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Building quality relationships with freelance signage installers: how & why it matters?

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Building relationships with each other is a crucial human need. And the wide-format print industry is no exception. When you hire employees, you want to treat them with respect and dedication and get the same attitude in return. When you manage a freelance installer your firm doesn't ultimately employ, the processes and expectations could be different. 

Freelance installers are just as valuable as full-time employees, and print companies should treat them as such. Here's how you can get the most out of your sub-contractor relationship.

State Your Expectations And Deadlines Clearly

It's a good idea to create a brief for each job that specifies what exactly you need and when. By sharing all the relevant information such as wall sizes, materials, and locations with your installers in an easy to access format, you maximise the chances for job success. Ensure that they can check any specifics before and during the installation job without asking you each time.

It's also critical to offer context for freelancers. Telling them how you feel about the job and why it’s important will help them enhance their performance and strengthen your bond. It may be as easy as devoting five minutes after job completion to review what went well and what could have been better. Treating them as valuable members of your team ensures that the finished result you receive is up to your standards and fulfils your and your client’s requirements.

When a freelance installer provides work that isn't up to standard, it's sometimes because they didn't get precise requirements from the very beginning. Your project will go much more smoothly and faster if you communicate all the details and job specifics right away, helping them to get onboard with an industry-specific tool.

Provide Freelance Signage Installers with All the Necessary Resources

A freelance sign fitter needs to have a thorough grasp of your organisation to produce their best work possible. It covers your customers, team members, and the purpose of the signage they’re installing for this particular job, as well as your preferred methods. The more information you can give them upfront, the better. 

Don’t neglect the business side of the job. You never know what information may become crucial for delivering the best work to your end customer. Your freelancers will be more likely to work with you in the future if you make the job information easily accessible for them and keep them updated when things inevitably change.

Interactive communication with your team and installers on a single platform will add a personal touch and establish confidence. By placing everyone in the same conversation, synchronised with the availability calendar, task management, and files storage, you will remove the need to switch between emails, chats, and endless phone calls.

Show Them How Much You Value Them

It's critical to show your freelance signage installers how much you value them. Let someone know if they've done an outstanding job. If a freelancer helps you out of a problem by taking on a last-minute project, make sure to thank them. For freelancers, small details like these may make a significant impact. 

Of course, leaving a good review for a freelancer who did excellent work is a great way to express your gratitude.
The feedback that highlights their impact and describes how they met or surpassed your expectations will help them acquire future business and would be much appreciated. In exchange, provide them with an option to submit feedback on their experience working with you. As a result, you'll build a feedback loop in which all perspectives are considered, ensuring that your signs and graphics installations are continually improved. It will also be a good base for future cooperation. Treat freelancers well, and they’ll always be there when you need them!

Read more on building partnerships with freelance installers & growing your personal network in our 5-steps guide.

Deal With Problems Quickly

Wide-format print work issues can add a lot of stress to your life. Often, a lot needs to be done in short timeframes. As you spend so much of your time at work, it's critical to address those issues early on to maintain your mental and emotional wellness. Watch for where you can optimise your processes and reduce manual work.

When dealing with a problem like costly site revisits or installation mistakes, react quickly and be direct. When you disagree with a freelance installer, don't be evasive. It's generally simpler to deal with a problem as soon as it arises rather than stew over it or wait until it affects others (i.e. the client sees it!). Clearly communicate your position to your freelance sign fitters and guide them in the right direction.

Make Working With Freelance Signage Installers Easy

Managing signage installations on a whiteboard
Managing all installations on a whiteboard might become messy & inefficient. Instead, make all the data available to everyone via a digital board.

Keeping track of signage and graphic installations may become a nightmare without proper planning, preparation & tools. Signage & print industry-specific workflow management software can save significant time and resources for both installation project managers and freelance graphic installers. You can efficiently plan your work and prevent costly mistakes by making some small but important changes. 

For example, group your jobs by projects and categories based on the type of installation or each specific client campaign. Keep track of all the ongoing signage installations on a single calendar board. This way, you can control every job and see each installer’s workload and availability when last-minute installations come up. Try minimising the number of calls needed and make all the key information available to everyone who needs it in one place

Whatever industry-specific tool you use, you’ll see your working relationships with your freelancer installers improve, your projects delivered faster, and your team's workload decrease.

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