Pros and Cons of Using a Freelancer Platform vs. Using a 1099 Subcontractor

Perform a basic Google search and you’ll find numerous freelancer platforms. Some of the most popular options include Upwork, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, Simple Hired, and Toptal. These freelancer platforms are home to thousands of freelance workers ready and willing to take on business tasks and assignments. If you are considering hiring a freelancer from a web-based freelance platform, know that this is not your only option. In some cases, using a 1099 subcontractor may be the better option. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of a freelancer platform compared to a 1099 subcontractor.

Freelancer Platforms


  • Access to a large number of freelancers. What makes freelancer platforms so popular is that they are chocked full of talent. You will discover freelancers from all over the world who have expertise in different areas of business.
  • Cost-effective services. While freelancers have the right to charge whatever price they see fit based on the job, most freelancing services are very affordable. When hiring a freelancer from a freelancer platform, note that the platform may take a percentage of the freelancer’s earnings.
  • Maintain a low financial risk. When you hire a freelancer from a freelance platform, you will likely have protection against sub-par work. This means that if you are unsatisfied with the work, you will not have to pay for it.


  • Unpredictable quality of work. As previously mentioned, you cannot always determine what the quality of work will be when you hire a freelancer. This means you may waste time having to find a new freelancer to redo the work.
  • Lack of training. As freelancers are essentially independent contractors, they will not receive the same level of training as a regular employee.
  • Less control and supervision. Freelancers work on their own terms which means you will have minimal control and supervision.

1099 Subcontractors


  • Greater reliability. Unlike a freelancer who tends to work for multiple clients at one time, subcontractors usually work for one client full-time for a set period of time.
  • Expertise in specialized areas. While some freelancers specialize in certain areas, many are jacks of all trades. Subcontractors, on the other hand, tend to specialize in certain areas.
  • Act as an employee test drive. If you are considering whether or not to hire a permanent employee, consider hiring a 1099 subcontractor first to see if you really need another set of hands or if you can get by without a new hire.


  • Higher legal risks. As freelancers tend to work remotely, you don’t have to worry about them getting hurt on your property. Subcontractors may need to be physically onsite which can increase the risk of legal issues.
  • Availability can be limited. As subcontractors tend to work with one company at a time, you may find that your go-to contractors are not always available to step in when you need them.
  • Could have worked with your competitors. As subcontractors tend to work locally, you may discover that they have worked with your competitors in the past.

There are pros and cons when it comes to both freelancer platforms and 1099 subcontractors. It is important to consider both options carefully and choose one that meets your budget and unique needs.

Thank you to our carpet cleaning friends at Fredericksburg Carpet Cleaning

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