Hiring a Freelance UX Researcher

Why Hire a Freelance or Contract UX Researcher?

Hiring a freelance researcher is the fastest way to bring expertise to your team. Hiring a full-time employee can take months, but a freelancer can often be hired in days or weeks. This may enable you to conduct additional studies, or have an additional researcher to moderate tests, conduct interviews, or organize and analyze data. If you need a specific area of expertise, hiring a freelancer can bring that capability to your team very quickly.

Where Can You Hire UX Research Consultants?

The Guild brings together the best research consultants from the U.S. and Canada, so you don’t have to hunt for them one by one. Whether you have a 6-week study or a 6-month contract, we have a research consultant for you.

Agencies typically charge a 60-100% markup to place contractors or conduct studies. The Guild charges a markup of 19.89%— helping clients get the best research at the best rate. We also offer fixed bids on projects. By using the Guild you help independent researchers succeed.

“The Guild has been stellar at providing exactly the right moderators at exactly the moment we need them. The first time we worked together was a typical ‘fire drill’ –a study popped up unexpectedly, and I needed an experienced moderator within days. This client was particularly important to my business, so I needed to have an extra-high level of confidence in this moderator.

I called the Guild with my requirements, and in just a few days, they provided options to choose from, each with relevant research expertise. I chose a very experienced researcher and the moderation and insight provided were both top notch. My client was very happy, and UXr Guild solidified its position as my researcher resource.”

Meredith, Agency owner

Independent UX Research Professionals

Our researchers are self-employed professionals who offer their expertise on a per-project or hourly basis. They typically work remotely, but they can also travel by special arrangement to conduct in-person testing sessions or interviews, present findings, or meet with stakeholders.

Guild Research Teams

Research projects requiring multiple researchers are led by a research director who plans and oversees the study, with other staff necessary to conduct the research, gather and analyze data, and report findings. The research director ensures that proper protocols are followed for participant privacy, data compliance, and accurate analysis.

If you are an enterprise research leader, we invite you to learn more about UXr Leaders. This group facilitates learning and networking among research leaders across the U.S.

Periodically, we feature Guild researchers who are available for work. If you would like to receive an email with information about our featured researchers, subscribe here.

Freelance UX Researchers for Start-ups

If your start-up is too new or small to have a full-time researcher or research team, you still need the insights that research provides to guide your product development or service design. Hiring a freelance researcher may allow you to gain valuable insights from your customers in just a few weeks or months, to refine your offering and accelerate product/market fit. Research at the earliest stages of product development is arguably the most valuable. A freelance research consultant can bring industry experience, product experience, and familiarity with the best testing methods and tools to obtain the insights your need.

Should You Hire an Employee or Independent Contractor?

How do you decide whether to hire a temporary W-2 employee ora freelance researcher (1099 independent contractor)? The first consideration is what level of expertise you need. Senior researchers and consultants often prefer to work independently. If you need that level of expertise, you’re more likely to find it among independent contractors. Secondly, what level of control do you want to have over the researcher? If you control where, when, and how work is done and provide the facilities and equipment to conduct studies, that suggests an employer-employee relationship. If you wield less control and the researcher has additional clients, that is typically viewed as independent contracting, which allows researchers to have more freedom and reduces employer expenses.

How to Hire an Independent Contractor?

How can employers legally hire those who want to be classified and work as independent contractors? Some states are especially keen to protect employees from misclassification as independent contractors. They want workers to have all the benefits and protections afforded employees and have raised the burden of proof for those who want to work independently. The key to a successful IC engagement is clearly demonstrating independent contractor status.

Legally Hiring Freelancers, Contractors, and Consultants

The IRS and each state use either the common law or ABC test to assess whether the employer has sufficient behavioral control (where, when, and how the researcher works) and financial control to constitute an employer-employee relationship. Both the Borello test and the ABC test of California’s AB5 assume workers are employees unless they are shown to be independent contractors.
When examining the relationship of the parties, if the researcher provides services for multiple clients, and their work is outside the normal domain of their clients, those are important indications that the researcher is an independent contractor. Behavioral control, financial control, and the relationship of the parties are the three means of demonstrating independence.

Contract UX Researchers or Consultants

Contract UX researchers or research consultants who are independent contractors are not subject to the direct behavioral or financial control of a single employer. Since they are not employees, companies are not required to provide employment benefits. Those who choose independent contracting prefer this arrangement. They typically work remotely, maintain several clients, and may bill hourly or on a fixed-bid basis. They enjoy having control over which clients and projects they accept and the freedom to work in the way that is most suitable for them and each project.