When evaluating outsourcers for your bookkeeping, programming, content creation, customer support or other need, it is crucial that you know what to look for. Good evaluation skills will help you eliminate unqualified outsourcers quickly, thus saving you time, money, and headaches down the road.
The question is…
“What am I looking for when evaluating outsourcers?”
Here’s a few key things to keep in mind in your search.
What to Look for When Evaluating Outsourcers
[clickToTweet tweet=”If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors don’t, you’re putting yourself out of business.” quote=”If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors don’t, you’re putting yourself out of business.”]
Check Their Samples
The first thing you want to do is look at any samples they may have provided at their website, or their portfolio.
For instance, if it’s a writer you’re looking for then read through their previous articles and blog posts.
If they’re a web designer then look at their own website first, and then at samples of their work.
If they’re a social media marketer, check out their Facebook, Twitter and other social media profiles.
A good rule of thumb to follow is…
“If they cannot do for themselves what they claim to do for others, than why should I hire them?”
By carefully evaluating outsourcers work samples, personal websites and portfolios, you can get a feel for the type of quality they produce.
Consumer History, Comments and Testimonials
- What kind of clients have they worked with in the past?
- Do you recognize any of their names?
- What have previous clients said about them?
On sites such as UpWork (formerly eLance/oDesk), there are feedback systems in place for evaluating outsourcers and the work that they have performed.
Anyone can check them out, even if you do not yet have an account.
Evaluating outsourcers on sites such as these are easy, simply by reviewing what others have said.
If you’re looking to outsource a large operation, such as a call center, Google the name of the company. What have others said about those companies?
[clickToTweet tweet=”Do what you love to do best and outsource the rest.” quote=”Do what you love to do best and outsource the rest.”]
Another key area to check is response times.
One way of evaluating outsourcers response time is to simply send them an email with a question. Then track how long it takes them to respond.
If they take longer than 24 hours to reply, chances are you don’t want to hire them.
On the other hand, if they respond within an hour that’s usually a great sign.
You can always call them and speak with them directly, too.
Evaluating Outsourcers With a Test Project
Small Test Projects
Okay, by now you have:
- Checked their sample/portfolios
- Reviewed their history, comments and testimonials, and
- Sent them an email or spoke to them on the phone to gauge response times.
Now, even if everything checks out, you still only want to start with a small test project.
Start small, then award larger projects only after you’ve been satisfied with the results from a smaller project.
For instance, if you’re evaluating outsourcers for a writing project then send them only one article to write.
This allows you to test out the quality of the outsourcer (as well as the level of connection you have with them) before you commit a large amount of money to the project.
Another strategy that’s worked well for me over the years, is to outsource a small test project (the same project) to several outsourcers at once. Use the one that delivers the best work on time and as promised.
[clickToTweet tweet=”If there is such a thing as a secret to success online, then that secret is ‘Outsourcing’ – James G. Artre” quote=”If there is such a thing as a secret to success online, then that secret is ‘Outsourcing’ – James G. Artre”]
But even then, you will not know how well you’ll work together until you’ve dealt with them over time.
In all honesty, a lot of your selection process comes from what your “gut” is telling you.
- Do you feel that you can trust this person?
- Do they seem professional?
- Do they seem like they know what they’re doing?
If the answers to these questions are “yes”, then start them off on a small project.
If they perform well, then give them bigger projects to work with.
Over time you may very well find an outsourcer who delivers what you want and makes you happy.
Question: What other tips do you suggest when evaluating outsourcers?
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