Should You Let Your Clients Know that You Outsource Some of the Work?
If you would like me to answer your outsourcing question here on my blog, send me your question and I may feature you on an upcoming blog post 🙂
Q: Did you let your clients know you had outsourced some of the work? – Melissa Schultz @ MelissaSchultz.net
A: This is a great question that I receive from a lot of virtual assistants especially. There really is no one size fits all, clear cut, yes or no answer. Instead I’ll tell you the way I see it.
But first, to answer your question directly…I always said to my clients “My team and I will…” or “We’ll get it assigned to my team”. So they always knew it was a team effort. And I don’t think I would have been pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes trying to say I did everything 😉
If the task you are outsourcing has nothing to do with the service you’re providing to your clients, the client has no real reason to know. As an example, if you’re a VA and you outsource your bookkeeping, market research, etc., those tasks have no direct result on the work you do for your clients, therefore your client doesn’t have a need to know.
Another situation when your client probably doesn’t need to know that you outsource is when the work you outsource has little bearing on the finished product you are providing that client. For example, if you’re a writer and you hire a proofreader, there is really no reason your client would need or want to know. The writing, including any changes suggested by a proofreader that you choose to incorporate, are still done by you.
So, when should you make it clear to your clients that you outsource?
Continuing with the writing example, let’s say you’re a writer who is outsourcing to other writers. In cases such as this, I’d say it’s likely a good idea that your website convey a ‘we’ type language, instead of ‘I’. I don’t believe you have to explicitly say that someone else might be doing the writing, but express that you own a business that offers writing services, instead. Also, don’t stress that you personally will handle all of the writing for your clients if you do have a team of writers working with you.
Even then, it might not be absolutely necessary to disclose that you are outsourcing. If you’re outsourcing responsibly and ensuring that all projects are consistently completed to your standards, then your clients will be provided with the quality work they have come to expect from you.
I’m not saying you should lie or be dishonest, but you should be conveying yourself as a professional business that has staff that helps to conduct day-to-day business operations.
I have heard some horror stories where outsourcing has gone wrong for a service-provider and most of the time it was due to the fact that the business owner did not fully check the quality of his or her contractor’s work before returning it to the client. By ensuring the work is completed to the client’s specifications, prior to turning the work in, you can avoid being bitten.
No matter what type of business you own, be it service or product based, remember it’s YOUR business and you are the one who is ultimately responsible for it. When you hire contractors to complete work, whether it be for you alone or directly for a client of yours, the way that work is completed is a direct reflection of you.
If you want me to answer your outsourcing question on my blog, send me your question here and I may feature you on an upcoming blog post 🙂