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Outsourcing often gets a bad rap, but if your business needs to build a new website or have a brochure designed, for instance, and lacks the expertise in-house, outsourcing your project at home or abroad is often the most viable and cost-effective solution.

So where can you find qualified contractors to complete your projects? Thanks to the internet, it's never been easier to not only locate talented contractors but to get them competing for your business.

Here are five websites that help businesses find contracts to outsource their projects to.

  • ELance
    One of the original outsourcing websites, I've hired a number of web developers and graphic designers using eLance. ELance allows you to post your project, receive bids from contractors, offers a system for managing projects and also provides a payments service with an escrow option.
  • ScriptLance
    With a focus on web-oriented projects, I've observed that ScriptLance tends to be a hub for lower dollar value "gigs."
  • oDesk
    When outsourcing on an hourly rate payment schedule, there is always concern that a contractor won't put in the time her or she is supposed to put in. oDesk takes a novel approach and keeps track of the time contractors are putting in. It can even take screenshots every 10 minutes so that you can see what your contractors are doing.
  • Guru
    Guru bills itself as "the world's largest online service marketplace" and works in a fashion similar to ELance.
  • RentACoder
    Like ScriptLance, RentACoder is primarily oriented to web projects, as its name implies. It claims over 220,000 "registered coders."

Having successfully used some of the services above, here are a few tips:

  • Spec out your requests in as great a detail as possible. Even if you're not capable of describing what you need in technical terms, take the time to explain what you need in depth. If you don't, expect delays, additional costs and poor results.
  • Set sensible milestones. Quite honestly, outsourcing can be crapshoot - especially when working with a new contractor. You have to be prepared for complications. Thus, give thought to milestones so that you can get a project back on track (or cancel it) early if it goes astray.

  • Communication is key. If you have a hard time communicating with a contractor during the sales phase, you're probably going to have a hard time communicating with them during the project phase.
  • Look local. Certain types of projects are almost always best completed locally. If you have a complex or long-term project, give some real thought to selecting a local contractor that you can meet with in person.

  • You usually get what you pay for. Even if you decide to outsource your project to a country in which contractors charge far less, be weary of quotes that seem too good to be true. They usually are.
  • Look closely at portfolios, read feedback, request references and ask questions. Treat the hiring of a contractor the same as you would the hiring of an employee. Do your due diligence!

Published 22 August, 2008 by Patrick Oak

82 more posts from this author

Comments (5)



Great list, I've tried some of those freelance site and luckily I got one client.

about 8 years ago


ed taaffe

I can certainly attest to this, though I would add a caution about just how much project management you need to put in.
last year, I changed my mind at the last minute and decided to employ individual coders in Russia and India.
I delivered the finished project in the planned timescales at 21.5% of the allotted budget including my own time.
It worked for me because I was able to micro manage them.

almost 8 years ago


Outsourcing Guru

A very impressive blog.. Thanks for the list and tips.. Although may I add, that there also other good outsourcing companies which delivers a good quality product and service.

over 7 years ago


Call Centers in the Philippines

This is a pertinent post. A fabulous article with an amazing level of detail! I truly appreciate your effort to inform us. Many thanks for sharing this. Glad I came across this site.



over 6 years ago



Nice list! I have used some of the sites mentioned above and I agree that you have to d a little research when outsourcing to this sites. That being said, there are quite a large number of quality providers you can find in these sites as well.

about 6 years ago

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