The Flexible Option for Small Companies
Outsourcing is when a business assigns certain tasks to an outside company. This option is on the rise as it provides a way to reduce costs and acquire high-quality work. It is often flexible and hours can be increased or lowered to meet the needs of the business. This can often be easier for a business than hiring an individual to do the job.
Outsourcing can be extremely useful for small businesses. With a small number of employees, companies may find it difficult to manage all their daily tasks, especially if demand increases. This means smaller jobs such as emails, newsletters, blogs, social media, and website updates may get forgotten.
What Should You Outsource?
• General administrative duties
• Bookkeeping and accounting
• Social media
By contracting out these smaller tasks, the company has more free time to focus on the larger tasks. This can lead to higher productivity and quality of work as employees have more time to focus on important jobs.
Virtual assistants can also be hired to take care of day to day tasks. A VA is a freelance individual who works from home and are paid only for the hours required, which can save a company the cost of employing a PA or other full-time employee. A VA can provide a variety of services including admin tasks, content marketing, SEO, web development, and web design.
Outsourcing can lower costs, gain experienced professionals, free up employee time, and give small businesses high-quality work with fast delivery. However, some companies may provide poor quality work and fail to meet deadlines. As outsourcing companies work remotely, communication could be a problem if they are not responsive. These pros and cons need to be evaluated before deciding which work to outsource and which to leave in-house.
IT and Outsourcing
IT companies often outsource work such as application and software development. This work can be outsourced overseas which can be appealing as the costs are lower than in the UK. However, whilst contracting out to developers in the UK may cost more it ensures a closer point of contact which can be useful if any problems arise.
Here we go over the main points a small IT firm should consider when outsourcing work.
The Pros of IT Outsourcing
• Reduction in labour and operating costs – especially when outsourcing overseas.
• Source the best developer – a developer can be found from anywhere in the world. Finding an in-house developer could be more difficult as the search is limited to the UK.
• Fast production time – people can be hired to work around the clock to meet the company’s timescales.
• Training – there is no need to train existing/new employees which can take time and cost money, as staff will already be trained and developing their knowledge.
• Access top notch technology – an IT outsourcing company will require the latest technology for their business to grow, whereas a small IT business may not be able to afford it. By outsourcing, this tech avenue is opened for small companies and so their apps/software can compete with bigger players in the market.
The Cons of IT Outsourcing
• Poor quality work – although overseas outsourcing can be cheaper, this may be because the developers have a shortage of skills and knowledge
in the area. With an in-house developer, a company can perform more checks on quality and have more of an input.
• Slow delivery – an outsourcing company may not meet set deadlines which can lead to schedules falling behind and client complaints. A company has more control over in-house deadlines and delivery.
• Communication – if an outsourcing company becomes unresponsive this could be a major issue especially if they are overseas. In-house communication is far smoother.
Landlords and Outsourcing
When an individual enters the property market and becomes a landlord they have a choice to make. They can self-manage their properties or hand over the management to a letting agent.
If a landlord chooses to self-manage they oversee contracts, changes in legislation, finding tenants, inventories, viewings, property checks, tenants repairs and so on. This may be a good option if a landlord has one or two properties and are confident with their lettings knowledge. There are also several useful websites for landlords where they can get help, information, and essential forms/documents for going it alone. However, if a landlord has a large portfolio and a lack of time to keep up to date on essential knowledge and communicate with tenants, using a letting agent may be a better option.
Below we point out the pros and cons of outsourcing to a letting agent.
The Pros of Using a Letting Agent
• Make life easier – a letting agent can take the pressure off a landlord. They can take over daily tasks, find tenants, arrange viewings, take rent payments, handle paperwork and deal with maintenance problems.
• Property Specialists – they are specialists in property meaning they know all the rules to follow and how to market a property to the highest standards.
• Strict vetting – they have strict vetting and referencing processes meaning they can find the most reliable tenants.
• Legislation changes – letting agents will be aware of any legislative changes that will affect landlords.
• Conflicts – they are trained in how to deal with disputes and resolve them with ease.
The Cons of Using a Letting Agent
• The Price – letting agents will take a proportion of rental income, varying between 5 to 15 percent. If a landlord only has one property and good tenants they may not be doing that much work.
• The Service – if a letting agent provides a poor service to the tenant it will reflect badly on the landlord.
• Communication – there is a middle man in between the landlord and tenant meaning communication may be difficult.
Should I Outsource?
To conclude, outsourcing can be a great option for small businesses as they can hand over general day to day tasks, and other work that they may not have the time or staff for. It can free up employee time to focus on essential tasks and reduce costs. Access to experienced professionals from across the world is also beneficial.
However, as outsourcing companies work remotely there can be issues with language, communication, delivery time and quality of work. In-house work can be more easily monitored and communication is far superior.
Small companies need to assess the pros and cons of outsourcing and see if it is a good fit for their company.