Finding a good web designer and web developer isn’t easy.
In the article Outsourcing Your Web Design I identified why companies might want to outsource, then acknowledged and addressed many apprehensions companies may have in doing so. Hopefully, having tackled this aspect of running your business, you are now confident that you are making the right business decision to take the plunge into outsourcing.
There are numerous reputable bidding sites on the Internet. Each works in relatively the same way. You create an account, confirm a credit card for escrow payments and open a job up and wait for the bids to roll in.
Following is a typical form to fill out to create an account:
As you can see, it is relatively simple to get started.
Given that they all tend to operate the same way, things to be mindful of to get the best out of outsourcing:
Does the bidding site offer escrow?
Does the company offer dispute assistance?
Does the company test its freelancers to ensure their claims match their expertise?
Step 1 Escrow:
It is very risky to rely on Pay Pal to pay for services. Most bidding sites offer escrow, which ensures that you do no release funds until you are satisfied with the quality of work.
Step 2 Dispute Assistance:
Does the bidding site intervene if you encounter a problem with the team to whom you have outsourced? What happens if the team does not perform as promised? What happens if there is a misunderstanding on either side and the job is halted? If the bidding site turns their back on you when you need them, there is a headache you were not anticipating.
Step 3 Testing:
Anyone can claim he or she is an expert in anything. Does the bidding site all for the team members to test to back up their claims? One thing to be mindful of is that many teams will have the team leader test and not his or her team members. You may see high scores, but only of the team leader. Look for teams who have tested all team members.
Step 4 Start Small:
Although you may be anxious to get started, you may not want to put that big job out there to be bid on first. Create a job that is seemingly meaningless to you that if the winning bidder flubs, they have not cost you too much time, your best account or your reputation.
Step 5 Cast a Wide Net:
For your first job, by all means award it to three or four different teams and evaluate them both against your expectations and each other. Things to look for to get the most out of your winning bidders:
Step 6 Professionalism of presentation:
CVs of every team member
Realistic expectation of how long job will take
In lieu of feedback (if team is new to that bidding site), references on profile
Professionalism of Presentation
When you receive a cover letter, scrutinize it. If it is haphazard, vague and does not appear to have been tailored for your job description, move on. This team will not take the time to address your specific needs, be disorganized and will not approach your job with the professionalism it deserves.
CVs of Every Team Member
Requesting to see the CVs of each team member is perfectly acceptable. Seeing the CVs of all the team members alleviates you of having the problem later of realizing that one of your jobs was assigned to someone who really did not have the goods to deliver.
Allowing the team to just present the CV of the team leader means that you are taking a gamble on the expertise of all team members.
Realistic Expectation of How Long the Job Will Take
Although you want your job done quickly, you also want it done correctly. Be realistic about how long things will take. If the team promises it too quickly, it will likely not meet your expectations. Remember, you are looking for uniqueness and quality, not a factory churning out work at a rate of 5 per day.
It cannot be stressed enough to look closely at a team’s feedback. If the bidding site allows for a numerical score and specific feedback, read through them. They will tell you every thing you need to know about what you can expect when hiring that team.
In Lieu of Feedback, References on Profile
The team may be new to that bidding site but not new to the industry. Bear in mind that teams sign up with several bidding sites. Although they may not have built up a reputation on that bidding site that you found them, does not mean they are not qualified. They may have references from previous jobs in lieu of.
Really scrutinize the profiles of teams you are considering. Look for test scores of each team member, CVs if available, samples of work, feedback and expertise listed. If the team is applying for an aspect of web design that you require but does not list it as one they are familiar with, move on.
Step 7 Opening a Project, Getting Bids In:
Now you are ready to open a job and wait for qualified bids to roll in. Initially this can be very exciting. All these people want to work on YOUR job! By all means, use the workroom to communicate back and forth with teams before and after hiring one.
Step 8 Rate of Pay:
Although you should expect to pay less per hour than you would were you hiring someone full time, it is important to be mindful not to pay so low that you end up getting what you pay for. Few things are more frustrating than expecting high quality and in return getting something a 4th grader could have done better.
Bear in mind from the team’s perspective, every client is different and even if you hired the most qualified team, meeting each and every client’s expectations takes a few go-rounds. Don’t expect perfection immediately. Be patient!
The biggest mistake employers make when choosing teams is doing so too hastily and then living to regret their decisions. Make sure you and the team are a good fit. Personality and professionalism should weigh as high as qualifications.
Even if you follow all of the above steps I mentioned above, you’ll still make mistakes and make a bad hire every once in a while. But your chances of finding a good web designer or developer should drastically be higher.