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Outsourcing Scams Refuted Part II

Please see: Outsourcing Scams Refuted – Part I for prior information.  This blog post attempts to refute or explain comments that I first read here:

[urbanette] Steal and sell database and client assets, reuse code on multiple client sites. [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] This could happen with any programmer, anywhere, not just an when using an outsourcing company. It’s your responsibility to protect your assets. While it is hard to successfully start and prosecute a lawsuit in the Philippines and other outsourcing destinations, you should have signed contracts in place with your outsourcing vendor to maintain and protect all your digital rights and assets.

As far as re-use. That is also a contractual thing that you need to address. It’s the risk you take sharing your intellectual property with other humans, not only outsourcing companies [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] If you need a shopping cart, or feature on your site, they will tell you it has to be made custom and it will be fast to code, then keep delaying and drag it out for many, many months. If you check your code, you may often find that the new feature that they added was actually plug-and-play pre-made code that should have taken a day to customize and was just an excuse to rack up months worth of extra hours. [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] This is a longer rehash of a statement made earlier in this article. Listen, if you don’t have an approved project time line, you are at fault. You need to stay on top of your outsourced workers progress with DAILY progress reports that you verify! It’s the only way. [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] For designers: they have one designer for the whole office and many clients, and they get the designer to go from client to client and make one design, then other cheap (minimum wage) non-designers make copies in other colors. If you notice that sometimes designs are great, and sometimes the quality is bad, or just variations in color, that’s why. [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] There are two kinds of companies (you) that need an outsourced designer. One company wants a full time worker, the other company needs a website, logos or other small one-time or infrequent project. Generally new small projects would be given to a good employee as a benefit. In other words, let’s say PI Outsource has ten designers working for different clients. These designers ordinarily work 40 hour shifts for their respective clients.

When you come along and ask PI Outsource to build a website, what do you think I do with the project? I give it to one of my existing or former competent designers that I know can get the job done as “side” work or extra work on the weekend or at night at home. They get extra pay, everyone is happy. Why would I have a team of new designers making crappy designs when I already have a team of accomplished designers working for existing clients? It doesn’t make sense!

A company that hires a full time designer will get a full time dedicated outsourced designer  You can’t fool somebody, day in and day out, for months or years with the advent of the LIVE STREAMING VIDEO CAMERA! Use it! Check on your workers diligently.

If you are scheduling a freelance designer for project work, you better have checked his portfolio. Remember, you give the specifications, you are responsible that the specs are met and hopefully exceeded. [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] Here are a few tips I learned along the way, to help you navigate the murky waters of outsourced staffing.  Hiring Tips:  If the company is based out of the Philippines (which has the lowest rates for educated staffing), then ONLY hire companies on the BPAP accredited member list. [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] Wait? Because someone pays to be on a list, you should use them? I’d suggest you check references of any outsourcing company you do business with no matter who has them on an approved list. [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] Beware Hubport Interactive, PhilWeb Services and Online Experts (all in the Philippines). I’ve found all three to be using unethical practices.
Be skeptical by default; think about how they could be scamming you. [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] I personally can only say that in my experiences PhilWeb Services is a poor web host. I have no experience with the others. Again, a few reference checks could make this problem negligible. [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] Interview with webcam and have them answer coding questions. [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] PI Outsource will always provide you with this opportunity. We couldn’t agree more. [/PI Outsource]

[urbanettete] Interview with webcam (you can use Google Hangouts) and notice the office environment: Are there empty work stations with computers that are on? Are people switching desks? [/urbanettete]

[PI Outsource] Franky, worry about your workers only. This is ridiculous and borders on paranoia. A large outsourcing company will have many workers working many different tasks for many clients.  Only concern yourself with your outsourced workers. [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] Red flag: If they don’t need to wait to hire, they always have available staff (then they are assigning multiple clients to one programmer). [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] Wrong again. A good outsourcing company has access to countless numbers of Filipinos who are ready to work tomorrow. We have previously employed hundreds of workers. Many have expired contracts and would love to come back and work with us again ASAP.  In fact, this is exactly why you pay us a premium. You pay us to provide you workers in a timely fashion so you don’t have to sift through the thousands of resumes received for every help wanted ad that you place. [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] Always ask for a list of sites they worked on, and email and say that XX coder said they built your site. Did they? How were they? If not then who did? (Maybe it was a company the coder worked for and the client didn’t know the coder’s real name). [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] As mentioned before, always check references and review portfolios. It’s a no brainer really. [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] Never hire a project manager at the same company as your coders – it’s wasted money. [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] You are the project manager! It’s the only way you will have success in outsourcing. [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] Never hire more than one coder per company, and assume whoever you will get will be junior. [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] So this site is recommending that you hire a team that does not work together? Doesn’t make any sense to me! Disregard!  [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] Have another coder at a separate company check the code every so often, to see if it’s sloppy, or if they’re racking up too many hours on things that should be quick to code or customize. [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] Holy moly, something that is true! If you don’t know what you are doing, you better hire someone who does!

[urbanette] Protect your assets, don’t let them have access to your database if you can avoid it.
It’s a bit better if the company has a branch in the US, but it still doesn’t mean you can trust them. They are very practiced in how to gain your trust and sell you on their company being more ethical than others, but even as they speak, they know they are going to employ all the same shady practices they preach against. [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] I fail to see how ethics is an issue for hiring task based workers to do measured tasks. When you come on as a prospective client I try to minimize your expectations so PI Outsource can exceed them! Why would I try to sell you the moon just to fall short in the end? [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] Make them sign a good employment, NDA, non-compete contract that also prohibits them from further outsourcing the work. Here are a few examples.
Don’t hire them (freelancer or company) if they refuse to use a monitoring program like Time Doctor. If they refuse, it’s a major red flag and means they’re up to something dishonest. [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] We prefer ClockSpot, but it’s your choice. It’s always a good idea to monitor your outsourced employees work times. As far as contracts go, it’s a good idea, but good luck suing a Philippines company in the USA if they don’t have a presence there. You definitely won’t be suing them in the Philippines and waiting on a resolution through the Philippine courts. [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] Working Tips:   Make them install and use Time Doctor software (to make sure they’re online the hours they bill you for, and aren’t on Facebook half of the day, or away from their computer, etc.) [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] Go for it! [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] Time Doctor gives screenshots every 3 to 10 min (you can set the frequency), but you can also occasionally share your screen using any screen sharing program so you can see what they’re doing in real-time (especially great with designers, so you can direct their progress). [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] Sounds like a good idea! PI Outsource would never discourage you from using any type of monitoring software for your outsource workers.  [/PI Outsource]

[urbanette] Even if you use computer monitoring software, they may still have two computers – and multiple clients – and just move the screen a bit every so often so it looks like there’s activity. If they’re not getting much done, there’s always a reason. This is a good time to start using screen sharing software on a daily basis. [/urbanette]

[PI Outsource] Stay alert and you will have success in outsourcing. [/PI Outsource]

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