Everyone by now has heard of outsourcing. But many people don’t really understand the realities and benefits of what it is and how it works. I’m going to discuss the pros and cons of outsourcing in the section below.
There is good side and a bad side to outsourcing. The bad side is that expecting people to do a great job to a highly technical degree for $2 an hour is a pipe-dream. The people you find at that level will often just waste your time at best, and damage your business and reputation at worst. Interviewing masses of low bidding outsource potential can take a bit of time and resources in and of itself.
The good side is that good qualified and trainable people who will work at a reasonable rate can be found in many parts of the world. There are people who will be willing to do a great job for you, at much less than you will pay if you walk into a local web design company, software design company, etc. And you won’t even have to leave your house to find them.
You can find inexpensive experts to help you with almost any part of your projects that give you difficulty. And, once you find a couple of people you can trust, who will work at a price you’re willing to pay, you will have the beginnings of a trustworthy team that you can build upon.
There are several sources for workers, where you can find good people. Many of these sources handle all the time-tracking, payment issues, and other things that you really don’t want to worry about as an employer. The workers use their own computers, and Internet service, and pay for their own locations and electricity. There is no insurance to buy, nor the standard expenses a typical employer will have to bear when working with most outsourced people.
If you want to work with someone local, expect to pay a little more. If you’re OK with working with someone in India or the Philippines, and you’re willing to deal with the possible bit of language difficulties, etc., you can often pay quite a bit less. There are actually some very educated people in India and the Philippines that are talented and speak excellent English if you look hard enough. Just know that they almost invariably will charge more, but that’s usually because they are worth it. As in everything else, you get what you pay for.
Here’s a real-world example: If I wanted to have some web design work done in the States, and I went to a web design agency, I would more than likely pay in the area of $100 per hour (even if quoted by the job). If I found a local person on CraigsList or at a local business network meeting, or a meetup group, who could do the work for me, I’d probably pay around $30 – $50 an hour. If I found a qualified expert in India or the Philippines online, I would more than likely be able to get the work done for around $20 an hour. If I hired someone at $5 an hour, I could expect that they will be learning their trade as they work. They may be able to do an OK job, but they may take 3 times as long to do it, if they could do it at all. So I may wind up paying $15 for the hour’s worth of work anyway. On the other hand, a worker at $5 an hour that is learning as they go, could be a perfect helper or virtual assistant for a person that is willing to train, and give tasks that need to be done correctly on a somewhat repetitive basis. A conscientious worker at $5 an hour can be worth their weight in gold to a small business owner on a tight budget.
If you can commit to working with someone for a guaranteed 20-40 hours per week, rather than on an as-needed basis, you will more than likely do very well, and be very happy with the results.
I have had some good luck and some not so good luck working with outsourced help. But overall they have been lifesavers at times of dire need, and a great source of ongoing work for some of the more tedious tasks I would otherwise have to do myself.
Familiarize yourself with ODesk and Elance. If you have a project you will need done in the near future, like business card design, create a project or invite a few chosen providers to interview for the position.
365outsource.com (outsourcers in the Philippines)
Joomlancers (outsourcers for Joomla)
Theme Forest (WordPress and Joomla Themes, Templates, and Code).
Web2Rank (VA Services).