Why Should I Hire a Fractional Employee?

Taylor Crane
February 15, 2024
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Why Should I Hire a Fractional Employee?

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I’m Taylor - the founder of We help senior talent become successful fractional operators, and we help companies reach and recruit that senior talent directly.

I’m also a Fractional Head of Product, specializing in early-stage startups. In my practice, I work with 3 startups at a time for 10 hrs/week each.

Why Should I Hire a Fractional Employee?

Fractional employees are part-time employees, typically paid on a monthly retainer, and are experts in their field. A fractional job looks very similar to a full-time job, except the work is done on fewer hours per week for less pay.

For companies that need leadership, management, or other senior-level work, your options historically have been “full-time” or “no-time”. 

If you have the need for, and budget for, a full-time employee then you should NOT hire a fractional employee. Go hire someone full-time! But what if you don’t have the need for, or the budget for, that experienced full-time hire? Then welcome to the fractional world. Fractionals offer a full buffet of options ranging in hours, price points, expertise, and more.

In this post we’ll walk through the benefits of fractional work from the company’s perspective. If you’re an employee, you might want to start with What is Fractional Work? Or How Does a Fractional Job Work?

Back to First Principles

Forget the notion that every job is either 40 hours or no hours. The first benefit of a fractional employee is that the number of hours per week is now a variable you as a company can customize.

What is your exact need? What mix of strategic and execution work do you need? Exactly how many hours per week does that work require? How much is the business looking to invest in this opportunity?

Think about your exact need from first principles. You may be surprised to find that the optimal move is to hire a fractional expert vs. a full-time employee (or nobody at all.)

Fractionals vs Freelancers vs Consultants

Given that we’re talking about part-time work, it makes sense to understand how fractionals differ from other forms of part-time work. And in doing so, we’ll uncover more benefits of fractional employees.

Freelancers tend to do project-based work, and tend to be junior or mid-level employees. (Freelancers can be amazing for your business! It’s just not the focus of this post).

Consultants can provide strategic advice, but are typically not the ones to execute. They stay at arms-length from the execution work (sweet gig, consultants!).

Fractional work is most similar to full-time work. It’s simply done in less hours and for less pay, but the job function is the same. Fractionals are embedded into the team. They can provide strategic guidance, do hands-on work, manage a department (of full-time employees), hire and fire, and more.

So again, it’s like having a senior-level full-time employee, except you get the benefit of only using the exact amount of time you need, therefore paying less than you would for a full-time hire. (And don’t worry, fractionals take on multiple clients so we are plenty well paid).

More Flexibility

A fractional relationship is inherently less risky than a full-time relationship for both parties. Fractionals have other clients and a pipeline of leads. Companies are only committing to a portion of hours for less pay, and on an independent contractor agreement that can end at any time.

This leads us to a huge benefit of fractional employees - we offer significantly increased flexibility for your business. You can start a fractional engagement quickly without a lengthy interview process. If it’s working great, keep going! If it’s not, part ways quickly.

If both parties want to increase the hours, go for it. Or even reduce hours if it makes sense. Some fractionals even choose to convert to a full-time employee if the opportunity presents itself. (Fractional work is a great way for both sides to try before you buy).

Fractionals Cost Less

Fractionals are typically paid on a monthly retainer, or sometimes an hourly rate. You can hire a top-level fractional COO for $10,000/month for 10hrs/week of work. Or, perhaps you need a fractional Lead Designer for $200/hr. If you hired either of these employees full-time, you would be paying something like $250,000 base salary + bonus + benefits + equity + payroll tax + paid vacation. Instead you can get them for around $100,000/year all-in.

This is a huge cost-savings, and for companies where burn rate is important, it can make or break your business.

And because of how pricing is structured, your cost is more directly correlated with hours of output than compared to a salaried employee. You get what you pay for. This transparency can be a breath of fresh air for many companies.

The Downsides of Fractional Work

Wow fractional employees, what can’t they do!? We’re biased at Fractional Jobs of course. But let’s be clear that fractional work is far from a silver bullet. Team building is one of the hardest things a company needs to do to succeed. 

Again, if you have the need for and budget for that full-time hire, then go for it. Full-time employees come with other benefits like increased stability and dependability.

Fractional work is here to offer another vector of optionality. We make building the perfect team more accessible, more affordable, and more flexible.

Fractional Work Examples

Let’s look at a few examples of how fractional work can be a perfect fit.

Example #1 - Fractional Engineering

You’re an early stage startup working on a big idea, and need great software to bring the idea to life. Perhaps you’ve raised a bit of money, but by no means are you flush with cash. Yet, the software is a critical piece of your business. It needs to be done right or you have no hope of success. How can you make sure you build the software the right way, but without breaking the bank?

A fractional Engineering leader would be a great fit here. Someone who’s built this kind of system before. Bring them in for 20 hours per week. They’ll set the architecture up in a strategic way, do some of the initial coding even. Then, they’ll hire and manage a team of affordable junior developers to do the day-to-day work, making sure they stay on track. 

In this example, you get the most valuable portion of the engineering leader’s time, and can be more economical on the execution work knowing it’s being managed by an expert.

Example #2 - Fractional Marketing

Your company is growing quickly, surpassing millions of dollars in revenue, and customers love the product. To date you’ve relied on word of mouth to grow, but the business knows to get to the next stage is going to require a sophisticated marketing strategy. The two marketers on staff today are amazing individual contributors, but they’ve never planned a marketing strategy of this ambition before. Nor has anyone at the company. You’ve thought about hiring a full-time head of Marketing, but the caliber you’re looking for is just not going to go for the salary you can offer.

Now imagine grabbing a fractional CMO, someone with 10 years of proven marketing excellence in your industry. They’ve run this marketing playbook for companies of your size three times before. And they can do it again for your company too, while leveling up your existing marketing team. Once growth and the resulting revenue increase is clear, the company is now in a position where they can go out and hire the full-time CMO of their dreams.

In this example, you bring someone into your company that you would otherwise NEVER be able to get. They help get you to the next level because they’ve done it before, and then they transition to the right full-time hire (and who knows, maybe it’s them!)

How to Hire a Fractional Employee

You can tailor the hours to your exact needs. The relationship stays flexible. It costs less. Yet you get expert-level work in a fashion that feels the same as a full-time employee. It’s a powerful sell!

The fractional movement is new but exploding in popularity. At time of writing there are already tens of thousands of fractional leaders on Linkedin. If you’re looking to hire fractional, it’s always great to start with your network and see if you find a great fit.

To get you a healthy pipeline of candidates beyond your immediate network, we built Fractional Jobs. You can post a job right now. We hustle hard to get you high-quality, pre-screened candidates.

Or if you’re just fractional-curious, perhaps want to learn more, feel free to email us at We’re happy to answer all your questions over email or a call.


My business is nuanced and complex, how can I have confidence a fractional employee will get up to speed to contribute quickly?

Just like full-time employees, us fractionals need ramp-up time too. It’s true that in the course of a calendar month, a full-time hire will have spent more time getting up to speed. But on a per-hour basis (which is what you’re paying for), fractionals ramp up far more quickly. We are trained to do this. Through repetitions across different clients, we get VERY good at understanding the key levers of any business and identifying where we we can add the most value quickly.

Will a fractional employee be working for me every day? Can I depend on them to be available when I need them?

It depends on the fractional employee and the job function. If you want someone with you for a couple hours per day, every day, there are fractionals that do that. For certain job functions like fractional Engineering or fractional Design, that require more deep focus work, you might be better off with someone that dedicates X days per week to you. But it’s all flexible and negotiable.

How much does a fractional employee cost?

Fractionals tend to charge a monthly retainer (with an hours commitment) or a straight hourly rate, For senior-level talent, you can expect hourly rates to go from $100 - $300/hr, with the most experienced fractional leaders as high as $500+/hr. For 10hrs/week, which is a typical fractional engagement, that's a monthly cost of $5,000 - $15,000/month.

What other FAQs did we miss? Email us at

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