Business is good, and you decide it's time to get some extra hands on deck. You don't want to the added headache of bringing on another employee, and you figure hiring a freelancer is an effective way to get the help you need -- without having to deal with payroll, benefits, and all of that other pesky administrative stuff.

That's great! Working with a freelancer is an awesome opportunity to get high-quality work done, while also establishing a beneficial professional relationship.

But, if you've never hired a freelancer to work with you before, there are a few things you should know -- before you ever so much as post a job ad.

1. Stay away from platforms.

Yes, there are plenty of platforms out there that have a slew of eager freelancers just waiting to bid on projects like yours. At first glance, they seem appealing. You can get a web developer or a writer for $2.50 per hour? What a deal.

But, ask yourself this: What quality of work or level of experience do you think you'll get for that meager amount of money?

There are absolutely high quality freelancers buried on those sorts of sites. However, many experienced freelancers stay far away from them, as they know that the platform will take an oftentimes hefty cut of their earnings.

That means it's going to be difficult for you to separate the wheat from the chaff and find the gems that might be buried there.

Instead, you're better off posting a job ad on various freelancing job boards and waiting for the applications to come rolling in.

No, you probably won't find candidates who are willing to be paid a measly $2.50 per hour. But, you're sure to attract more high-quality freelancers this way than you would have on those pay-to-play platforms.

2. Know that you'll have to pay reasonably.

While we're on the subject of compensation, it's time to face the facts: If you want to work with a top-notch freelancer, that's going to require a bit of an investment. The word "free" might appear in the name, but freelancers still definitely expect to be paid.

Not paid with exposure. Not paid with opportunity. Not paid with relationships. They need to be paid with cold, hard cash.

Remember, freelancing is this person's livelihood. And, while that doesn't mean that you should have to stomach a rate that's way outside of your comfort zone, you do need to be reasonable with your payment expectations.

If you're not in a position where you're prepared to pay them fairly for their work, then you're probably not in a position to be working with freelancers at all.

3. Be prepared to share details.

You find a freelancer you'd like to work with, and then you immediately ask him about the rate he'd charge for your project. The only problem? You've given him absolutely zero details.

What timeline are you planning on? What are your goals with this project? What other requirements do you have?

This is all important information for the freelancer to know -- not only so that he can quote a more accurate rate, but also so that he can complete the project to meet with your expectations.

Don't put the cart before the horse and begin looking for a freelancer before you even really know what you're looking for. That will only cause confusion for all parties involved.

4. Understand the laws.

One of the reasons you want to hire a freelancer is to avoid any administrative headaches. But, that doesn't mean that there are no rules for you to abide by.

If you truly classify that person as an independent contractor, that means there are certain things you can't do -- such as dictating the hours that the freelancer is required to work.

Make sure that you're up to speed on the relevant employment guidelines so that you can avoid getting yourself in any hot water by incorrectly classifying a worker.

Working with a freelancer can be a great step for your business. Make sure that you understand these four key tips, and you're sure to make that relationship successful.

Published on: Apr 24, 2017