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With Work Market, a freelance management system with a massive database of subcontractors, Tom Voss can click a button and send a job request to freelancers -- and responses start arriving within minutes.
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Voss is CEO of Tech-Americas USA, which is at the cutting edge of the growing freelance global economy. Using the freelance management system, Tech-Americas USA hires workers for organizations such as major retailers, telecommunications providers and security companies.
Voss said Work Market saves him time, money, and a lot of potential aggravation and paperwork in dealing with freelancers. Work Market automates and simplifies the entire hiring and work process, including sending documents to workers and payroll, he said.
"If it is in a populated area, you can generally get a job posted and have it assigned to a worker within 15 minutes," he said. "It is a quick process."
Work Market also can lower costs on certain jobs if Tech-Americas accepts multiple bids and people compete for the work, he said. It also saves the company money by reducing the need for recruiters and managers to handle the freelancers.
Thousands of jobs assigned with freelance management system
Tech-Americas USA, based in Houston, with a dispatch and support center in San Salvador, El Salvador, hires freelance electricians, security technicians or subcontractors for work such as installing a network or rewiring an office with hosted Voice over Internet Protocol. The company hires mostly individuals and sometimes small companies for jobs primarily in the U.S., sometimes Canada and Mexico. Tech-Americas is paid by major retailers and other clients for handling freelancers and overseeing the job.
Tech-Americas uses Work Market for about 75% of the 20,000 to 25,000 jobs it assigns each year, Voss said. Besides selecting the freelancers, Tech-Americas oversees the work, mostly through photos, documentation and communication, and provides support and sometimes materials and parts.
Tools like Work Market reflect the strength of the freelance economy. According to "Global Human Capital Trends 2016," a survey and study by Deloitte Consulting and Bersin by Deloitte, 51% of executives plan to increase or significantly increase the use of contingent workers in the next three to five years.
A 2015 study by the Freelancers Union and Upwork, a global freelancing platform, found that 53 million people, or 34% of the U.S. workforce, had done freelance work in the past year.
Technology a catalyst for freelance growth
The study said technology is a catalyst in the growth of the independent workforce, making it easier for freelancers to find work. A Work Market phone app, for example, is used by almost all the freelancers, providing a faster and more efficient way to view the assignment and accept the job, Voss said.
Once the assignment is confirmed, the freelancer follows any instructions provided by Tech-Americas and any details provided on documents or installation guides attached to the work requests. When the work is in progress or when it is finished, freelancers can submit any documents and photos with the app. They also can submit a request for a budget increase to be reviewed by Tech-Americas.
"The app really streamlines the process," he said. "It is very user-friendly."
Work Market rates freelancers
Voss said he has been in the technology staffing space for nearly 20 years and first began using Work Market in March 2014, so he knows the freelancers well and knows which ones do good work at a good price.
"We generally have a lot of the same technicians we use over and over again in some of the major markets," he said. "Sometimes, we will submit the work on Work Market and then we will call a technician and say, 'We have this job that just posted in case you have not seen it. Can you do it tomorrow?' If they say yes, we will assign it without having to jump through all the hoops."
Voss watches the satisfaction ratings for freelancers on Work Market, as well as the ratings that show if a freelancer showed up at previous jobs on time and is careful to select only the most qualified personnel. He pays a fixed monthly fee to Work Market based on the estimated total amount of work he will assign through the service.
Tech-Americas, which approves the invoices for the freelancers and transfers the money to Work Market, spends about $2 million in payments for freelancers each year with a significant amount of that through Work Market, Voss said.
Freelancers receive their payments from Work Market, along with all their tax forms. "It's a huge help when it comes to handling payments and taxes," he said. "Work Market takes that load off my back."
If companies are just starting to use Work Market, Voss recommended that they set high standards for selecting technicians. He said companies should review a freelancer's record on the freelance management system, not just assign the first applicant.
"It is a great platform but it is an open platform," he said. "Anybody can go in, fill out the correct documents, and prove who they are and go out and do the work. You get good workers and you get bad workers. If you utilize the system to select the workers, then it is a great platform to use."
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