The 2% rule; Only 2% of companies are worth hiring

Unfortunately, it seems to be a rule of thumb that service providers worldwide provide mediocre service as a rule. To find people who are above average is like finding a needle in a haystack. What I learned is that across national borders, my experience has been that 2% of service providers are good enough to be happy with. Those are bad odds. Now, with reputable professions like Attorneys or Doctors, the 2% rule would not apply. But, with software developers, notaries, plumbers, and other professions that I have had experience hiring, this rule seems to be realistic.

My experience with custom software development companies is that 1% get an A, 1% get a B, 10% get a C, and the rest get a D or F. That means that 88% are getting a failing grade. How does the world go around? Most of these bad companies don’t even answer their phone or answer emails. How can you run a business when you refuse to communicate?

The next part of the problem is that the top 2% of providers who actually are reliable, honest, and do a good job are generally busy and expensive. It seems hard to win as a buyer of software development services these days. Honestly, the only way to win is to have a big company and to have your own employees who you can control.

You might ask what the list of bad things that bad companies do would consist of. Here is the short list:
(1) General Dishonesty
(2) Padding hours or inefficient work
(3) Lying about whether their staff really works for them or are independent contractors or offshored labor. Lying about how many employees you have.
(4) Not giving the amount of hours of service promised
(5) Not meeting deadlines
(6) Not answering the phone
(7) Not responding to emails
(8) Answering correspondences, but refusing to give good answers to questions
(9) Inability to speak English, or the language that is being used
(10) Sloppy or dysfunctional work.
(11) Failure or refusing to follow directions
(12) Handing off your project to a less experienced worker

The problem is that there are twelve very common ways to screw up an outsourcing relationship. If an outsourcing company does even a single one of these bad things on the list on a regular basis, they might get a D or F in my book. To get a passing grade, you have to do everything right at least most of the time. Very few companies seem to have it together.

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