I heard a speaker talking recently about using Offshore Outsourcing in your business.
He very capably described how easy it was to hire people to do work offshore for a fraction of local costs.
Unfortunately, I don’t think he gave the whole story, because . . .
But being human, we often look for “the short term gain”
. . . the easy way out
. . . the cheap solution
. . . without fully evaluating all the consequences being “the long term pain”.
An Australian Prime Minister once said, “there is no such thing as a free lunch“.
There is another saying that goes like this . . .
When buying a product or service, there are 3 criteria
PRICE – TIME – QUALITY.
And you can only have 2 of these at any one time.
So, if you are going for a cheap Price, then you will sacrifice in either delivery Time or Quality.
I will make the waiver that the effectiveness of offshore outsourcing can depend somewhat on the task being engaged . . . but I am talking here about website development.
First hand experience
This article is written from first hand experience because . . . Yes! we have trialed offshore resources in the past.
Of course, we would be foolish not to try to get the cheapest services so that we can pass on competitive and/or reasonable prices to our clients.
But the bottom line is . . . it just did not work.
The quality of the work done was not up to our standards and often we had to re-do the work.
So we engaged more expensive resources in the hope of getting better quality, but the effect was much the same.
We ended up spending way more time monitoring such resources . . . and repeatedly writing up corrections to the work done . . . that it ended up costing us as much, if not more, than using local web developers.
The other part of our ‘first hand experience’ is that we speak with a lot of business owners who have gone down the offshore outsourcing route by themselves . . . and there are no good stories.
When outsourcing offshore you can often save some bucks, in fact, you can often save A LOT of cash on the “per hour or per job rate”.
So what are the trade-offs that you will have to make for the cheap price ? ?
And what will be the cost to you of managing and handling these issues ? ?
Language and Customs
The first and most obvious consideration is the language differences.
We’ve all had experiences of off-shore call centres that frustrated us beyond belief.
This has improved, but imagine then trying to build an entire website that way !! LOL
It is always best to deal with someone who has English as the first and native language – simple!
Make sure that you can easily understand the person you are going to deal with, and that they have good written and verbal English skills.
And customs . . . in some other countries, the culture is not to offend. (Especially someone who is paying them what they consider to be a lot of money.)
So they will often say “Yes” to whatever you ask, regardless of whether that is actually going to happen or not.
And then disappear for several weeks attending “Ceremony” back in the family village LOL This does happen!
You cannot just call an offshore web developer at the same times that you are doing business.
Depending on where they are, you may need to be up at midnight to catch them.
If you are going offshore for a website, look for someone in your general time zone.
Make sure that you understand the time differences, and how this will affect your working day.
Cost savings diluted
This is a big one!
The apparent cost savings are often diluted by the amount of extra time the you personally have to put into managing offshore resources.
This can often be process driven for repetitive admin and clerical processes.
But for something as individual and creative as website design and creation, it is difficult to control the process as each one is different.
So it requires a higher degree of supervision.
Now, it is easy enough to get a poor quality website in Australia, so this is not a problem exclusive to offshore providers.
But what are you going to do if the completed website does not meet up with your expectations?
Ask to see a portfolio of their work first.
Make sure that they are live, working websites, and not just mockup images, (which is a shortcut way to build a “portfolio”).
Make sure that they have their own website, and check out what it looks like and how it works.
Make sure that they use an email address based at their website address, and not a hotmail or gmail address – it’s just another small check of credibility.
What you won’t be able to determine very easily is the quality of the coding that they do.
Do your own due diligence on quality before starting.
As a subtext to the section on Quality, this refers to the quality of the program coding that they do.
Often, the website will “sort of” look OK and work OK.
But the lack of good programming practices does not readily become evident until you want to change the website, or need to fix an issue that arises.
What are you going to do if you have problems or the project goes to hell in a basket when the person you are dealing with is on another continent?
What happens when they disappear for several weeks attending “Ceremony” back in the family village? LOL As I said before, this does happen!
Ask for an explanation of the process that will be followed in creating the website, and the systems and processes that will be used.
Be aware of how little recourse you will have.
Peace of Mind
By using a local provider like Hotpink Websites, (with local developers), you can save a lot of the heart ache and frustration involved in building a website.
You will be dealing with a locally based, native English speaking person experienced in website development and marketing. And in good business and marketing practices.
All of our team leaders meet this criteria, so you have greater peace of mind.
And you can still get a very reasonable price for your website.
Compare the prices – they will not be that much different – and you will have much greater peace of mind.
If you want to take advantage of cheaper offshore resources, make sure that you have a reliable intermediary when you do so.
But for technical work generally . . . it is a very good idea to stay local.
Well, that is quite simple really!
What should you do now?
- Weigh up the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.
- Want some help or ideas? Just contact us at Hotpink Websites now.
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
~ Paul Keating