Outsourcing comes in different flavors - from hiring an “on-demand” freelancer for specific components, through onboarding a consultant handling certain activities, to delegating a good chunk of your work to a large agency out there.
All of those have their pros and cons, and depend on the structure of your business and your WordPress development plan in the long run.
What is Development Outsourcing
Generally speaking, outsourcing can be determined as a short-term activity or a long-term partnership. Hiring a new staff member can be very time consuming - 1–3 months of hiring, 3–9 months of onboarding until they become efficient and start producing value for the company. According to different sources, employees tend to switch jobs every couple of years or so, especially valid for millennials in fast-paced industries and more demanding jobs.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates a declining duration of employment, an average of 4 years at the moment - although it’s worth noting that this also accounts for management jobs which generally tend to require quite a lot of time (and allow for less job-hopping), include a good number of baby boomers and gen X people, and also count a ton of industry workers with fewer opportunities to switch jobs.
Outsourcing may be a valuable way to delegate a subsection of your business such as: development, marketing, sales, or anything else that could be delegated to a third party with a lower risk relying on higher competence and dealing with all logistics, hiring, salaries and such.
As an example, we act as a WordPress partner for an ongoing account by delivering web development solutions for them for 2 years now. Since we’ve started in Feb 2015, two marketing coordinators handling everything have left, and we’re doing initial training and onboarding for new team members from our client’s company who would take care of managing our staff.
During the initial briefs it’s apparent that we hold a lot more know-how for their business, since a lot of information has been “lost in translation” over the last couple of years as people left the company without disclosing everything to the latest details. We are in touch with all third-party vendors, aware of their contracts, limitations and benefits, and have access to everything and anything needed for the day-to-day operations. As we are performing a migration to another hosting vendor now, we have a list of everything we’ve worked on for two years now, and identified several issues that would potentially come up, mini-sites that need to be migrated as well, together with outdated hardware that is no longer needed (i.e. lower costs for moving to a new vendor).
Long-term outsourcing can be mutually beneficial as it translates to recurring revenue for the third-party provider and provides opportunities for the core business including lower costs, less back and forth, no HR overhead, expertise from other businesses that the third-party vendor works with, using the right talent for the job (as compared to employing a single person with limited expertise).
Even if a business considers to bring in-house people for a given department at some point of time, this is an expensive venture. It requires several full-time staff members dealing with different activities, together with one or two managers or team leaders dealing with operations, strategy, planning, milestones, execution. There are added costs for salaries, health benefits and the like, and possible gaps during holidays or sick leaves, which is easily handled by 3rd party vendors who coordinate several folks working on a project (less “downtime”).