The definitive guide on how to hire a chemist


With the latest advances in science and technology, startups and organizations around the world are innovating at top speed. Healthcare organizations, cosmetic companies and food businesses, in particular, are working hard to create new products that promise of a better quality of life and sustainability. It is no surprise then, that companies are increasingly looking to hire freelance chemists, who can help them in formulating new products. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of chemists and material scientists will grow at 7 percent from 2016 to 2026. Chemists with PhDs, in particular, are expected to have better opportunities. Cosmetics, pharma, energy, oil & gas — all of these industries need to hire a chemist for various purposes.

What does a chemist do?

Chemists are employed across a wide range of industries, but majorly in the healthcare, life sciences, cosmetics and food&drink industries. A chemist analyzes the properties of existing materials or compounds and plays a role in developing new products. For example, a chemist could help you create a CBD-infused snack from scratch and could also test the product for safety and shelf life stability.

You may need to find a chemist to make a product, conduct a literature review or research an existing product. But what do you look for and how can you choose the best candidate for the job? Here are some tips for hiring top chemists on Kolabtree.

Why do you need a freelance chemist?

Many chemists work in large organizations, where they are employed full-time, in-house. However, smaller companies and startups also require the expertise of chemists, which has so far been affordable. With the gig economy growing, there are a number of chemists and chemistry experts who are choosing to take the freelance route. This is beneficial to those who need to access their services for short-term projects, on demand.

Some of the services chemists offer are:

  • Formulating a new product
  • Deformulating an existing product and analyzing its chemical make-up
  • Conducting market research on suppliers of specific ingredients or materials
  • Carrying out literature searches on products and methodologies
  • Writing technical reports and grant proposals
  • Helping researchers get their work published in relevant journals

Thankfully, the growing number of freelance chemists for hire make it easy for companies to access these services and develop products having to compromise on quality and safety.

How much does it cost to hire a chemist?

According to the BLS, the median pay of chemists in 2018 was $78,330 per year. This is a fairly high salary for a small company to be able to afford. Many SMEs and startups also may not require a full-time chemist, they might only need to hire a chemist for one-off projects.

The cost of hiring a freelance chemist or contractor depends on the nature of the job and the deliverables expected from the freelancer. A freelance formulation chemist, for example, may charge anywhere between USD 500 and USD 5,000 for helping to develop a new product. Additional charges may apply if they are also expected to test the product, or develop the written material that may be required for its launch or approval. Data from Kolabtree shows that hiring a freelance chemist can help companies save up to 40%.

How to write a job post for a chemist

Writing a job post is easy if you are absolutely sure of what exactly you need done, your budget and your timeline. These are the most essential things to keep in mind while creating a job post for any role. However, here are five  things to keep in mind to help you write an effective job post for a chemist:

Scope of work: Provide a clear and crisp project brief that defines the job at hand.
Project duration: Define how long you expect the contract to last for, as this will help candidates understand how it fits into their schedules and availability.
By when you need to hire: Make it clear how urgent it is for you to find a chemist. Are you looking to resolve your challenges within a couple of days? Or are you willing to wait for longer so that you can discuss comprehensively with suitable candidates before choosing the best one? A week is typically an optimum time to receive high-quality proposals from freelance chemists.
Budget: Indicate how much budget you’ve allocated to the project. A rough idea is okay, but try to keep it within a realistic range. If not, mention in your project brief that you are happy to negotiate with applicants. You can choose to pay a fixed fee or pay by the hour.
Skills and specialties required: Chemists can specialize in specific fields. Depending on the job you need done, you may need to hire a formulation chemist or a biochemist. On Kolabtree, you can hire:

Formulation chemists
Analytical chemists
Organic chemists
Inorganic chemists

Kolabtree also allows you to sign NDAs and custom agreements with freelancers before you start the project. So, your sample job post could look like this:

Need a freelance food chemist to help with creating an organic, healthy snack bar. Budget is $2000 but am open to negotiating. Looking for someone to get started within a week and close the project in 2 months. Further details will be disclosed once the freelancer signs an NDA.

That’s it, you’re good to go! Ready to hire a chemist? Post your project on Kolabtree and get quotes from freelance chemists for free.


Kolabtree helps businesses worldwide hire freelance scientists and industry experts on demand. Our freelancers have helped companies publish research papers, develop products, analyze data, and more. It only takes a minute to tell us what you need done and get quotes from experts for free.

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About Author

Ramya Sriram manages digital content and communications at Kolabtree (, the world's largest freelancing platform for scientists. She has over a decade of experience in publishing, advertising and digital content creation.

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