Outsourcing is not a dirty word!
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
By Joe Adkins
Note: The opinions expressed in REALTOR® Viewpoint are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect ORRA's official positions on the issues discussed within.
When I tell you that I outsource to India, Pakistan, and Dubai for less than $3 an hour, what is your initial thought? That I’m a bad person and not supporting the U.S. economy, correct?
I have found this to be a pretty common reaction. But there’s another way to look at the practice of outsourcing, one that views it in a positive light.
It’s highly possible that you are one of 300,000,000 Americans who already outsource. For example, consider your smartphone, television, laptop, car, and the little parts on your appliances and electrical devices. When you buy these items you are supporting a Chinese economy that manufactures such technologies and their components… that’s outsourcing! I would venture to say at least 75 percent of what you own was partly or even fully manufactured or assembled in China or in another foreign country. We live in a global economy, and outsourcing is nothing to be ashamed of.
We all want to grow our businesses. Most of us have big ideas but limited time, so at some point in your real estate career you have probably hired an assistant or thought about hiring an assistant. Assuming that it costs $12 an hour to hire a skilled worker, an assistant gets very expensive very quickly. A 40-hour week costs about $500 when you take into account FICA and Medicare matching. Compare that to the $4 an hour ($160 a week with no FICA or Medicare matching) you pay by outsourcing assistant functions to workers in India, Pakistan, or Dubai.
The workers you can hire in these countries are intelligent and have a work ethic that American employers dream of! And I know, because I’ve been outsourcing for five years.
If the word "outsource” makes you cringe and envision unemployed Americans who have lost their jobs to people in other countries, read "The World Is Flat” by Thomas Friedman. It truly is a global economy now.
Joe Adkins, The Realty Factor, was chairman of the 2012 ORRA Technology Task Force. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ORRA welcomes submission of opinion on real-estate related issues; please contact email@example.com for writers' guidelines.
Here’s a list of some of the tasks that I outsource:
- Web design;
- Web programming;
- E-mail server maintenance and customization;
- CMS server maintenance and customization;
- Server security;
- Data entry;
- SEO and online marketing;
- Listing flier design; and
- Posting online ads for listings and rental.
Where To Find
Go to websites like elance.com, odesk.com, and freelancer.com to find skilled workers. You simply post the job you want done and let the workers bid on your job. Choose the proposals you like the best, then utilize a chat function to select the individual you believe will do the job the best.
You then pay money into an escrow account and either release half of it when the project is 50 percent completed, or all of it when the project is completed. It’s a win-win situation because workers know the money is waiting for them, and you know that you don’t have to pay until work is done.
After developing relationships, you can get the costs way down. We now have a virtual assistant we pay less than $2 an hour.
How To Train
We use software like Camtasia Studio to screenrecord exactly what we want done. Then we just have the workers watch the videos. This way if one worker leaves, we don’t have to spend time training the next one. We just have them watch the video.
By Joe Adkins