04 Nov Save Money Hiring an Overseas Design Firm?
If you’ve been wondering how to save money on your website design, you might be toying with the idea of hiring an overseas design firm. However, hiring a cheap design firm may cost you more in the long run than hiring a local web design company.
In this article, we’ll share a story about a client who decided to go that route and explain why hiring an overseas design firm is not a good idea.
What Happens When You Hire an Overseas Design Firm
Recently, a potential client contacted us and shared their story. Four months ago they hired a web design firm in India. The firm had a good website, large team, and an affordable price. The client received a quote for $5,000 for their website design. The company assured them that their project would take 85 hours and be delivered within 6 weeks with all of the requirements. According to the client’s research, it would cost them around $25,000 if they hired a local design company so they thought they were getting a really great deal.
I began to wonder why they had reached out to us. Then the client continued with their story and proceeded to tell us it had been four months and she still hasn’t even seen a working version or draft of the full website. The overseas company already took all of their money and they are very slow to respond. Even when they do respond, it’s always the next day because of the time zone difference.
I encouraged her to see if they could deliver what was built so far and give her access to it. About two weeks later, she finally was able to get that. She sent us the website address and login details.
When I logged in, I was shocked at what I saw.
The site we were looking at was the worst WordPress website we’ve ever audited. It had over 50 plugins installed and activated and it was built on an unsupported theme. On top of that, the homepage was unusable and in fact, most of the core functionality did not work.
I had no other choice but to recommend that the site be rebuilt from scratch. It would have taken more time to attempt to fix it and make it work than to start over.
That was $5,000 and 4.5 months down the drain.
I’d like to be able to say this was an isolated incident, but unfortunately, it is not. We hear stories like this on a regular basis and it shows that hiring a cheap design company ends up costing you even more money.
Challenges of Working With an Overseas Design Firm
Aside from what we’ve described above, there are a number of challenges involved in working with an overseas design firm.
- Language and communication barriers – at first, language may not be an issue as the person you’re talking to may be U.S. based or have good English, but the people doing the work, do not.
- Time zone difference – they are generally working while you’re asleep. This means that when you ask a question or give feedback, nothing happens until you go to sleep and you get a response the next day.
- Rarely delivered on-time – because of the time zone difference, and communication challenges, the project takes longer and is rarely delivered on time.
- Cultural differences – when you work with a local design company, you can have a conversation and make references and generally understand the same thing because you and the designer are both living in the United States.
- Done incorrectly – there are many ways to do the same thing with a website, but not all methods are created equal. Even if you do work through the communication challenges and get a project delivered, there’s a good possibility it won’t be implemented very well as we have seen in the example above.
- Micro-management required – Even if you can overcome these things, you very likely will have to micro-manage the design to get it to the way you really want it. This takes time and energy.
- On-going support – If you have issues with your website or need extra features or support a few months from now or a year from now, can you count on them being available and responsive to help?
For example, we just had a client call us a few moments ago saying their email was down. We don’t host their email, but we were able to help. Since we built their website and have all of their domain name info, we had all of their information saved. We were able to quickly login and see that their domain name was expired. We pressed the Renew button for them. Had they hired a company in India, they wouldn’t get the same kind of customer support. The client would have had to dig through their emails and documents and remember where their domain name was registered. Once they found the information, they could contact their registrar directly to get it resolved.
Advantages to working with a local design agency
When you work with a local design agency, there are several benefits to keep in mind.
- You can have a meeting, face to face even if necessary.
- You can pick up the phone and call them without incurring expensive phone charges for international calls.
- No time zone challenges.
- Understand the same context because you belong to the same culture.
- More accountability since the communication is facilitated.
- You can talk to others who they have worked with.
- When you work with someone that appreciates design and aesthetics, you won’t have to micro-manage the process to get something you are proud of.
- Better and faster support.
Although a local web design agency may seem more expensive, you will get better results. Along with the benefits we discussed, your project will be delivered on time and implemented correctly. You can rest knowing your website will function well and provide visitors and customers with a stand out user experience.