I talk to a lot of people involved in outsourcing and read about this topic regularly as well. Prices for outsourcing work can really vary. The issue with me is that I want to know what I am paying for and what I’m getting. You never really know what you are getting, especially when you outsource to India. Companies there hire a lot of beginners who haven’t a clue what they are doing. On the other hand, they also have some seasoned professionals who will work for a reasonable cost as well.
I just got an email stating that a data entry company would work for $2 per hour. I wonder what the cost would be to fix the errors that their clerk made, or how efficient their work could possibly be. When you see prices like this, you have to keep in mind that they are probably only paying their clerk about 70 cents per hour, and their offer might only be a come on, and not a long term price.
On the other hand, I talked to many providers of social media services. I heard prices like $3 per hour if you get one hour a day and you pay a fixed monthly rate of about $120. Another social media company wanted $5 per hour. A third company wanted $500 per month for one hour per day which is about $25 per hour. I wonder how much better the quality of the $25 per hour provider is. The man who answered the phone didn’t seem at all polished. $25 per hour is more than 90% of programmers in India charge — and I assure you that social media is a lot simpler to learn than PHP programming!
In America and other wealthy countries, outsourced labor can run from $30 to $100 per hour for various tasks. Call center work pricing has really gone down due to intense competition from Manila. But, social media work in the USA is no bargain. The sad part is that the providers of these expensive services in the US or India generally have very little experience, very limited knowledge, and quit their jobs on a whim. How can anyone run a business based on outsourcing I ask?
My solution is that you become an expert at whatever you are outsourcing and keep a close eye on whomever you hire to do anything. You might be able to get some good work from the $2 and hour folks, and maybe even teach them something that will benefit both of you.