In the article “How to Choose a Contractor” I covered most of the points about how to successfully choose the right contractor, here are a few more tips, do’s and dont’s;
Many contractors want to work direct with you and cut Elance out of the equation. This saves the contractor approximately 7.5% in fees BUT you now no longer have the protection of the review system. I have only done this once on a bigger job and got my fingers burned. The guy (Alexander from Rodney solutions, Canada– he is a liar and a cheat do NOT go near him) had done good work for me before.
He then persuaded me to go direct. I sent him $500 up front and that was the last I saw of him or the money apart from 3 months of emails where he proved himself to be one of the biggest liars I have ever met.
If you do build a decent relationship with someone and agree to deal direct then I suggest that you never send money upfront. If you and the contractor are happy with each other they should trust you to pay. The best way is agree a schedule and pay them in instalments. You can pay by bank-wire or I usually use paypal to pay direct.
Once you have narrowed down the short list of contractors, google them. Have a look and see if they have a website. Is it of good quality and well maintained, ie no broken links. Have a look at any testimonials. For a big job consider contacting the testimonial writer.
Does it rank high in google? There is no point employing someone who claims they are an expert in google if they can’t be found.
Check out their ranking in www.alexa.com. Recently I was looking for a company to redesign one of my websites. They claimed to be google experts and yet my site was much higher ranked in Alexa and number 1 in google for some keywords with up to 30 million pages of competition. This company were not in the top 100 for competition of less than 2 million.
Are they likely to be good at this particular job? I don’t think so. My first few attempts at outsourcing were not a great success but it was largely due to mistakes on my part. I accepted someone who had very little history and the instructions I gave him were far too vague.
Then click on job description -this is often great for copying or using as the basis of your job description.
Start small. Maybe order an article from a writer that costs you $40. It gives you a chance to test the system and interact with a supplier for a small outlay.
Depending on the type of project consider the drawbacks of employing people where English is not their first language. I have employed web designers from India in the past where I spent hours having to correct bad grammar & spelling mistakes.
Take time zones in to consideration. If its the kind of project where the contractor can simply get on with it then its not a problem but if you need regular contact then beware. I have employed people in the past from the west coast of the USA who are just getting out of bed when my working day is over
Be sure it’s in the contract. Clearly state each party’s responsibilities to limit confusion and conflict. The contract should outline specific conditions, but also be flexible enough to adapt to change.
Don’t write it in stone. A good provider will address your business requirements but also generate additional ideas and insight. Keep your plans flexible as things can always change.
Plan together. Working hand-in-hand from the start will ensure your working relationship gets off on the right foot, generating better results.
Provide continuous feedback. Don’t expect your outsourcing provider to read your mind. If you feel something is missing or performance is lagging, let your representative know. Communication is key especially when a third party is handling some of your responsibilities
Good luck! It may seem a little daunting at the beginning but the benefits far outweigh the initial learning curve.
Author: Marc Walton