Whether you plan on outsourcing your bookkeeping or programming, your writing or your support lines, the skill of evaluating outsourcers is going to be crucial. Great evaluation skills will help you sort out unprofessional providers, eliminate time wasters avoid wasting money.
How do you evaluate potential outsourcers? Here are a few key things to look for.
==> Check Their Samples
One of the first things you should look at is their samples or their portfolio.
If they’re a writer, read through their previous articles. If they’re a graphic designer, look through their past logos. If they’re a web developer, poke around some of their live apps.
Just by carefully looking at samples, you can get a very good idea for what kind of quality the provider provides.
==> Client History & Client Comments
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 like eLance or oDesk, there are feedback systems. Review these systems to see what others have said.
If you’re considering outsourcing to a larger operation, like a call center, Google the name of the company. What have others said about those companies?
==> Check Their Response Time
One way to test how responsive providers will be once you’re working together is to just send them an email with a question. Then track the response time.
If they take longer than 24 hours to get back to you, chances are you don’t want to be a paying client of theirs. On the other hand, if they respond within minutes, that’s usually a great sign.
You can also try calling their phone # and having a real conversation with them.
==> Start With a Small Test Project
Even if everything checks out and they have great samples, you should still only 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.
This allows you to test out the quality of the outsourcer, as well as the level of connection you have with the outsourcer before you commit a large amount of money to the project.
One great strategy is to outsource small test projects to several outsourcers, then pick and use the one that delivers the best work or has the best work ethic.
==> At the End of the Day …
At the end of the day, you won’t know how well you’ll work with a contractor until you try them out.
A lot of deciding which contractors to work with comes from gut feel. Do you feel that you can trust this person? Do they seem professional? Do they seem like they know what they’re doing?
If so, start them off on a small project. If they perform well, then give them bigger projects to work with.