Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Too Expensive? What Would the Bargain Have Cost You?

"The work was amazing. Really excellent work. Thorough, creative and delivered right on time. She's very good, but it was expensive."

That's what a lawyer told me about working with a freelance attorney. Terrific that the lawyer had the wisdom to know when to delegate. Fantastic that the experience was a very good one. Because, so often, outsourcing work results in wasted time, money and energy.

Has it happened to you? Ever outsourced something only to have to do it yourself anyway? Ever had to beg for the work to be completed, even though deadlines are long past? Answer a million questions that the vendor should not have had to ask? What about the energy- how does it impact you to be faced with an inferior product late in the game? Work you have to "fix" or, worse, "make do". Anger. Frustration. Exhaustion, because you didn't have time to do it in the first place.

So- whenever I hear of an outsourced project that goes well, just as it should, even better than expected- I celebrate. I'm a fan of leverage. Outsourcing can be a wonderful option and it's good to find those providers that I can recommend without hesitation. There's a lot on the line for the lawyer who delegates. Too expensive? I wonder. Maybe that lawyer needs to raise her fees to protect her margin. Maybe she's not charging what her own work is worth.

I'm not saying that there's a one:one relationship between price and quality. We all know that's not true. (I'm looking at you, are your fees appropriate?) Sometimes a bargain can be just that- a bargain. Likewise, sometimes an expensive resource can turn out to be an overpriced disaster. However, if you find someone to trust, but you think they're too expensive to use- reconsider. Outsourcing is like buying time and experience. You get more of each, if you're lucky. If you find a great resource- figure out how to make it work for you.

Dollars are the most obvious measure of expense, but sometimes, within reason, not the most important one.

Note: Lisa Solomon is the fantastic freelancer referenced here. You can see a LOT of testimonials on her website.