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The Digital Business Kit for Retailers

mod-arrow Remote Contractor or Outsource Worker

A remote contractor will work a 100 % of the time from home or his/her own Telework place and is NOT an employee. The contractor may be in either the same geographic region as the main office (remote contractor) or in a geographically distant location (e.g. overseas). This section examines both of these situations.

For the employer: A remote contractor can offer enhanced capacity without the long-term commitment of an employee. Specialised skills required for specific projects and/or development cycle may be an ideal situation for bringing on a remote contractor. The ability to retain a remote contractor for limited deliverables or period of time can provide for low overhead. However, finding and hiring the right contractor can be time intensive and subject to availability.

For the contractor: Limited contract engagements can be profitable when the contract requires your specialised skill set. However, “ramping up” on the client’s work environment and requirements should be calculated into costing. Short-term contracts also negatively impact long-term revenue forecasting.

Unique considerations: Regional legal requirements regarding contractor terms and agreements, ownership of deliverables and intellectual property. This ensures contractor’s inclusion, adequate infrastructure and top level connectivity.

Pros and Cons of Remote Contractor Model

Remote Outsource Worker

A full-time Teleworker will work exclusively from home or remotely. The outsource worker may contract to a number of employers at once. In contrast they offer their services to companies with which they have not had any personal contact. This work relationship may be national or international.

Outsourcing has its own unique set of pros and cons.

Employer: Factors involved in deciding to outsource commonly include lack of local capacity and budget. Challenges include finding and managing the right outsource resource. Using websites dedicated to outsourcing can help you find the right skill set and make management easier.

Workers: Outsourcing can offer a variety of options. You can outsource for a project with a limited timeline. For example, creating a logo or editing a document for an employer or buyer. When the project is complete, the relationship with the employer or buyer ends. Increasingly there are longer term engagements in which you complete tasks in an ongoing arrangement with the buyer. Hours required will vary by engagement and are generally dictated by the buyer. This type of work can allow workers to piece together a number of jobs with various buyers to create full time work if desired. For example, virtual assistant workers are often retained for a set number of hours a week to assist the buyer with a variety of tasks.

How to Get Started in Outsourcing

It is recommended to utilise an online outsourcing service (examples listed below). The online services are designed to help workers and buyers connect. Typically a worker will create a profile including skill sets, pay range, portfolio and other elements to make their profile stand out.

Quality and trust: The benefit of the established online services is that they include a ranking system showing how many times a buyer or worker has completed work, average pay and most importantly a ranking of that profile holder (business or worker). After each project is completed both parties can rank one another and as more work is completed this ranking helps establish validity of the profile. Typically it is a 5 star system with skills ranked as well.

In the image below we see the basic view of a worker profile from Elance – the star rating is provided by the buyers who have used this worker’s services and have given feedback on the service provided. Similarly for workers, they can see the ranking on potential buyers on qualities like prompt payment, communication etc. Elance: www.elance.com and Odesk: www.odesk.com are industry-leading websites for listing projects and finding a compatible national and international outsource hires. These sites offer advanced project postings, outsource work rating system, bid software and more.

Workers: Here are two videos about using a company like Elance.