Here at Time Saving Heroes we’re clearly fans of outsourcing. If you don’t have the time, knowledge or inclination to do something, there’s no reason why someone else can’t take it off your hands, and that someone doesn’t have to be a member of staff.
Outsourcing specific tasks can be a great way to keep overheads down, and remove the stress of having to actually manage a workforce. However, we also know it’s now always plain sailing. Many of our clients have come through referrals, and most have had bad experienced with Virtual Assistants in the past.
How then do you make sure whoever you’re outsourcing a task to (whether it’s a HR firm, VA or web designer) is actually up to the job? Here are Lu’s top tips to minimise heartbreak down the line.
#1 – Google them
This one should be pretty obvious, but if you’ve been given the name of an individual or company, actually look them up. Ideally a search will bring them up on LinkedIn, and show their website – but what else do they have going on?
Hare they on Trust Pilot or any other independent review site? Do they feature in affiliated bodies or on industry sites? Find out as much as you can from the get go.
#2 – Social proof
Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are great ways to find out more about a company and/or individual. What does their LinkedIn profile say? Do they have any recommendations or endorsements? What’s their approach to social media like, and do they actively get involved with other people online?
These are all valid questions no matter what you’re hiring for, but definitely take that in to account when looking for a self-confessed social media specialist.
#3 – Time management
Everyone charges differently, whether it by the hour or per job. You need to make sure you understand your partner’s pricing structure, and how that can impact you. If they do charge by the hour, is it full or part of? Will they keep a timesheet so you can see precisely where that time is being spent? If you block-book time, can you be sure that time is being used, and do you have control of how it’s used? If you have multiple projects, will they allocate time equally, or based on urgency? Are you in danger of 20 hours being used on one thing, and having to buy more time to get the other jobs done?
#4 – Payment terms
This goes for everything – find out what the payment terms are! Don’t assume it’s 30 days, even if that’s your company standard. Equally, ask about VAT and any other charges you might be expected to pay.
Are phone calls free, within reason? Or does every single bit of contact cost you money? Make sure you know what the score is before you sign up so as to avoid any nasty shocks down the line.
#5 – Sign a contract
Unexpected invoices can quickly sour relationships, so it’s important everyone knows where they stand. You might be as good as your word, but are they? Have a contract signed at the start so there are no arguments later on as to what was expected.
If they don’t have a contract as standard, run a mile!
Remember, Time Saving Heroes offers a wide range of services from content writing to social media management and invoicing to document preparation. If there’s anything you don’t have time for, Time Saving Heroes can help.
Give us a call on 0161 883 2024 or email firstname.lastname@example.org