Career Advice

Comparing a Freelancer and an Independent Contractor

By: Mariah Rogers
Jan 14, 2022 • 2 min read

You may come across advertisements for freelancers and independent contractors in your job search. Both work for businesses temporarily, and you can try both options if you’re still testing the work you can take on from job hiring apps. However, before you accept a contractor or freelancer position, it’s important to understand what these titles represent and how they affect your work hours, income, and availability. 

In the following paragraphs, you’ll find the differences between freelancers and independent contractors so that you can decide which is right for you while you’re still in the job search mode.


Because most freelance tasks are part-time or have a limited scope, freelancers frequently take on multiple clients at once. You can take on as many clients as you want as a freelancer, similar to an independent contractor. However, the latter tends to have fewer clients because they must take on larger tasks as an independent contractor. 

If you choose to be an independent contractor, you might want to work for an agency that works as a middleman between you and your clients in this position. When working with an agency, you can still pick your clients carefully, but your direct client interactions are limited and reduced.


Freelancers have nearly total control over the jobs they accept and reject. As a freelancer, you have the option of focusing on one or two main projects that take the majority of your time. Alternatively, if you’d rather work on various smaller projects, you can take on a few side gigs instead.

On the other hand, contractors are more likely to take on projects with larger scopes but smaller numbers. As a contractor, you may be in charge of overseeing a multi-faceted project rather than executing a single product. When you work with an agency, they will negotiate project scopes and expectations on your behalf to match your specifications.

Time Frames

The duration of freelancing roles is set in stone. As a freelancer, you may have jobs that last a few hours, a day, a week, a month, a year, or even longer. All the positions you accept as a freelancer will be transitory as long as you work as a freelancer.

Independent contractors, like freelancers, work on a contract basis. But they frequently accept work with lengthier deadlines. Although independent contractors and their agencies almost always specify project completion dates, these deadlines may be flexible or prolonged.


You have complete control over your schedule as a freelancer. Although you must usually meet deadlines and stick to schedules, you can work on your own time. On the other hand, your schedule as an independent contractor may resemble that of a regular employee. Many contractors agree to work specific hours, such as the usual 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but others set their own.


As a freelancer, you have full control over your rates. You can choose to charge by the hour or by the project, depending on the job you’re doing. In any case, you’re in charge of determining how much to charge and negotiating pricing with each client. You must also manage invoicing and payment follow-up as a freelancer.

You earn an hourly or project-based income as an independent contractor, which may vary from client to client or job to job. You have discretion over setting and negotiating your fees if you work alone. When you hire a contractor through an agency, you rely on the agency to set and maintain fair pricing for each task. Contractors, like freelancers, can handle their own invoicing.


Contractors and freelancers have more financial and professional freedom than the average employee. While contractors and freelancers have a lot in common, their professions have different expectations and perks. The above points have supplied enough details to help you decide between the two, but you can find out more by talking to other freelancers and contractors. Alternatively, you can also look into agencies and hiring apps for assistance.

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