So, you need a squad of seriously talented freelancers. You can go out and grab 'em up at any time, right?

Wrong.

You can't rely on simply running out and finding professional, responsible, and highly-skilled freelancer talent on a whim. Whether you have an immediate need for project completion or not, it will absolutely benefit you and your company to steadfastly build a talented team of expert freelancers in advance.

Never wait until the last minute to have a team of quality freelancers at your disposal. Towards this end, here's a list of our "best practices" for intelligently building your freelancer team ahead of time:

1. Have a budget in mind.

You're trying to build out an entire team of freelancers, so you're going to need to carefully consider the financial capacity of your operation beforehand. What can your business afford? How many freelancers of a certain skill level, experience, and educational background can you pay? Will you need to keep a slightly less qualified freelancer(s) on hand that you can pay less in order to complete simpler jobs?

Setting up your budget ahead of time will make hiring decisions much easier.

2. Outline project types in advance.

A measure that may aid in fine tuning and tweaking your budget, as well as guiding you in hiring efforts, is outlining your projects in advance. Sure, you may not be able to produce a full content calendar in advance, but clearly defining what type of projects your new outsourced team will be working on will aid you in determining the skills your freelancers will need, how efficient they must be, etc. This will help you work out exactly who and what you need. Design for example, or social media work - knowing that helps you plan for specialists.

3. Pay for research.

Important fact: Many of the most seasoned, reliable, and professional freelancers will work a lot better if they've got research to go from. If you're working with freelancers, make sure that the research element is a part of the work you pay for, or even buy research tasks to lay out that kind of background information well before you get a freelancer working on deliverables!

4. Peruse past work and perform skill tests.

Whether work is posted via a website or you have to request it yourself, ensure you have a sufficient number of work samples to judge the quality of the freelancer in question.

Additionally, ensure that you don't just rely on past work alone. If possible, provide your own, specialized skill assessment to the freelancer. This allows you to determine how suitable the work candidate is in relation to the exact project needs of your company.

5. Have your virtual office ready to go.

If you're going to have a substantive team of freelancers, you need to have a virtual office ready, right?

Ensure you've considered the teamwork logistics associated with your new freelancer squad. Do you have a suitable task management platform lined up and implemented in advance? Perhaps you're going to simply communicate through Gmail, but tools such as Skype, Google Drive, Slack, and more should all be considered.

Remember, details matter! However, if you follow the above best practices "to a T," you'll be set up for immediate and long-term success with your new team of quality freelancers.

Published on: Nov 16, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.