Tiered Outsourcing in the Online Freelancing Scenario: Research Your Employers Before Starting Your Work

The scenario is like this: an amateur advertises online for various freelancing jobs, such as content writing, web design, SEO, link building, programming, and more. A company that offers such services to its clients may approach this amateur and engage him to do the work on their behalf. They charge the client a professional sum, such as 30 or 40 dollars per hour of work and route some 5 or 10 dollars per hour to the amateur (sometimes this is even worse, like 1 or 2 dollars). The middleman benefits and both the client and amateur are cheated.

This sort of business is in operation for some years now in full swing. Read this post to know how you can avoid these people.

This scenario is more than severe in the Indian Web marketplace, which offers many quality freelancers who lack only that extra experience. Some US Web services companies know this fact. They simply engage them do the work and verify it, then present the report to their client and charge them. This process is known as double outsourcing or tiered outsourcing.

The offshore Web services market of the United States is expected to rise to an estimated $14.7 billion by 2009 according to a recent survey. And a very huge percentage of these billions is the result of tiered outsourcing.

Clients, Find out Who is Actually Working for You

Companies doing business online find it convenient and cost-effective to outsource most of their tasks. This is facilitated by a number of online outsourcing firms in the realms of SEO, content writing, programming, etc. Any company may engage these outsourcing firms. Some of these firms may offer very substantial discounts that you may be tempted to purchase their services.

But before you start working with them, the best thing to do is asking for a few testimonials and details of former clients for verification. This genuinely helps your cause.

First, you need to be sure if you will really get quality services.

There are instances when companies doing business in the US, find higher rankings for their sites with regionally relevant content in India and not in their preferred region, thus nearly devastating their businesses. Sometimes, the optimization gets a bit excessive, and they simply lose positions in search rankings. Therefore, it is simply more than a matter of trust to require testimonials from former clients of the outsourcing firm.

The important thing to do is don't get tempted by glittering offers. Always engage a trusted long-standing firm than a new one, unless the new one is found outstanding in your verification.

If you find that your outsourcing company is tier-sourcing the job to inexperienced freelancers, be very strict about it. Don't outsource any more jobs to them and let others know of their bad business methods.

Freelancers, Know Who You Are Working for

Now, freelancers, you are many out there, in various fields: software programming, web and other types of design, content writing, SEO jobs, link building, and more. You may find jobs easily, by registering with some freelancing sites, such as Guru.com, eLance, Bizreef, etc. Some clients may directly approach you for your services as well. But before signing up on your services, always show some discretion.

Think before you leap!

First, require the details about the company you are actually working for, including the business contact, address, telephone numbers, etc. Be very sure of how you will be paid, whether by bank transfer, by PayPal, or by paper check. And most importantly, see if you are actually working with the original client or with an outsourcing firm.

Charging the opportunity provider optimally is also important. A relatively new freelancer may charge very low, while an established web freelancer should charge professional rates and can be very expensive depending on the value of services offered. To know more of these professional rates, network with other freelancers, go to communities and chat rooms to get to know leading freelancers and get an idea of price structure from them.

Here is Freelance Switch's Hourly rate calculator that will help you enormously.

If you find out that you are being employed by a third-party outsourcing firm, in a two-tier outsourcing, take the job more strategically. Get the hourly rate offered by the original client, from either directly from the client or from any other party, and charge your employer something similar to that, so that their profits are minimized. However, this can make them back off and go for other unsuspecting freelancers. At this point, you can let them know that you are about to go directly to the original client. It will make them rethink as they are at stake of losing the entire project.


This doesn't happen always, so don't be cynical. Be sure to analyze all opportunities that come your way. See if they are legitimate or if the company that approaches you actually cheats you. For this, being very alert and shrewd is very important.


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Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

2 Opinions:

  1. Of course, business owners have been doing this sort of thing since capitalism was invented. In my tender years I was working long hours for little pay.
    One day while looking for something else in the accountant's desk I came across a list of invoices sent that year. I was thunderstruck at the enormous sums he was charging his clients, and felt so incredibly cheated. Needless to say, when he pleaded poverty at the next salary renegotiation time, I left soon after.

  2. Ian, that's so sad to hear. Thanks for your comment.


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