Harsh Realities Of Working With Offshore Web Developers

Harsh Realities Of Working With Offshore Web Developers

Hiring an offshore web developer or designer may seen like a good idea at first, but let me assure you, it’s not. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure it IS possible to find a very talented and respectable offshore developer who will work well, quickly, and cheaply – but let’s face it. Even if you do, you will most likely encounter bumps on the road. When I say “offshore”, I don’t mean designers from the UK, or similar countries. I’m talking about developers from second or third-world countries where development costs are but a fraction of what they are here. The price may seem like a good opportunity, but before you decide simply on price, think about these factors:

Advantages of Offshore Development

There are really only two advantages I can think of. One: the price is much lower. Some of the developers you can find from freelancing sites will charge as little as a few dollars an hour. Even reputable offshore agencies might only charge you $12-15 USD per hour. On the surface is seems like an amazing deal.

The second advantage, which I admit is based on price as well, is that you can always hire more developers if the project grows unexpectedly.

But let’s not forget – even if you have more people on staff, you will have more employees to manage.

You Will Spend Extra Time Managing

Managing an offshore team is not easy. There will be language barriers. There will be cultural differences you can’t control. You will have to spend many of your business hours (and most likely your personal time) micro-managing everyone, because when you are dealing with developers that are halfway across the world and who don’t fully understand your business, your culture, your way of doing things, and your language, you can bet there will be lots of errors and unnecessary back-and-forth.

There Will Be Communication Problems

Communicating a programming idea is already difficult in English, never-mind the language barrier. Translating technical terms can be a nightmare! Here is a real example of these barriers:

“Nick Im entering pricing we will concentrate to bring all products down and then we will start from there i had uploaded a plugin for testing and what may appear on the front but we can disable it for now so the true pricing appears and when we are ready to implement the rest we can select the items to appear as well…”

As you can tell (even without the spelling mistakes) I had no idea what he meant. All this back-and-forth and extra clarifications end up costing you time and money!

You Will Pay More Than You Expect

Working with someone at a distance is not necessarily a bad thing. I have done remote work for other companies and the process was smooth. It’s when you add the time-zone factor that things start to add up. Suddenly you have to jump on a call at 9pm because it’s the only convenient daytime slot for your offshore development team. Combine the extra work hours with all the emails and calls where you had to clarify or correct errors, however small (they add up!), and your total price is now looking like the one your local developer quoted you. Maybe it will end up costing the same, but think of the headaches you could have avoided, let alone the quality of the code…