Outsourcing is big business. I should know as I have been using it for over 10 years now to get access to some highly skilled and cost effective development and testing resources. But what happens if you don’t need a resource for a long term project or just want to get access to a skill that you don’t have in-house?
For example the business I work for often needs access to designers to do small scale work for our website. We can’t afford to retain the services of someone locally as we simply don’t have enough business to put their way to make it worth their while but the work still needs to be done.
Step forward vWorker (nee Rent a Coder) which allows prospective employers post their projects to a worldwide audience of skilled people. Those waiting for projects tend to be from the fast growing economies of Asia and Eastern Europe where they can use skills gain from their day job to carry out small scale tasks in the evening to earn extra income. Also I have been able to find fairly niche skills that would be difficult to find elsewhere.
So far I have posted about 25 projects to vWorker and on the whole the quality of the work has been exceptional given the amount that is being paid. Typically I use vWorker for small development projects in technologies that we don’t have in house and graphic design and in all cases I have paid less that $100 for the work – far less than I would have with a local resource.
That’s not to say that there aren’t pitfalls to using someone remotely. They need careful managing just as any other employee does and there is also a responsibility on you as an employer to make sure that your requirements are well defined to ensure that you get what you pay for. I have learnt over the years that spending more time at the outset clearly setting out your expectations saves trouble further down the line. However, your money is not released to the worker until you are happy and there is an arbitration process should that be required.
I have also found that again, like employing anyone into the business, selection of the individual to do the work is something that you need to spend time on, looking at feedback from previous jobs and examining portfolios of work. My experience has been then individuals are better than companies and you can build a relationship with them. This has led to me having a series of workers who I return to time and again for pieces of work as I know that they can deliver the level of quality I am looking for.
I have only mentioned vWorker in this article but there are many other similar services on the internet and I have used several others but none have been as successful as my projects posted on vWorker. My business is a small business of three UK based employees and three full-time outsourced developers. This is supplemented by another six or so people who provider regular work for us that have been sourced from vWorker providing graphics, development and documentation skills that otherwise would either not have got done or would not get done to the high standard we are able to achieve now.
vWorker and sites like it, have provided a vibrant market place for small business to tap into a huge pool of talented resources and for those resources to showcase their work on a larger stage and get the opportunity to earn some extra cash. A real win-in for all concerned.
Have you used vWorker or some other outsourcing solution? Leave a comment and let us know your experiences.