So I just had my 1st experience with outsourcing a freelance job. I have outsourced before, but that was always for larger projects that spanned several months. This was the 1st time I tried sending out a small job, the kind of job a small business would have. I’ve been reading a lot about outsourcing through online services and decided this was a good opportunity to try it. My client was happy to do so as instead of paying $120/hour for 8 hours work, they only paid $12. I actually sent the job out twice because it needed to be done quickly and well, and I figured since it was so cheap, I might as well hire 2 developers and take the best one’s work. So let me share and rank my experience with you, considering the positive and negative.
The JobI had a great design created through Crowdsourcing an needed a developer to translate the web site design into HTML & CSS (Often the best designer do not know how to “code” their designs, and often the best web developers are weak at implementing a design, so this middle step is needed). So the job was simple enough, and easy to deliver in that it could be done by providing the developer with the Photoshop design file, and they could deliver the HTML, CSS and Image files.
Selecting the DevelopersIt was very easy to find developers to outsource to. I went to oDesk first, as that is the service I heard the most good things about, and looked there. There are other services like eLance.com , GetAFreelancer.com , GetACodder.com , Guru.com and several others, but to me oDesk was the one to start off with.
Creating the Job
Creating the Job with oDesk was simple enough. I just went to the little link “Post your Job” under the “Search for Providers” button on the homepage. I did 1st search for providers to see the level of talent in the area of work I needed, in this case, creating CSS Style Sheets and HTML.
Specify Job Candidates
oDesk really lets you specify the type of resource you want. They let you specify qualities that you did not even know you could specify. You end up say, I want the person who is a “GOD” in this subject, and the cool thing is, GOD talks to you and applies for the job!
Once you have posted the job, you should soon receive several, if not a dozen or so, applicants who want to work for you. Look at who has the most experience, the best reviews and a bit of their portfolios if applicable to your job. oDesk does a great job of making review of candidates easy. Once you see what you think is the strongest candidate, request an interview, exchange some emails and get started.
Hire (Warning , Be Patient).Next you hire a candidate . If you have used oDesk before, it is simple. If it is your 1st time and you try to hire someone the same day you create an oDesk account, then be patient. Its going to take a while.
This is the biggest draw back I had with oDesk. You have to wait 4 business days to hire someone because oDesk, as part of setting up your account, requires that you provide the amounts of two small deposits made into your credit card account as a form a verification that you are the owner of the card you are using to pay with.
Even the after 10 years in Internet development, there is an urge to think “this guy is an expert, he knows what to do.” WRONG. The developer knows what you tell him, so communicate everything. Treat the professional like a professional and not like someone who costs 1/5 as much as the person down the street who calls themselves a professional and has the local sports outfitter as their marquee client. Just so you know, some of the people you hire will have had a lot bigger clients with a lot better known brands.
Keep CommunicatingI can’t remember the last time I threw something over the fence and not have it come back a couple of times before it was done by this or that specialist. This is true of outsourcing to a freelancer as well. I knew this going in and know it is part of the game, but imagine a lot of people, especially those not familiar with web development expect it to go out and come back.
Here’s hint, the developers, designer etc, who come back for clarification are the good ones , be thankful for questions. If you don’t get questions, check in, cause it likely won’t come back how you want it based on your requirements only, unless your are a Biz Analyst demi-god.
Don’t pay till you have the goods. Once you are happy with the work, then pay.
Rate your Hire
You will be given the chance to rate and review the freelance you outsourced to. Be hohnest! If you are not, others will not know what to expect, or worse, the great developer you hired will not get what they deserve, more work. The work will end up going to the guy you gave a far too pilot review and rating to. This is literally taking food out of one mouth and putting it in another. The system only works with trust and honesty of the community.
I hope this helps you get some drone ideas about outsourcing to freelancers, and how to proceed. I suggest just checking out some of the profiles in areas you need a freelancer. If you have issues with outsourcing to another country, let me give you some perspective; I have worked in the Internet industry for 10 years and can contest that a lot of companies can only afford to exist because of outsourcing. Also, I too have been ioutsourced to (while here in the USA) from another countries. If the rest of the world was worried about outsourcing expertise or technology to the US, we’d be in bigger trouble right now than having a few forclosures.