Outsourcing to save a buck! That’s a bad idea…
Outsourcing abroad to save a buck!
It’s a bad idea and here is why –
Since the 90’s, large companies have been outsourcing their customer service and technical support to call centers abroad all in an effort to cut costs. We have all struggled with the same challenges as consumers to get quality service from those same organizations. It would appear that they have mastered the calculations of profit over long term value provided by these overseas call centers. The math must work in their favor as they continue to outsource.
But when it comes to custom software and mobile application development, the stakes are much higher to get it right the first time. If you are a startup trying to get your first product launched without funding anywhere from a large organization trying to reduce costs to increase your revenue, it never pays to buy based on price. If pricing seems to good to be true, it usually is. I don’t want to take away from any of the amazing talent that is currently present around the world, but need to set your expectation that a Google search and a conversation with a salesman is not going to get you there. And there are many reasons why which I will detail for your in the write up.
The majority of business leaders that come to Sparkfish with an idea and vision, are not developers themselves. They have recognized a need in the market and can see a solution that will close that gap and build the business they are skilled to run and grow. But how do you shop for and buy something that you don’t know how to do yourself. Well, we do it all the time in our personal lives. We show up at the auto mechanic with our car that isn’t running right and we turn it over to them to diagnose and fix. The same is true with our air conditioning, when it’s not cooling, we call someone to repair. The process is the same both ways, they evaluate and come back to us with what needs to be fixed and how much it will cost. Boxed in with no alternatives, we usually pay…
We take these situations on blind faith that we can trust this person or organization and we spend our lives always looking for that service company that we can rest assured will do right by us. It’s hard enough to find someone you can trust within miles from your house, let alone trying to do the same with an individual that is not even in this country, bound by US laws, etc. How is that even possible? It would seem that for the most part, a few awesome designs in a portfolio on their website and pricing so ridiculously low that it would fit anyone’s budget has been enough.
If one of those service companies provided you with pricing, took your credit card and then said they will get the parts and come back later in the day, but never came back, you would be well within your ability to take action. Those actions might include, filing in small claims court, providing valid complaints to the Better Business Bureau, possibly even calling the police and filing a criminal complaint for theft. This is not a very common situation because of how empowered most folks are to take meaningful action against situations like this, but what if the company you hired were not in the US and was in no manner bound by US laws. Maybe your actions would be limited to submitting a Google review as if that would have some type of meaningful impact, it would most certainly not.
Where that may be a harsh case, we have too many folks calling us that need help that all too often explain that the company that hired prior, took their money and then after a few weeks, stop responding. On the other hand, a slightly larger majority of calls we get present a similar situation except what they bought either doesn’t work or isn’t close to working as it was intended. Either way, they are out their cash with no recourse other than to find a new developer.
A popular selling strategy seems to be folks explaining that they can price work so low because they will provide the prospect the benefit of “re-using” code as opposed to writing the intended application from the ground up. What this really means in development code terms is that they will take someone else’s application, change a few colors, names on fields, and call it your own. So now instead of building your state of the art vision, you purchased someone else’s application that has been modified to appear as your own. But does it work as intended? Often only on the surface which is typically not fully recognized until after the final payment has been collected.
We’ve heard just about all of the common issues from poor communications to it doesn’t work but nothing is worse than learning that you hired a US based developer to avoid all of these issues and they turned around and outsourced it behind your back. I can’t say enough how much of a challenge it is to find the right development partner. The best we can do is to help folks understand the challenges involved and educate you as best we can to hone in your shopping skills and find a way to get through it and build your vision.
At Sparkfish, we’ve realized that we need to focus on working with folks that are reasonably close enough to us that we can find a way to meet face to face and enjoy getting to know each other. Partnerships for us are about long lasting relationships. We want to build your vision and then stand with you behind those results and help you continue to drive market impact and change. For those reasons alone, we would never outsource in any way, shape, or form. It is in our interests to get it right the first time as we work to maintain every line of custom code moving forward. We hope that this information is helpful, it is not intended to discourage your in your search in anyway, only to better prepare you for the time and effort it takes to find the right group to build your business success.