There are many types of industries in which hiring independent contractors is a big part of a company’s business model. There are some benefits to working with independent contractors, but as with any type of hiring practice, it’s important to make sure you abide by all the federal and territorial rules and plan out the hiring in a way that protects your company.

With this in mind, here are some tips for hiring independent contractors to your company.

Make sure it’s a necessary addition to your team

Is there any chance the job you’re looking to give to a contractor could be done by a current member of your staff? If so, you should try to get the most out of the talent you’re already paying for before you decide to bring in another team member. In some cases, delegating new tasks and responsibilities to current employees will enhance their motivation and their feelings of appreciation, so long as you’re not overloading them.

In addition, if you do decide an independent contractor will be necessary for a certain role or even just for a single project, make sure you bring them in at the right time—hiring too far in advance will lead to unnecessary wages, and bringing them in at the last minute will result in a time crunch that might make training difficult.

Have written contracts in place

Written contracts are absolutely essential for both parties in an independent contractor arrangement. It helps get both you and the contractor on the same page with regard to the expectations you have for the arrangement.

The contract also protects you legally, as it gives clear expectations to which your contractor agrees in the form of a signature. In the event the contractor fails to live up to these expectations, you can terminate the arrangement without fear of legal liability.

Narrow the training processes you use

Independent contractors tend to fill much narrower roles within a company than standard employees do, so it’s sensible for you as the employer to narrow the training processes you used to align with those more focused responsibilities. There’s no point in expending the time and resources necessary to put a contractor through your full training regimen if only some parts of it are actually going to be useful to them. Plus, limiting the time spent training the contractor will help them get to work much quicker.

Treat them like an employee

While your independent contractor might not have all the perks of full employee status and might not even be a permanent member of your team, it’s important to treat and manage them as you would other employees. Make sure they feel like they’re a part of the team, and that you reward and praise them for jobs well done. They may not have employee classification, but independent contractors will still thrive on positive reinforcement, excellent communication and a friendly workplace environment.

For more information about hiring independent contractors, contact an employment law attorney in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Ravinder S. Nagi is Assistant Managing Attorney and Chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group at BoltNagi PC, a full-service business law firm based on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.