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6 questions to ask before you outsource

November 1, 2016

 

Also known as freelancing, outsourcing is becoming more popular for businesses of all shapes and sizes. More people are looking for flexible work conditions and are turning their hand to working for themselves. You may be looking for website design, SEO, copy writing, social media experts, photographers or virtual assistants. The list is endless! But how do you know whether the person you are hiring is the right one?

 

I have put together a list of ideas of what you should be asking when you next outsource a project. Asking the right questions will mean that you both have a clear understanding of exactly what is involved in the project and how it will be achieved. It will also make sure that you are a good fit for each other, resulting in a smooth relationship.

 

How do you communicate?

 

As many outsourcers are virtual, good communication is imperative to the success of your project. A good outsourcer should be flexible and feel comfortable communicating the way you prefer. It may be text, email, phone or video. Set the expectations of frequency and channel of communication up front. Is it reasonable for them to send you ten texts a day asking questions or do you prefer one check-in phone call at the beginning of the day?

 

Do you have a contract?

 

Depending on the size of the project, a contract may be required. At the very least you should be provided with a quote which outlines all of the activities that will be undertaken by the outsourcer.

 

How much will this cost?

 

We all know that projects often expand and goals shift, but you should be provided with an estimate of the cost of the project up front. Specified in this estimate should be whether it is a fixed-price quote or whether you will be charged hourly for the tasks needed to complete the project.

 

How do you charge?

 

This is important to understand from your own budgeting and cash flow perspective. There are a few different options for charging clients and it will often depend on the scale of the project. Some outsourcers will require a 50% deposit up front with the rest to be paid on completion. For smaller projects (under $2,000) it may be charged at the end of the work. For long projects expect to pay progress payments along the way. Be mindful that they are operating a business too so they need to be paid in the terms with which you have agreed.

 

What is the fine print?

 

Make sure that you understand exactly what is included in your quote. Ask questions about deadlines and how long the project will take. For design or copy writing work make sure you specify how many revisions will be included in the price. Some outsourcers will include a finite amount of changes that can be made. Otherwise they could be working on your project forever!

 

What is your experience?

 

Ask for testimonials from previous clients to make sure that they are able to complete the type of work that you require in the timeframe you require. A great place to check out someone’s experience and referrals is LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the outsourcer, especially if you are investing a lot of money into a project.

What are your typical work hours?

 

Many outsourcers fit their working hours around other commitments. This is important for you to understand so you know when they can be reasonably contacted. Many freelancers will also work outside “normal” work hours, so take this in to consideration when working to a tight deadline.

 

It is important that when you are outsourcing a project that you find the right person for the job. It may take a bit of effort on your behalf up front, but any good outsourcer would be more than willing to answer these questions and provide all the information you require before commencing your project.

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