said 1 year, 2 months ago:
As a web developer, I feel I need an outsourcing network to survive… When I started my business, it was relatively easy to ‘control’ – every project was a new site development and I could *almost* schedule them and control the workload. But now that I have many completed projects, any / all of those past clients can call on me for maintenance and ‘need’ their work done ASAP. It is just not realistic to tell them to get in line or wait a couple weeks.
In this business, I do not and can not control how / when the inbound requests arrive. Even with development projects, a client will promise the text and photos on Thursday, but it usually arrives Wednesday or Friday. So having a network of subs is critical. None of them are on payroll, but they all know what I pay and how nice (or not!) and reliable (or not!) I am. So if I contact them saying ‘have you got 20 hours in the next 4 days?’, they are free to respond. I know they have other employers. Some of them are in the USA, some are not. I have been managing development projects (within a corporation and form y own business) since the 90′s, so I flatter myself that I do a good job of writing up the requirements and treating subs with great respect. This is critical to success – everything has to be spelled out in detail.
Another thing to consider is that I personally have the skills and experience to go out and win business, understand a clients business needs, help them prioritize their budget, negotiate a contract… Although I have been in software all my working life, most of my subs (near and far) are better at the coding than I am but they do not have the skills to go out and pull in new business. So I need them and they need me. Together we make 3 people happy and keep 3 households fed – the client, me and the subs.
When considering a new sub, I start with a small, non time critical project. Give it a try, and see how it goes. Although that is also fraught – sometimes they are so delighted to get a new client, that they will do the ‘best job, ever!’ on the first contract, then go twice as slow for twice as much money on the next… you just have to keep your eyes and mind open….