How to manage the outsourcing process

I’m sure you will have heard many horror stories from people who have outsourced tasks and it’s gone horribly wrong. Freelancers going AWOL, or work submitted which is, well, far from being up to scratch.

So how can you ensure that you don’t go through 10 frogs before you find your prince? The key is in the selection process, but also how you manage them once on board.

Here are my tips for ensuring you get a successful person the first time around.

  • It’s all about the brief. In this instance, more is definitely better. The vaguer your brief, the more you will get people apply who aren’t suitable, as well as quotes for the work which could be wildly different from the actual work you want completed. It’s got the potential for misunderstanding, misinterpretation and problems further down the line. So be as descriptive as possible, list every single task that you want them to do, and ideally the budget you want to pay
  • State the qualifications you need the freelancer to have, but don’t limit factors which may mean you are disregarding suitable applicants. For example, limiting applications from just the UK and not allowing those from overseas could be very shortsighted. Just consider all the factors before automatically discounting
  • Don’t look for applicants just based on cost. Consider their qualifications, references and how well they communicate with you, as this could be worth paying a little extra for
  • First, make a shortlist of candidates. Ask for references, and don’t be afraid to contact them for yourself to question them. Then before making your final selection, you can always negotiate to get the best possible deal
  • Ok, so you’ve made your choice. Then you need to get a proper agreement in place. Set out exactly what you expect to be done and by when. If you think you may need revisions, then you should state how many you would like within the price. Also include payment terms, how and when you will make payment on receipt of work
  • If you need your freelancer to keep information confidential, then get them to sign an NDA before they commence any work. If you are employing a copywriter or photographer, then you need to ensure you retain ownership of the work at the end of the project. Get all the file formats that you may need in the right resolutions etc. for any design work
  • Agree how they should report back to you, and how often they should check in. It could be worth setting up a file sharing system, so you can log-in any time you need to see progress
  • Try to stick to the agreed terms as much as possible, if you allow concessions, then it may be seen as being acceptable down the line. So late delivery should not be tolerated, unless it is extenuating circumstances
  • Remember to be honest, if you don’t feel that the work done is satisfactory, then say so. But give them a chance to resolve the situation first before jumping in and deciding to not pay. And if you need to leave feedback, be truthful, after all, you’d want to read something that was reflective of the service given, wouldn’t you?

The key is to be thorough, fully prepared, and open and honest. You should treat people how you would like to be treated in return, and you will hopefully find someone who will be a great addition to your business.