This is another in a seven-post series on how to choose the right creative service provider (writer, designer, photographer, etc.) for your business or organization. This advice is based on what I’ve seen companies do the wrong way over the years. Hope you enjoy and find it useful!

The second step is to determine whether your prospective provider is in business for the long haul. That’s important if you’re hoping to establish a long-term working relationship with that provider. You don’t want to be left high and dry in six months if he or she decides to take a full-time job.

That’s why it pays to determine how dedicated the prospective provider is to serving your business. Has he or she been operating the business consistently, or does it appear that this work is only to fill gaps between jobs? Developing a solid understanding of the provider’s career history will give you important insight. If there have been frequent forays in and out of self-employment in the past, that trend may continue.

Don’t be afraid to ask how long the supplier has been in business and whether he or she intends to continue in the business for the foreseeable future. You can also ask how her or she would react if offered a full-time position. That’s not being nosy … it’s protecting you own interests.

Also, be aware that in the creative services industry, some people view the term “freelance” as a code word for “unemployed,” and it’s true that some people fill the gaps between full-time positions by chasing after short-term projects. However, there are many creative services providers for whom freelancing is a full-time way of life. For any number of reasons, they have decided to forego the traditional employer-employee relationship. At a time when many companies are short-lived or in constant transformation, a serious freelancer may actually be a more stable supplier.

Learn more in our free report, The Smarter Strategy for Selecting Suppliers, which offers practical, proven advice for choosing the right creative service providers. Get your free copy.