Freelance v. Perm: the reality of costs

At MMO Freelance, we’re always on hand to help you understand how much working with freelance consultants cost compared to hiring permanent employees.

In this article, you’ll find a detailed analysis of the pay comparison between freelance and permanent employees. Go directly to the bottom of the page to download the full Working with Freelance Consultants guide. 

Focusing only on day rates, the gap between freelance and permanent pay can look quite large, even if this gap tends to decrease with seniority. However, hiring permanent employees implies hidden costs that need to be considered.

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Pay comparison: freelance v. permanent
Data source: 34,945 aggregated, anonymised & responses

National insurance & pension contributions

National insurance and pension contributions from the employer represent permanent employee costs that are usually not considered as high as they really are. In value, these contributions represent more than 10% of the total annual compensation for permanent employees.

These costs don’t exist when you hire a freelancer.

Effective number of working days

One of the main differences between freelance and permanent employees is that you pay freelancers based on the actual number of days they work on your project. When it comes to permanent hires, it’s a bit different. You have to consider sick days, paid holidays, bank holidays or even weekends. There are 260 weekdays per year but a permanent employee, on average, will work only 223 days.

Taking this into consideration, the effective average day rate for a permanent employee is £411.

Onboarding and offboarding

You’ll invest more time in the onboarding process for a permanent employee. Also, you’ll have to consider training costs. Because you hire freelancers for their expertise, onboarding will take you less time. A freelancer will be ready to work as efficiently as possible faster than a permanent employee.

Regarding offboarding: freelance contracts can be ended with little to no notice.There are a number of reasons why you may need to let people go. Termination of permanent employment brings costs that don’t apply to freelancers. Hiring freelancers also means hiring at a lower risk, knowing sunk costs will be minimal if the contract has to be ended.

Time to hire

Freelancers can be hired much faster than permanent employees. Recruiting for a freelancer can take just a few days on movemeon. Freelance interview processes are generally fast as hiring managers are focused purely on competency, not team fit. In contrast, recruiting for a permanent employee takes a number of months. During this time, businesses may suffer simply because there is nobody in role. Simply put, there is an opportunity cost to the business.

Are you looking for freelancers? Do you need some more info? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line at or to visit our contact page.

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MMO Freelance info pack

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The comparative costs of freelance consultants & permanent employees

At movemeon, we’ve seen the freelance market grow year on year. Freelancers are highly skilled, they possess deep industry expertise and they are quicker to hire than permanent employees, so it’s no surprise that the growth of the market has been driven as much by demand as by supply.

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