The hiring dilemma
Contributed by: Berley

For start-up entrepreneurs, the day when you need some expert external help will come. This is when you start thinking about the pros and cons of freelancers vs employees, and if there is any third option?

How you approach this situation may entirely depend upon the unique characteristics of your business. For example, if your business is one where where you don’t have to worry about protecting your intellectual property and only need help from time to time, perhaps at peak periods if it is a seasonal business, then hiring freelancers who are experts in their chosen fields make sense. For example, you may need a freelancer helping you with delivery once a week, and another one helping you to market online a few times a month.

There are also a large percentage of entrepreneurs choosing to start with freelancers and moving to hiring permanent employees gradually. This progression path allows you to adjust your workload, while identifying the areas you need help and get the right person to do the job. It also removes issues associated with employment, such as national insurance contributions.


Apprenticeships are now a popular option among growing businesses; allowing them to get help without paying a high salary. The government also provides some funding to cover some of the training costs, provided that you pay the apprentice at least the minimum wage. The catch is, your apprentice must:

  • Work with experienced staff to learn job-specific skills
  • Attend a college or a training organisation

Beware of fraud

In today’s complex world where one can easily buy a degree for £90 or lie about their work experience, it is essential to protect yourself by taking these proactive steps:

Do a DBS check: Takes about 8 weeks. This will reveal if so the candidate has a criminal record. The standard cost is £26 while £44 for enhanced. You can find out more about DBS checks here.

Test the candidate: consider using a personality test to identify candidates likely to be the best fit in your company and with its culture. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions to test their honesty and integrity, and to check facts they state.

Look at the numbers

Before making any hiring decision, look at the numbers and see how much you want to spend and the revenues you can make out of it; make it a ‘P&L’ exercise. Will hiring an employee double or triple your revenue within 3 months? Does your cash flow forecast allow it?

If you need to discuss the hard numbers with someone, look no further than Berley. We are London chartered accountants specialising in helping companies grow. So give us a call on 020 7636 9094 and talk to us today.