There is a trend in Europe and the US where companies especially technology companies are now preferring to work with Freelancers, Consultants or independent contractors instead of hiring employees as is the norm. This is referred to us the on-demand economy, where the economic activity created by technology companies that fulfill consumer demand via the immediate provisioning of goods and services. There are pundits such as Jeremiah Owyang who believe Freelancing is the future of work.
The Freelance model relieves companies of having to pay employees a fixed salary every month, not to mention health insurance and other employee benefits. The Freelance model is very different from outsourcing a service from a company and paying them on completion.
The most reputable Freelance Company in the world is Freelancer.com, which claims to have 16,675,736 professionals, who have completed 2,742,775,575 projects worth $2,742,775,575. Can the success of Frelance.com be replicated in Africa?
Kuhustle, a Kenyan Company founded by Sam Gichuru is already using the Freelance model. On Kuhustle.com, you post a job that want done, specify the skills required, set your budget for the job, and freelancers begin to set their bids. You choose the best bid and you pay only after work is done to your satisfaction. Can a company use a Freelance website to have their projects done? Say for example they wish to create a website. Can they use Kuhustle.com?
What is the guarantee of the quality of work done on a freelance website? What will be the impact of the Freelance model on workers, their safety and benefits that come with being an employee of a registered company? In the US, Uber is already facing court cases for listing its taxi drivers as independent contractors and not employees. As an independent contractor, one cannot claim retirement benefits after reaching the age of retirement. I took time to speak to Uber drivers in Nairobi, and ten out of ten drivers that I talked to told me they are very happy working with Uber as they are now earning more money and doing more trips than they used to when they were working as private taxis.
Is it legal
What is your opinion about the Freelance model of work? Is it legal in Kenya? Is it fair to the Freelancers? What are the rights of a freelancer? Where can a Freelance go to complain if and when their rights are violated? Who will advocate and fight for those freelancing?
Which other companies do you know that are using the Freelance model in Africa, Kenya?