Employer of Record or Contractor? Making the Right Hiring Choice for Your Remote Team

Marina Svitlyk
Talent Acquisition Manager, RemotelyTalents

The shift towards remote work has permanently reshaped the business landscape, granting access to a global talent pool and introducing new hiring complexities. Faced with the decision of whether to engage an Employer of Record (EOR) or to contract directly, businesses must navigate a strategic choice that affects legal compliance, operational dynamics, and company culture. This choice hinges on various factors, including the nature of the work, geographic location of the talent, and the company's growth plans. This article aims to simplify this decision, offering insights into the advantages and disadvantages of each option to help you make an informed hiring choice for your remote team.

Understanding the Basics

Employer of Record (EOR)

An Employer of Record (EOR) is a third-party organization that takes on the formal responsibilities of employing staff on behalf of another company. Essentially, while you choose the talent and define their roles, the EOR handles nearly everything else: from payroll to taxes, and from benefits administration to ensuring compliance with local labor laws. This setup is especially beneficial for companies looking to hire remote employees in countries where they do not have a legal entity.

Benefits of Using an EOR:

  • Legal Compliance: EORs ensure that employment contracts, work hours, and termination processes comply with local laws, significantly reducing legal risks for companies.
  • Payroll Management: They manage the complexities of payroll, including deductions, tax withholdings, and social security contributions, according to the specific regulations of each country.
  • HR Responsibilities: Beyond the administrative tasks, EORs can also handle human resources duties such as benefits administration, thus providing a better experience for remote employees.


A contractor, or independent contractor, is an individual or entity hired to perform a specific task or project based on a contractual agreement. Unlike traditional employees, contractors operate under their own business, determining their work hours, work methods, and sometimes, their work location. They are typically not subject to the same rules and benefits as regular employees and are responsible for their own taxes and insurances.

Highlights of Hiring Contractors:

  • Flexibility: Hiring contractors allows businesses to scale up or down quickly, depending on project needs, without the long-term commitment required for employees.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Employing contractors can be more cost-efficient since companies are not responsible for providing traditional employee benefits, taxes, or office space.
  • Specialized Expertise: Contractors often bring specialized skills for a specific project, reducing the need for training and development.

Understanding these foundational concepts is key to making informed decisions about the best employment structure for your remote team. Whether opting for the comprehensive support of an EOR or the flexibility and expertise of contractors, the choice should align with your business objectives, operational needs, and long-term strategy.

Evaluating Your Business Needs

When deciding between hiring through an Employer of Record (EOR) or engaging contractors directly, understanding the specific needs and context of your business is crucial. The size and nature of your business, your scalability and growth plans, and your desired level of control over the work process can significantly influence your choice.

Size and Nature of Your Business

  • Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs): For SMEs with limited HR resources, an EOR can offer a comprehensive solution to manage remote employees without expanding the HR department.
  • Large Corporations: While larger companies may have the resources to manage contractors or even establish legal entities in other countries, EORs can still offer value by simplifying international employment and reducing compliance risks.

Scalability and Future Growth

  • Rapid Scaling: If your business is in a growth phase and you need to scale up quickly, contractors offer a flexible workforce that can be adjusted as project demands change.
  • Steady Expansion: For businesses planning steady international expansion, an EOR provides a scalable solution to hire employees in new markets without the complexity of establishing a local entity.

Level of Control and Involvement

  • High Control: If direct control over the work process and employee engagement is a priority, hiring through an EOR, which allows you to manage the day-to-day activities of your team while offloading administrative burdens, might be the better option.
  • Project-Based Control: For projects requiring specialized skills for a short period, engaging contractors allows for targeted expertise and flexibility, albeit with less control over how and when the work is done.

Pros and Cons

Employer of Record


  • Legal Compliance and Reduced Risk: Ensures employment practices comply with local laws, reducing the legal risks associated with international hiring.
  • Reduced Administrative Burden: Manages payroll, taxes, and HR responsibilities, allowing you to focus on core business activities.
  • Scalability: Offers an effective solution to quickly hire in new markets without the need for a local legal entity.


  • Higher Costs: The comprehensive services provided by an EOR come at a higher cost compared to direct contracting.
  • Less Direct Control: While you maintain control over the work output, there is less direct involvement in the employment aspects of your team.



  • Flexibility: Easily scale your workforce up or down based on project needs without long-term commitments.
  • Lower Initial Costs: Save on costs associated with employment benefits, office space, and equipment.
  • Specific Expertise: Quickly access specialized skills for project-specific requirements without the need for extensive training.


  • Legal and Tax Implications: Navigating contractor agreements and compliance with tax laws can be complex, especially in international contexts.
  • Cultural Integration: Contractors may be less integrated into your company culture, potentially affecting teamwork and loyalty.

Deciding between an EOR and contractors requires a careful assessment of these factors in the context of your business needs. Whether you prioritize flexibility and cost-saving or legal compliance and reduced administrative workload, your choice will shape your approach to building and managing a remote team.

Making the Right Choice

When it comes to hiring for your remote team, understanding your specific needs and aligning them with the nature of your work is paramount. Here’s a guide to help you navigate this decision:

Assessing Your Needs

  • Project Duration and Scope: Evaluate whether your needs are project-specific with a clear end date or if you're looking to fill a long-term role. This assessment will help determine the suitability of contractors versus EOR-employed staff.
  • Expertise Requirements: Consider the level of expertise required for the work. If the task demands highly specialized skills for a short period, a contractor might be the ideal choice.
  • Geographical Considerations: If you're hiring in a country different from your business's location, an EOR can mitigate the legal complexities and compliance risks associated with international labor laws.

Scenarios for EOR vs. Contractor

EOR Benefits:

  • Rapid International Expansion: If your business is scaling quickly across different countries, using an EOR can simplify the hiring process without the need for setting up legal entities in each new market.
  • Long-term Roles: For positions that are core to your business operations and require long-term commitment, an EOR can provide the stability and benefits to attract top talent.
  • Compliance and Risk Management: In industries or countries with stringent labor laws, an EOR minimizes the risk of non-compliance and legal issues.

Contractor Benefits:

  • Short-term Projects: For tasks with a defined timeline or scope, contractors offer the flexibility and expertise needed without the long-term commitment.
  • Special Projects: When you need a specialist for a particular project, hiring a contractor can be more cost-effective than employing a full-time role.
  • Testing New Markets: If you're exploring a new market or product line, contractors can provide on-the-ground insights and skills with minimal investment.

Considering Long-term Implications and Strategic Goals

  • Future Growth: Consider how each hiring option aligns with your company’s growth trajectory. An EOR arrangement might be more scalable for long-term growth, whereas contractors could suit short-term or experimental projects.
  • Company Culture: Reflect on the impact of each hiring decision on your company culture. EOR employees can be fully integrated into your team, fostering a stronger sense of belonging and loyalty than contractors, who may juggle multiple clients.
  • Operational Control: Evaluate how much direct control and oversight you wish to maintain. Contractors offer independence, but this comes with less control over how and when work is completed compared to EOR staff.

Making the right hiring choice involves a delicate balance between your current needs and future aspirations. By carefully considering these factors, you can ensure that your approach to hiring supports both your immediate project goals and your long-term strategic vision.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right hiring model is essential for your remote team's success. Whether it's the adaptability of contractors or the comprehensive support of an Employer of Record (EOR), your decision should align with your business's unique needs and long-term goals.

To simplify this critical decision, RemotelyTalents has partnered with Remote.com, one of the leading EOR service providers globally. We're thrilled to offer our readers an exclusive 20% discount on Remote.com's services. This partnership enables you to expand your team globally with ease and compliance.

Take the first step towards building your ideal remote team by exploring our partnership with Remote.com. Click here for more details and to take advantage of the exclusive discount.

Marina Svitlyk
Talent Acquisition Manager, RemotelyTalents

Ready to get started?

If you want to dive into the details just Book a Free Consultation with our staff and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.