As a business owner, having a successful online presence is a must in today’s marketplace, but the big question is, how do you get one? For many business owners this can be one of the biggest and most challenging decisions to make thanks to the sheer number of options available. When considering the design and build of your new website most business owners would typically hire a local web design company, but an increasing number of smaller businesses are now looking at overseas companies to take on their projects. Within this article we’ll discuss each option in detail to help you decide which is best for you.
Hiring An Overseas Web Development Shop
If you’re working within a tight budget, hiring an overseas web development shop may seem like the most attractive option. There are a plethora of web designers and web developers in countries such as India and Eastern Europe who are offering their services for what seems like a fraction of what UK companies charge, and with technologies such as Skype and video conferencing making it even easier, it can be difficult to see the downside. However from our experience, companies who decide go down this route almost always have to hire a second web design agency to correct their mistakes, or in some cases even start the project from scratch, which can dramatically increase the overall cost of the project.
There are also several factors you should carefully consider before outsourcing your project to an overseas agency:
Language and Cultural Differences
One of the main concerns for companies looking to hire an overseas web design agency is the language and cultural barriers. Granted, most foreign agencies who are offering their services to UK companies can communicate in english, however conveying your company’s concepts, ideas and visions through a webcam may be a little bit more difficult.
Perhaps the most obvious drawback to using an overseas developer is the time difference. It goes without saying, the further away from the UK you get the bigger the difference, for example the time difference between India and the UK is between 4-5 hours. This can undoubtedly cause a few headaches if you need to get hold of your developer urgently.
Another big issue when outsourcing your project overseas is quality control. How can you be sure your website is being built to current web design standards? A common practise for large overseas development shops is to showcase a general portfolio of work which is usually carried out by their best developer rather than showcasing the work of the actual developers who will be handling your project. A possible way to help guard yourself against this is to conduct a technical interview before choosing a company.
Perhaps the biggest concern for companies when outsourcing work is security, from both a technical and legal aspect. Conducting a technical interview before choosing an overseas agency can help ensure your new website is technically secure but what can you do if there’s a dispute between you and the agency mid-project? Working with UK based web design agencies often involves signing a contract which covers both the client and the agency, and is covered by UK law. This isn’t the case if you decide to work with an overseas company.
Obviously there are a lot of factors you need to carefully consider before deciding to go down the overseas route, but ultimately you will need to decide whether the attractive cost outweighs the concerns.
Hiring A Local Web Design Company
On first analysis, hiring a local web design agency may seem like the more expensive option, however once you weigh up the additional benefits, the price difference isn’t all that great.
Face to face meetings
Among other reasons, one of the main benefits of hiring a local web design company is the ability to have physical face to face meetings. The main reason you hire a professional for any job is because of their knowledge and expertise. This is the same for web design and being able to have face to face meetings with your agency is important to ensure everyone is on the same page. It’s also a great opportunity to discuss concepts and bounce ideas around to ensure you’re receiving the best return on your investment. Ultimately having face to face meetings will ensure everyone is clear with the scope of the project and will eliminate any confusion which can often result in additional charges later down the line.
Post-launch Support And Services
Another major advantage to hiring a local web design company is their ability to provide various types of post-launch support and services. Typically if you hire a professional web design company they will provide an SLA (service level agreement) which covers any issues which may occur once the project has been signed off. They can also provide a variety of other ongoing services such as SEO and digital marketing which will help you make the most of your new website.
Security and Confidence
The security and confidence you’ll receive from working with a local agency simply can’t be matched by an overseas company. Most UK based web design agencies will have an array of local clients you can contact for honest reviews and recommendations. This is a sure fire way to ensure the agency you are working with is up to scratch. Also, as previously mentioned signing a contract with a UK based web agency means you are covered by UK law which can be useful if there are any disputes regarding the project.
On Time and Within Budget
The majority of companies working with local web design agencies can be confident that their work will be done right the first time and within the agreed budget. Many business owners who feel as though they’re saving money by outsourcing their work, often find that the end results don’t match their expectations or the original brief. Typically this is down to a lack of communication or understanding, and a lack of ability. As a result, companies who find themselves in this situation often end up paying more than they were originally expecting too, in both time and money.
So to answer the original question, ‘Should you hire a local web design agency or outsource to an overseas company?’ I’m afraid, as with many things in life, there’s no right or wrong answer. The best you can do is carefully consider the different factors involved and decide which option is best for you and your business.
There’s certainly nothing wrong outsourcing to an overseas company, and if you’re working with a very limited budget, this may be the best option. However, you will have to embrace the limitations of working with someone in a different time zone and understand that this may result in delays and misunderstandings.
On the contrary, working with a local web design agency will give you security and make the whole process run alot smoother. They will also be able to guide in the right direction to achieve the best possible return on your investment.
Regardless of which options you do choose, the best advice anyone can give you is to do your homework first. Remember, “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” - Red Adair