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How to Find a Web Development Contractor to Partner With

Jul 12, 2018

While the benefits that freelancers and web development contractors offer are certainly valuable, a large number of web agencies do not actually succeed in their first attempt to outsource projects. This is because not all freelancers and white label web agencies are equally competent, equally capable, or equally professional.

In order to have a successful outsourcing experience, you must find the right partner to work with. This first step is, in fact, the most important choice in your outsourcing plan.

Plan Ahead to Ensure Success

Before contacting any potential partners, you must create a detailed outsourcing plan. No two companies have the same outsourcing needs, so you must carefully determine how yours will respond to the realities of your market position and project needs.

Think about the following questions before you start searching for onshore or offshore partners and web agencies:

  • What is Your Budget? Evidently, the entire white label contractor agreement only works so long as it boosts your bottom line. This means you must know your company’s limits when it comes to paying for outsourced website development services. Set multiple levels of budgeting so that you remain with a “plan B” in case your first choice for the contractor doesn’t perform as expected.
  • How Much Experience Do You Need? Naturally, everyone prefers to work with the most experienced outsourcing partner they can find, but there is a trade-off between experience and expense. You may not need a senior lead developer for the work you are looking to offload. Set a realistic expectation about the level of technical experience your ideal web agency partner should have.
  • Do You Need Multiple Developers? Most companies that outsource rely on tight-knit development teams whose skills complement one another. However, your particular set of projects may be better suited to a single freelancer with a single high-value skill that you are looking for. Make a quick list of the skills your web development partner should have, and the level of work you expect fulfilled for each skillset. This should clearly show whether you need to work with a team of developers or a single freelancer.
  • How Long Do Your Projects Typically Last? Any web development company you hire will want an estimate of how long you expect to engage their services. Be prepared to offer some examples concerning general project timelines so that you and your offshore or onshore web agency partner remain on the same page from the outset of your collaboration.

The level of thought that must go into these questions suggests an important fact – you must not rush the hiring process. Web agencies that take the time to find an agency partner to collaborate with before they are swamped with orders are much better positioned to meet client expectations than those that wait until the last minute.

However, if you simply haven’t thought of collaborating with web agency partners until high-volume work started pouring in, don’t panic. Take a step back and assess the situation realistically, giving yourself a clear idea of how you can best obtain ideal results for your client. In many cases, this means hiring a more expensive contractor who you are sure will get the job done well and deliver on time, and then beginning the search for a less expensive one who you can rely on next time.

Where Can I Find a Web Development Contractor?

The process of finding applicants interested in completing web development projects on your behalf is surprisingly simple – let’s identify four popular options below. However, each one of these options comes with its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. You will want to compare your needs as laid out through the above-mentioned questions to determine which method is most likely to result in success.

1. Online Freelance Marketplaces

Websites like Upwork, Guru, and TopTal are well-known resources for connecting web agencies to talented freelancers and agencies. These websites have large pools of freelancers who are actively looking for work, making them great time-savers for firms unwilling to go through a more time-consuming channel.

However, the speed with which you can hire a freelancer or agency on one of these platforms makes it easy to make mistakes – hiring people with the wrong skill set, or who deliver low-quality work, for instance. Often, this happens because agencies attempt to save by hiring the cheapest freelancers who apply to their job – this is almost always a bad move. In reality, you will get good results out of freelance marketplaces only when hiring top talent – and top talent costs.

2. Online Local Classifieds

Online local classifieds ads are a great way to get on-demand work from local freelancers. Unlike Upwork and Guru, your contractor can meet with you face-to-face and even work from your office if you prefer. In some cases, this represents an important enough advantage that it compensates for the reduced applicant pool size – there are so many qualified only web developers in your city.

Craigslist is by far the largest website of this kind, although every city also has its own newspaper classifieds and industry-specific trade journals.

3. Managed Listing Services

Websites like Clutch and UpCity take the freelance concept a step further by offering independent verification of the businesses they connect users to. For instance, if a web development agency wants to take on some additional white label work through Clutch, it must apply for the privilege. Before hosting the service on its website, Clutch will research the agency and contact it by phone to verify it.

This creates an environment of trust, which is a powerful tool when looking for outsourcing contractors – you can be sure that a Clutch- or UpCity-listed business is competent and capable of delivering on their promises.

4. References and Networking

Speaking with contractors you have worked with in the past is a surefire way to find trustworthy connections. Even partners and outsourcing agencies that don’t have the skills you are looking for may be able to point you in the right direction. Often, they have a broad network of collaborators who work in similar fields.

If you don’t have previous experience working with these types of contractors, local meetups and developer conferences are a great way to begin building your network. WordPress has meetups in almost every city in the US – you can almost certainly use one of these as a starting point.

Build a Team of Trustworthy Professionals

Of the choices listed above, most agencies will get the best results working with a listing service that offers vetted contacts, such as Clutch or UpCity. The vetting process saves your time and gives you and your potential collaborator a common starting ground.

Whichever method you choose, be prepared to monitor team performance starting from the very beginning of your collaboration. Use the list of needs and expectations that you created to determine just how productive your partnership really is, and don’t be afraid to terminate it at the first signs of trouble – it’s always easier to cut off a troublesome connection early on, rather than later.

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