OMG, Outsourcing will make you pull your hair out!!!

25 replies
My experience so far is: Just because its cheap doesn't meant
its fast, simple, and easy! I have some slow (but talented)
outsourcers, that don't really understand english, and they're
slow as fugh! They're really screwing up a deadline for a new
client of mine. I wish i'd paid a us based designer now. Going
forward, if I use one, it will definitely have to be for something
that's not time sensitive.

Using interns may be the route for me instead.
#hair #make #omg #outsourcing #pull
  • Profile picture of the author Landro
    most other places in the world are far more laid back. everything moves at a different pace. sorry to hear you are having a difficult time with your vendors. figuring out who is reliable can be trial and error if you dont have good referrals from someone else you trust. hopefully your business isn't impacted much.

    if you are operating on a large scale, hiring interns sounds like great strategy.
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    • Profile picture of the author mikeevee
      I've had some fantastic work done by guys in India and Bangladesh.

      Like everything, you should try at small scale first. Bear in mind that there is a huge range of skills, but generally you won't get the same quality of English as you can expect in the US or the UK.

      Understanding the culture of the country you are outsourcing to will really help. Don't assume they are the same as you.
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      • Profile picture of the author Excel Fields
        It sure seems like that! *lol* This is graphic design work, and
        it ended up not being right at the the end. The logo is created,
        but now the marketing piece has to be done over....
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        • Profile picture of the author LiamElliott
          The bottom line is, you have to pay extra for native english speakers. There is so much demand and such a small amount of providers. Most of the freelancers online are from Asia.

          In essence, you get what you pay for. Living costs in countries that natively speak english are generally much higher than those that don't, so the freelancer must charge more for the project to be worth their while.

          You CAN get talented native english speakers doing work for a relatively low price though, they often have a small or non existent track record. You can never get everything for nothing.

          Do lots of research into the freelancers before hand and look at their portfolio, ask for a personalized sample too.
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          • Profile picture of the author Vcize
            Originally Posted by LiamElliott View Post

            The bottom line is, you have to pay extra for native english speakers. There is so much demand and such a small amount of providers. Most of the freelancers online are from Asia.

            In essence, you get what you pay for. Living costs in countries that natively speak english are generally much higher than those that don't, so the freelancer must charge more for the project to be worth their while.

            You CAN get talented native english speakers doing work for a relatively low price though, they often have a small or non existent track record. You can never get everything for nothing.

            Do lots of research into the freelancers before hand and look at their portfolio, ask for a personalized sample too.
            This pretty much sums it up.

            The folks from non native-english speaking countries also seem to have a hard time saying "no", leading to missed deadlines and unfulfilled promises that can be brutal if you're working with clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kyle Oliveiro
    Ever heard of the phrase "you get what you pay for"?

    Why not invest in some proper talent rather than just going for cheap outsourcees trying to make a quick buck?
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  • Profile picture of the author erskinem
    One thing that has really helped with my staff is to give a time limit on how long to spend on a task. I explicitly state in their instructions how long to spend on each thing. Otherwise, I end up having folks spending four hours on something that should've taken 20 minutes.
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    • Profile picture of the author kposs
      Originally Posted by erskinem View Post

      explicitly state in their instructions
      That reminds me. Your instructions to the outsourcer are key. I give them as many explicit details/examples/training as possible so there is no misunderstanding. Then I repeat the instructions with every new task I send them, even if they've done it a hundred times before.
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  • Profile picture of the author kposs
    I've outsourced for years. You're right, not fast, simple and easy - at least to start.

    I work with many writers (even those in the US) and it takes forever to weed them out for ability, reliability, etc.

    But from an initial pool of 30 or 40, I will find 1 or 2 that I can hire on a consistent basis. Once you find those gems, then it's really fast, simple and easy to complete your projects.
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  • Profile picture of the author wrayor
    I think a lot of us have had similer problems. What I do is I have very firm deadlines and I make the deadline much sooner then the actual project due date. This way if the person is late I leave myself enough room to look for other methods of getting the work done. Sometimes it might cost me a little extra but it keeps my deadline on track most of the time.
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  • Profile picture of the author minion
    Its true, you get what you pay for - I've worked as both a freelancer and buyer.
    I've outsourced to a few different freelancers, and there is a huge quality difference between someone who is paid $5 per hour and someone who is paid $15 per hour - and the difference in speed in quality means you end up paying more anyway.

    I generally charge around $30 per hour on oDesk, and any jobs that pay less than that simply aren't worth my time - the whole outsourcing thing is spammed to death with jobs expecting a full clone of a website for $100. I've given up on it, focus my efforts elsewhere. You'd be much better off to try to find someone reliable through your existing contacts - generally clients who find a good developer will keep in contact with them for future work.
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    • Profile picture of the author chrissyb
      If you're looking for graphic designers we could have a chat.

      Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author David Keith
    you really do have to work through a few bad apples to find a provider you can work with. having done outsourcing for over a decade, you realize there is no perfect way to hire people. there are a few things you can do, but nothing is a sure bet.

    as for hiring native english people. i would say that is one thing to do to help you hire better talent overall, but its not a sure thing by any means.

    and then you must realize that in business, a persons skill will determine how much they get paid. i have a developer from india who i pay almost $20 an hour, we have worked together for probably 7 or 8 years. i would put his skills up against any native english person. i can contact him anytime for just about anything and he gets whatever i need done in whatever time frame i give him.

    could i be saving some money, hell ya, i could find a cheaper developer for some of the work. but this guy takes care of me, so i take care of him.

    this helps me to keep from pulling my hair out.
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  • Profile picture of the author DuncanD
    People are people, where-ever you go.

    You will need to closely train whoever you work with, whether they are sitting next to you or are the other side of the world. It is obviously a lot easier to train someone face to face though.

    In my experience, Philippine people are brilliant for most IM tasks. They are great to have as full-time dedicated staff because they are loyal, hard working and grow with you, so the training you give them is yours to benefit from again and again into the future.

    For most outsroucing we hire full-time. I only out-task programming and graphic design, simply because until recently I dont need someone full time for this. I am currently in process of hiring a Filipino programmer, so we'll see how that goes.

    From my experience over the last 11 years of having done a LOT of outsourcing in different places, here are my generalisations...

    Indians tend to hate saying "no I cant do it" or "it will take 3 weeks, not 1". The only way around this is education and communication. Explain that you need to know the truth because the rest of your business hinges on their work, so you would rather have the ugly truth than pretty lies, otherwise you cannot work with them.

    Eastern Europeans (I have always used Ukrainian programmers mostly) tend to be the opposite, saying "no it cannot be done" - to the point of seeming blunt, but they are straight to the point and you know where you stand.

    Philippines usually have excellent English so for most IM tasks they can be taught how to do most things. Only higher level skills such as programming need to have lots of actual experience. Otherwise I usually hire someone with good English and training them and keep them in our team.

    Outsourcing without a doubt is a stress and a strain, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

    I have zero intention of paying someone more than 10 times as much, plus tax, plus all manner of extra perks and benefits, plus buying extra office space, office insurance, liability insurance etc etc - just for the benefit of sitting next to them
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  • Profile picture of the author scrupio
    Outsourcing takes a lot of work. You really have to go thru tons of people till you find the right one, but when you do they're worth 3-4x more than a employee here in the US. btw I would only outsource data jobs. Design and programming is best left here in the US.
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  • Profile picture of the author Guru_Marketing
    Originally Posted by whodeeni View Post

    My experience so far is: Just because its cheap doesn't meant
    its fast, simple, and easy! I have some slow (but talented)
    outsourcers, that don't really understand english, and they're
    slow as fugh! They're really screwing up a deadline for a new
    client of mine. I wish i'd paid a us based designer now. Going
    forward, if I use one, it will definitely have to be for something
    that's not time sensitive.

    Using interns may be the route for me instead.
    Hire slow, fire fast.
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  • Profile picture of the author George Kelly
    I have yet to find a good outsourcer maybe Im to picky, Like someone already said you get what you pay for
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  • Profile picture of the author greenowl123
    If you are looking for graphic design for banners, logos, headers, etc. then there are LOTS of really good ones on Fiverr from various countries.

    Just do a search on Fiverr for "logos" or "headers" and then sort them by rating. There are dozens of providers that have lots of good feedback from clients.

    Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author bhuff85
    Oursourcing can be difficult at times, but it's not always entirely the other parties fault. In my opinion, the hiring process is one of the most overlooked pieces of the outsourcing puzzle.

    If you are desperate and are looking for the first person or two that will pull the trigger on your offer, you may or may not end up with what you want. Having a detailed and thorough process will usually ensure you get only the best and most interested prospects. Plus, it helps you get a feel for how well that person will be to work with.

    I don't do a whole lot of outsourcing, but when I did a recent listing for a big bulk order of BMR posts on Elance, I was able to get work done at a rate I was comfortable with by establishing a quick "qualifying" process. After communicating with several people, I boiled it down to 2 potential people. From there, I had them write up a unique post for me to submit to see if the quality was good enough to pass the test. One guy did it better than the other and got the gig. He not only ended up following my directions to the T, but he also managed to finish up the order nearly 1 week ahead of schedule.

    Could this all have happened if I pulled the trigger on the first bidder or two? It's possible, but I bet I would've ran into issues.

    Just remember that even though outsourcing can be an uphill climb, if you stick to your guns and really try to weed out the tire-kickers, you'll have more success. If people don't want to go through your hiring process or see it as too much work, they aren't the right fit for the job to begin with. In the end, you'll get people who are genuinely interested in meeting your requirements, thus making it a great experience for both you and the provider.
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    • Profile picture of the author PamE
      Ask for a recommendation from other Warriors in this forum.
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  • Profile picture of the author celente
    I have our businesses on about 90% outsource now.

    I know what you are talking about, and its frustrating at times, but here are my tiips to help you.

    1) Hire and get people to do small tests so you have trust and know they can do the job.

    2) Test a few people until you find the right one.

    3) Keep your good outsource workers and look after them, give bonuses and money rewards. Treat them well, and they will treat you even better.

    4) Remember outsourcing is that, and the internet can be a funny place of text and miscommunication. Explain yourself in a step by step fashion so your message is getting across clearly.

    5) and this is the most important film quick camtasia videos to show your employee exactly what you want done. This has given us more bang for our buck, and the work that gets done is incredible, you can show them live what their job is, and leave no questions in their minds. Video is powerful.

    6) If someone is not working well, or just does not click with you, do not second guess get rid of them. We have learnt for every 1 bad worker there is, there is 10 other workers who are 100% better, and will do your work and bring in better results. The selection is huge, just have to sort the wheat from the chaff, that will take a bit of yoru time.

    7) Be patient and persistent. You can't expect to find the best workers straight away.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dex88
    Originally Posted by whodeeni View Post

    My experience so far is: Just because its cheap doesn't meant
    its fast, simple, and easy! I have some slow (but talented)
    outsourcers, that don't really understand english, and they're
    slow as fugh! They're really screwing up a deadline for a new
    client of mine. I wish i'd paid a us based designer now. Going
    forward, if I use one, it will definitely have to be for something
    that's not time sensitive.

    Using interns may be the route for me instead.
    Yep... I have to say outsourcing can really be such a pain... especially if you can't find the right people to work with. But nonetheless, there are are those who will be able to get the job done for you as long as you offer them a reasonable price for their work.
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    • Profile picture of the author jadesource
      I think graphics and writing are the hardest things to outsource.
      I've found as a designer myself that there is a big difference in design sensibilities around the world.

      My uncle said once "you can't delegate taste" and he was an artist who worked on Madison Avenue in the 70s and 80s. He said, people always think they can delegate taste and refinement.

      This bizarre move I did from New York to the rural Philippines has shown me some things about the people: Lots of talent, but more of a farm psychology.

      There are 90 million Philippinos in this relatively small archipelago, compared to 20 million in Australia or even 300 million in the US. Lots of folks in a small space. Lots of talent. But hard to find and manage.

      I'm from a farm town in Delaware, and got to New York City not of my choosing. What I find here is simple folk, that want to help but are often shy like they may be in the countryside of any country.

      So sometimes the "sense of urgency" is not a western one, even though the intentions are not bad.

      It's a strange country. I'm fond of saying the Philippines is part tropics, part Spain and part Bladerunner Los Angeles.

      But it's an adventure, nonetheless.
      Hope this helps- I think my posts are too long :-)
      Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanmilligan
    Banned
    The only advice I have for you is outsource to some from the philippines. They speak excellent english and out of the 100+ times I have outsourced to a fillipino, I have never had one single problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author JOSourcing
    Banned
    One way to address this issue beforehand is to work under a contract that reduces payment by X dollars when X milestones haven't been met by X date(s). Some people/companies go so far as to completely terminate a contract under those circumstances. Either way, the good news is that most (if not all) major outsourcing outlets allow contract amendments. If you run into a situation in which you aren't allowed to insert additional contract requirements, you might consider using a different outsourcing service.
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