Why Digital Agencies Should Outsource | Coding Ninjas
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August 2019
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Why Digital Agencies Should Outsource

Andrey ZagorodniyAndrey Zagorodniy

Fields in Which Digital Agencies Outsource Most Often

The 21st century is undoubtedly the era of mobile devices. Cellphones, tablets, and smart watches became so popular that not having one can cause people to give you suspicious looks.

Naturally, someone has to create content for all this mass of devices. Digital agencies do just that: they design, promote, and optimize screen-based products and services. A typical digital agency is a collective of web developers, designers, copywriters, SEO and SEM specialists, etc.

At first sight, having a bunch of in-house experts of all sorts looks like a good idea. They work as a self-sufficient unit able to cover the full development cycle without additional effort. Still, many digital agencies prefer to outsource.

According to the statistics, in 64% of cases, digital agencies outsource technical tasks, particularly those related to mobile apps development. This index is closely followed by video production and post-production (55%), and content management systems setup and adjustment (47%).

The same statistics claim that 53% of the outsourced tasks are given to independent contractors and only 44% – to other digital agencies.

It is easy to understand why companies choose to outsource freelancers in these spheres. Giving out application development to a third party, and agency can focus on its design, UI/UX, marketing, and the methods of promotion. Video production and post-production is an expensive and time-consuming process, and CMS management is a task too narrow to keep in-house specialists.

Let us take a closer look at other arguments in favor of preferring remote professionals over in-house employees.   

Reasons to Outsource

Cost-effectiveness

Annual salaries of in-house software developers may differ depending on a country but always tend to be higher than in other areas. For example, Australian devs earn approximately $106,000 a year; developers in the USA make about $94,000 a year and are followed by Switzerland specialists who earn $69,741. Of course, hiring in developing countries is usually cheaper. But unfortunately, as the prices go down, so does quality. In this regard, it is important to know where to find reliable freelancers. We will return to this later.

Scaling your agency more effectively

Scaling means the ability to successfully deal with growing volumes of tasks and functions in a cost-effective way. For any business, it is safer (and more profitable) to have a lot of smaller or medium clients, rather than two or three big clients. An increasing number of clients means that you will need to hire more in-house pros. In its turn, it means more salaries to pay, more taxes, more of the insurance payments, expenses on additional equipment, and so on.

This is a challenge. On one hand, you need new people to work on the piling up orders. On the other hand, more people require more resources, which makes your agency’s scaling less effective.

Outsourcing freelancers is a great alternative. You can always reach out for them when your workloads skyrocket. You pay only for the job done. If several clients cancel their orders and your incomes are cut, you do not have to spend even more money paying salaries to the hired in-house workers.

Varying skill set needs

The workloads in a digital agency often depend on the number of clients it is currently working for. There are periods when clients are few, and then there are rush job days when the whole agency is overwhelmed with all kinds of tasks.

Keeping in-house professionals for every possible kind of task a customer could come up with would be too wasteful. On the other hand, you often need to react quickly, adapting to the new requirements or to the changes made to a project on the fly. The solution is obvious: to hire a freelancer (or a team of freelancers) for a specific task. Outsourced employees often possess very specific sets of skills which they can put at your disposal without any additional training.

Extra tasks outside of your usual scope

Sometimes your company just does not have enough hands to do the job. Digital agencies can be like that. Your web designer moves into the office, your project manager is on the phone 24/7, and your front end developer hasn’t seen sunshine for months. Still, you are about to miss a deadline, but your business won’t be able to sustain extra in-house employees. Sounds awful, right?

Outsourcing can be a reasonable solution in cases like that. When all you need is a temporary pair of qualified working hands, there is little to none sense in hiring a fulltime specialist.     

Outsourced teams are easy to manage

Despite popular opinion, the effective management of outsourced teams is not impossible. There is a wide range of online tools which can help you: Slack, Trello, Mailtrack, Jing, Dropbox, TeamViewer, and so on. Video conferences make communication easier, and all kinds of project management applications (many of which are free to use) can help you incorporate freelancers into your working process faster.

And, of course, you need to know whom to team up with.

Choosing the Right Partner for Outsourcing

Outsourcing is a great option for yet another reason: while delegating all the technical work to third-party professionals, you can focus your digital agency’s effort on what you are truly good at. Still, the biggest question here is, “Whom can I trust?”

Co-operating with independent contractors is often related to certain risks. You can read more about it in our article, “Freelancers Scam: How to Spot Freelance Scams.” Basically, there are two ways for you to minimize them:

  1. Subject candidates to thorough scrutiny
  2. Hire at specialized outsourcing services

Selecting candidates yourself

If you would like to have full control over the process of hiring outsourced teammates, you need to develop a standardized checking procedure. It should include numerous tests aimed at determining a candidate’s proficiency in the field, their ability to quickly onboard and get into the flow, their communicative skills, reputation, and so on.

Here at Coding Ninjas, we have developed an algorithm which helps us to filter out unsuitable contractors. You are free to use it either as a basis for your own groundwork or as a full recruiting method. It includes several stages:

General check

At this stage, we check our candidate’s background. Generally speaking, we go through their social networks, online portfolios, and profiles on freelance resources to estimate their overall proficiency and adequacy. Testimonials of former clients are also of great value.

Proficiency test

We like to hand our candidates one of the tasks we are currently working on. Of course, we pay them for the job – regardless of whether we eventually hire this person, or not.

Work evaluation

Now we assess the results of the proficiency test. We compare the time the candidate needed to complete the task with the average result other candidates demonstrate. We pay attention to the quality of the work done.

Assessing the candidate

We now scrutiny the candidate’s personality and soft skills. This stage involves live interviews, as well as English proficiency checks.

After a candidate successfully passes all the stages of our vetting process, we hire them. We mostly work with web and software developers, but the procedure described above is easily applicable to the specialists in almost any fields. You can read more about hiring freelance developers in the article, “How to Hire the Best Freelance Developer: Ultimate Guide.”

Hiring at Freelancing Platforms

We do realize that working in a digital agency can be a turmoil. If you are short in time, you do not need to outsource yourself. Delegate it to platforms for vetted specialists such as CodingNinjas. We’ve been working with freelance developers for several years, and during this time we developed reliable ways to separate the wheat from the chaff.

In other words, we have a pool of talented freelancers ready to aid you in whatever task you might have for them. Mostly, we co-operate with web and software developers. So, you can entrust all the technical issues to our experts, and focus on the creative side of your work process. We guarantee that none of the pros you hire at Coding Ninjas will abandon your project, or turn out to be incompetent for the job.

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