There is nothing worse than being a business owner who is helpless. You might be a millionaire or a “crorepati”, but if you hire the wrong people to work for you, you will be as helpless as an elderly person at a nursing home screaming, “Help… help… will somebody help me…?” All the money in the world will not help you get these jerks to deliver on their promises or get their work done on time. As a business owner you need to be smart, otherwise you will be in this helpless situation over and over again. You can fire one company only to get another BPO company that strings you up and dangles you almost exactly like the last one did. They don’t care about long term business, and they hate their clients. How do you protect yourself from bad software companies or bad outsourcing companies?
First of all, it is common for Americans to be mistrustful of companies in other countries. I will tell you from first hand experience that companies abroad are not worse than American companies. Their workers might be smarter or dumber depending on where you go, but the integrity violations are worse on American soil than India. The problem in India is not integrity, it is that they put some incompetent beginner on your project who can barely function, while the American company tries to charge you $60 per hour for a minimum wage employee who is completely unhelpful. Either way you get screwed, but at least in India they get quadruple the amount of work done (in octuple the amount of hours at 25% of the cost per hour — do the math). You will get screwed almost every time unless you know how to shop.
Does the boss give you a better worker upon your request? If not, fire them.
Is the company willing to do a test project for you? If not, don’t hire them
Does the company bid 10 hours on a 3 hour job? Don’t use them.
Did the company deliver sloppy work on a test project? Don’t use them.
Did you check the company’s references online? It is always good to check references, but treat them with a grain of salt (if doing outsourcing, preferably sea salt). I checked one company’s references, and they were good. I read online reviews, and contacted three clients they gave me as references. They checked out well. So, I was safe, right? I asked them to do an estimate for a project that takes American programmers 3 hours, and Indian programmers a little longer (Things in India take longer because they have less experienced programmers allocated to YOUR job. The good ones work at Oracle and Intel in India). This company wanted 10 hours to do a 3 hour job AND charged quadruple per hour. I would have lost my shirt if I had relied solely on reviews. So, check reviews, but don’t rely on them. A review is only a statement from a company’s best client. What you really want to know is how their worst client feels.
The test project idea
You never know who a good company to work with will be. However, there are ways to weed bad companies out to improve your odds of being lynched by bad software companies. Putting them through a test run, or serious of test runs is one way to do it. Remember, companies that have salespeople or programmers that talk well at interviews DON’T DELIVER 80% of the time. Without a test run, you will get only talk, and no verification that they at least CAN deliver when they are trying. It still doesn’t say how they will perform when they stop trying, but at least a test run tells you something.
Being helpless is dangerous
You can lose money if you fire someone in the middle of a project. You can get sued for not paying someone for work they left half done. A bad company can damage your programming or data (and not care even a little bit). They can hurt your feelings, not to mention delay you for months on end without a second thought. Beware. You are dealing with scoundrels out there. Protect yourself.