Charles Brecque

Charles Brecque


March 22, 2024

When To Hire An Employee Vs Consultant (Quick Guide)

Key considerations to help you determine whether you need to hire employees or consultants for your startup business.

When To Hire An Employee Vs Consultant (Quick Guide)

When it comes to hiring an employee versus a consultant, consider:

  • Are you looking for a long-term commitment?
  • Do you require the professional’s undivided attention?
  • Is there expertise needed in-house occasionally or often?

Choosing whether to hire an employee or a consultant is often a tricky decision for business owners. To make an informed decision, you need to understand the difference between the two. This article will delve into the consultant vs employee debate, exploring the benefits and drawbacks of each, as well as offering advice on when to choose one over the other.

Without wasting any time, let’s dive straight in.

Employee vs Consultant (Defining The Roles)

Before we compare hiring consultants versus employees, you must have an understanding of the distinct roles each plays in a business setting. Let’s quickly break these down.

An employee is a person who works under an employment contract for a business. They are tasked with different roles and responsibilities. Employees receive salaries or wages, benefits and have legal protections, such as labour laws and worker compensation insurance.

In contrast, a consultant is an independent contractor who offers specialist expertise or services to a business on a temporary basis. For instance, a consultant may use tools like residential construction estimating software to offer precise project estimates to clients. This type of software, like the one offered by Joist, allows consultants, especially in the residential construction industry, to efficiently manage projects, deliver accurate quotes, and invoice clients. It's worth noting that while such tools can be highly beneficial, they don't come with the same benefits or legal protections accorded to employees. Consultants often work with multiple clients and are paid on a per-project basis. They do not receive the same benefits or legal protections as employees.

Hiring Consultants Vs Employees (Pros & Cons)

Whether you want to hire an employee or engage an consultant, each has their advantages and disadvantages. When weighing the pros and cons of consultants versus employees, here are some important considerations:

Hiring Employees Vs Consultants (Key Benefits)

1 - Long-term commitment

Employees are generally more committed to your business and its goals, as their livelihood depends on the company’s success.

2 - Control

You have direct control over an employee's work, schedule and priorities.

3 - Team dynamics

You can fully integrate employees into the team culture, fostering collaboration and a sense of belonging among key stakeholders.

Hiring Employees Vs Consultants (Potential Drawbacks)

1 - Expenses

Employees are typically more expensive due to salaries, benefits, paid holidays, taxes and other associated costs.

2 - Flexibility

Employees may not offer the same level of flexibility as consultants in terms of work hours, location, or project scope.

3 - Skills gap

Attempting to fill a temporary or specialised skill gap with a full-time employee is often inefficient.

Hiring Consultants Vs Employees (Key Benefits)

1 - Expertise

Consultants bring specialised skills and experience that be unavailable in-house. For instance, if your business is exploring advanced technologies like AI, partnering with a firm specialising in AI consulting, such as RTS Labs, can provide the necessary expertise and insights to drive your projects forward.

2 - Flexibility

Consultants can offer tremendous flexibility in terms of work hours, project scope and duration. This allows businesses to scale up or down as needed.

3 - Cost savings

As you only pay for the services needed and avoid additional employee-related expenses, hiring a consultant can result in cost savings.

Hiring Consultants Vs Employees (Potential Drawbacks)

1 - Commitment

Consultants may have multiple clients and may not be as committed to your business as a full-time employee.

2 - Control

You have less control over a consultant's work, schedule and priorities. This is largely due to the fact that they are often juggling multiple clients.

3 - Team dynamics

As consultants work on a per-project basis, they typically are not around long enough to develop strong relationships with team members and integrate into the company culture. This has the potential to hinder collaboration.

Employee Versus Consultant (Deciding Factors)

When determining whether to hire an employee or a consultant, consider the following factors:

Project Duration & Scope

If the work is temporary, specialised, or requires flexible hours, hiring a consultant may work.


You should consider the costs associated with hiring an employee, such as salary, benefits, and taxes, and compare them to the fees and expenses related to engaging a consultant.

Control & Commitment

You should determine the level of control and commitment you require for the role and whether an employee or consultant would better fulfill those needs.

Skills Gap

If your business needs expertise that is not available in-house or the skillset is needed only occasionally, engaging a consultant may be the most efficient option.

Company Culture & Team Dynamics

You should consider the impact of the role on your team and whether an employee or consultant would better align with your company’s values and culture.

Hiring Employees and Consultants? Try Legislate

Whether you choose to hire an employee or a consultant, managing contractual relationships is a critical aspect of your business operations. With this in mind, you should leverage a contract creation and management platform to streamlines the process of bringing new professionals into the fold. Here are just a few benefits of embracing such as solution:

  • Eliminate the risk of delays in onboarding new employees or consultants.
  • Gain complete visibility across all of your contractual agreements.
  • Create new contacts for employees or consultants in minutes.

Legislate enables you to create, manage and sign agreements in one place. This platform can centralise contract management and enable you to have visibility across all contacts.

Are you ready to hit the ground running? Let’s get started. Book a demo today.

The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.

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