The pros and cons of outsourcing online for SMEs

With websites like Upwork and Freelancer making it so easy to hire freelancers, it is now seen as an efficient and cheap way of getting vital tasks done.

But there are still many who are skeptical about outsourcing online. They worry about the quality of work, possible poseurs who are difficult to vet, and myriad other concerns.

>See also: 60% of UK SMEs taking advantage of outsourced IT infrastructure

What are the pros and cons of outsourcing online? Is it really worth it?

Pro: save on expenses

One of the major pros of outsourcing, whether or not for online work, is that you save a lot on expenses associated with in-house employees. You’re paying them for the work done and nothing more. No benefits of being a part of the company, no office space, and so on.

Con: they may not fully buy in

While you’re saving money, you might end up losing out on getting the best possible work. This is because they’re not a fully integrated member of your business.

Rather, you’re one of many clients paying them to get a job done. Some contractors are undoubtedly dedicated to every single client and will provide an incredibly high quality of work. But you do get some who are getting by doing the bare minimum.

>See also: How hyperconvergence can deliver growth for the SMEs in 2017

Pro: paying in foreign currency

For some jobs, you don’t need to hire a freelancer in the same country as you. You can get the work done in countries with weak currencies. What might be peanuts for you can constitute a good wage for them. And with increasingly reasonable credit card exchange rate fees, you’ll pay exponentially less than you would for someone at home.

Con: language difficulties

Some tasks do not require a good grasp of English. But if you need some writing done, you’ll want a first language English speaker. And, with other duties, requirements may get lost in translation. There are, of course, countries with weak currencies whose residents speak fluent English. However, you’ll want to vet them first.

Pro: it’s easier to fire poor performers

When you take someone on in-house, even on a contract basis, you’re going to have a hard time letting them go if they’re doing poor work. Also, it’s not practical to have two or more people do the same or similar jobs for you while you decide who you like best.

>See also: Fixing IT problems could save SMEs millions of hours

When you outsource online, however, you can pay a few potential long-term freelancers for an hour’s work, before choosing the person best suited to the job. This is especially practical if you’re saving money anyway by employing contractors willing to work for what would be low pay in your currency.

Con: it’s easier for them to dump you

One of the pros of being an online freelancer is that you have the freedom to choose the jobs you do. Many of the best freelancers have a range of opportunities and choose those that most suit them.

So, while you may wish to hire the best performer after a trial, they might find that they don’t love the work and decide not to pursue what you’re offering.

Avatar photo

Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

Related Topics