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Consultant vs Contractor vs Employee: Whom to Hire?

Published on

December 10, 2021

5 Min Read

Consultant vs Contractor vs Employee in Marketing: Whom to Hire?

According to a recent Harvard Business School report, 60% of business leaders expect full-time employees to play less of a role in their future teams. And the alternative? Outsourced talent — or a blend of in-house staff and external help.

The precise balance will change from business to business and from team to team. Yet, the message is clear: outsourced marketing consultants, contractors, and employees may all have a place in your startup, scaleup, or established brand. Your task involves the delicate art of knowing which is right to hire, and when.

We’re here to help. In this article, we’re exploring all the differences between consultants, contractors, and employees. And we’ll let you know the pros and cons of each of these professionals when building your marketing team from scratch.

Consultant vs Independent Contractor vs Employee: The Key Differences

Contractors, consultants, and employees all have a role to play in the modern enterprise. But what precisely are the differences between them?

In brief, employees provide dedicated in-house support across tasks. Contractors, on the other hand, are on-demand external hires, who deliver services on a project basis. That’s true of consultants too, who are simply contractors offering strategic guidance.

However, be clear which you are taking on before you hire, though — as there’s an important legal difference between contractors and employees, based on:

With that out of the way, whom to hire?

When to hire an employee?

First up, employees tend to have permanent roles. And, as an employer, you’ll usually have exclusive access to their skills and a big influence over how they spend their work hours. 

That’s all great if you need longer term support, but less good if you need just an extra pair of hands on a specific project.

When is it best to hire an employee?

When you’ll need a contractor

Contractors, meanwhile, can be anyone that sells your business a specific service or deliverable – for example, a freelance writer or a marketing advisor.

As a result, they’re usually highly-specialised, and come ready to deliver. That means you need to offer no training and relatively little onboarding. 

You could benefit from a contractor include when:

When to hire a consultant

Consultants are contractors that can also help you solve strategic problems – not just deliver the goods.

You can benefit from a consultant if:

Building a Marketing Team with Employees vs Contractors: The Pros and Cons

In established businesses, consultants, employees, and contractors all have their uses — and they often work in tandem. But when you’re building your marketing team from scratch at an early-stage business, what’s best? Contractors or employees? 

Here are some pros and cons of each to bear in mind.

The perks of building a team with contractors and consultants

The downsides?

Employee-based teams: The benefits

The drawbacks?

Conclusion: Blending Consultants and Contractors with Employees

So, what will it be — consultant, contractor, or employee? Ultimately, that’ll depend on your marketing needs and preferences. 

Remember, though, there’s nothing stopping you combining in-house staff with outsourced talent. In fact, by blending the reliability of employees with the flexibility of contractors, you get the best of both worlds.

At Traktion, we can connect you with some of the world’s best marketing talent. All of the freelance marketers in our network are vetted and verified. We’ll match you to the right fit. Get started today. 


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