Thinking of Outsourcing? How to Choose the Right Provider

 In Small Business

When a client presents a task that challenges your ability to deliver, you can politely decline and refer them to a competitor, hurriedly add a staff member or seek help from a trusted independent contractor.

Clever copy, creative logos (and really cool email newsletters) often are the work of talented individuals or companies hired by managers of companies in need of a specific skill set. While these stealth specialists often remain anonymous to the client, they play a vital role in more local projects than you might expect.

So how do you decide if outsourcing is your best option and then choose the right provider?

  • Determine exactly what you need. This may seem obvious, but understanding the details of your project will help ensure that you find the best outsourcing option. Then communicate those details clearly.
  • Establish a realistic budget. Everything sounds easy around the conference table, but take a hard look at the how long it will really take and what may be needed to complete the project.
  • Choose between a per-hour project and retainer relationship. A project-based assignment is clearly defined and may be better for the short-term, while a monthly retainer allows greater flexibility.
  • Set clear financial parameters. The contractor should never spring extra charges on a client, and the client should resist the temptation to add to a job already agreed upon – without expecting to pay for it.
  • Allow time for a learning curve. Even your employees need some time to learn the ins and outs of your operation and your business culture. Build this into your schedule.
  • Provide a reliable contact person. Even if you are the one doing the hiring, give your contractor the “best” person to reach when they have questions or need information.
  • Know who you are hiring. Check references, see samples and ask around. Make sure they know what they’re doing, people like working with them and that they deliver on time.
  • Look beyond the hourly rate. Don’t be scared off by a contractor’s hourly fee. Remember that there are no payroll benefits or taxes, and in most cases, you are getting a level of experience and expertise you could never afford in a full-time employee. A bargain for sure.
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