenses for the event and can help you identify areas where you may be able to save money.

With the right contracting service and crew management software, you can track the actual cost of hiring skilled freelancers while saving money on the management and compliance side of things. You can identify cost overruns early and alert the client in advance so they are not surprised by higher labor costs later.  This ensures you are delivering the client’s vision within your allotted budget. 

#2: Set Clear Expectations Between the Company and the Freelancers

One of the challenges of working with freelancers is that verbal agreements may not always be captured properly in writing, and that can lead to differing (and sometimes contradictory) expectations for all parties.

Clearly outlining the project’s scheduled days, contracted rates, and payment calculations is necessary to ensure that there are no disagreements when payments are made. This approach also ensures that there are no surprises that could turn an on-track project into an over-budget situation.

#3: Schedule Freelancers and Manage Their Resources

One of the most important things that an event company can do to reduce freelancer costs is make sure that freelancer scheduling is in line with the project’s needs. Some freelancers may need to be involved in the early stages of production while others may need less time to complete their work.

Having the right freelancers scheduled at the right time will help you to create an accurate budget and use your skilled AV freelancers as efficiently as possible.

#4: Improve Management Scalability

Companies that use the small team approach to increase the scalability of their businesses must have the ability to quickly and easily track where their employees and freelancer teams are at any moment.

Using freelancer management software makes it easy to track where your teams are and when they are needed, so you ensure that your projects are properly scheduled. As a result, you can be sure that you’re optimizing your teams’ time and talents and can execute the most complex events at a high level.

#5: Minimize Freelancer Liabilities and Risks

Event production companies that manage their AV freelancers without a contracting service may end up wasting freelancers’ time as well as their own. When freelancers need to provide documents to prove their compliance with insurance requirements every time you hire them, it’s an imposition on them.

With Mertzcrew, contracts and proof of insurance are automatically managed, so time isn’t wasted in admin and paperwork that could better spent on planning the project.

Benefits of Using Freelance Management Software

Here are some of the most important benefits of using crew management software like Mertzcrew:

  • Crew management software streamlines the freelancer management processes, including contract creation, time tracking, and insurance verification. Each of these tasks is time-consuming, but software can help you eliminate repetition and increase accuracy and productivity while reducing your total costs.
  • Software makes it simple to track and monitor freelancer services because freelancers can log their services & expenses for your approval before they submit invoices..
  • Automation is one of the best ways to save money and freelance management software can help you by automating repetitive tasks such as insurance verification. Another way it can save is by reducing the time you spend entering freelancers’ information. You can keep track of your approved freelancers and track their availability, making it easy to find the right freelancers for your project.
  • Freelancer management software can help you streamline and centralize your crews. By knowing where everyone is and what they are doing, you can ensure your projects are executed at a high level.

What to Consider When Using a Contracting Service

Before you work with a contracting service, you’ll need to understand which considerations are the most important. Here are some to consider.

  1. The contracting service’s experience and reputation. You should research any company you’re considering to make sure that they have the experience to help you and a good reputation they’ve earned from helping companies like yours. You can do this by talking to the freelancers themselves and asking for references.
  2. Their success with similar projects. Every production is different and you should talk to any potential contracting service about your specific needs and the types of events you produce. You want to make sure they understand what’s needed and have the ability to support you.
  3. Clear contract terms and conditions. If you’re going to work with a third party to create freelancer contracts and streamline management, you’ll need to verify that they understand how to structure contracts so that all parties are clear on what they need to do—and which terms and conditions to include to avoid disputes.
  4. Assess the service’s ability to handle AV freelancer requirements. Each client and production venue will have its own requirements for crew members working events. You need a contracting service that understands the importance of meeting regulatory and insurance requirements and can give you the tools you need to minimize errors.

Mertzcrew was created with event production companies’ needs in mind. With Mertzcrew, you can do all of the following things:

  • Properly contract, insure, and pay AV freelancers.
  • Easily manage multiple projects and locations with full visibility to crew assignments.
  • Close projects quickly and accurately so that you can invoice your clients faster.
  • Meet new contractors registered with Mertzcrew that could help if an opening occurs in the crew.

Working with a contracting service can help your company reduce AV freelancer costs by streamlining processes, eliminating errors, and saving your valuable time. You can afford to hire the best available freelancers —and that’s essential to building long-term relationships with your clients.

Do you need a contracting service and crew management software to help you manage costs while still delivering high-quality events your clients will love? Mertzcrew is here to help! Click here to read more and schedule your free assessment.

Looking for a cost-effective method to manage your AV freelancers? Access our comparison chart!

Topics: Crew Management & Scheduling