How to Create a Budget for your Outsourced Project

Creating a Budget
Creating a Budget

You have a project you want to outsource. What is your budget for it?  Should you get it done cheap?  Or should you spend more to get it done properly the first time around?  The answer is (drum roll, please)… it depends.  First answer the following questions:

1. Do you already have an established brand presence?

If you already have a brand and an existing user base, then you have already set guidelines and expectations for the quality of your brand.  Any new projects you release under the same brand need to maintain the same quality, or your brand image will suffer. You cannot afford any bugs or slip-ups that may arise from poor workmanship.  Can the project maintain this same quality if done cheaply?

2. Do you have very clear and specific guidelines on what you are looking for?

The more clear and specific you are in your original proposal, the cheaper your project can be done for.  If you’re not too sure what you’re looking for, or expect to make several changes, then prepare to add to the final budget.

3. Can you benefit from expert advice?

If you have all the design work done already, and are just looking for someone to put it together, then that can be done for a cheaper budget.  If you are looking for someone creative to take your guidelines and turn it into something appealing, then it is worth paying for better talent.

I have two outsourcing partners that I’ve used in the past, and continue to use today.  A low cost provider in Russia and a higher priced provider in Canada.  Both can handle the same types of projects.  I use the low cost provider, when I know exactly what I want – eg. I can provide the logos, color scheme or design I’m looking for and just need them to implement it.  I use the higher cost provider when I’m not sure what the best approach for my needs would be and need advice.  I provide him with the concept I’m looking for, and he sends me mockups that I can choose from.

4. Can you start with a simpler design, then build off that?

If your project is complicated, see if you can simplify it somewhat for the first version. Then use revenue from early initial sales to reinvest back into further improvement and additional features.  I have used this approach for pretty much all my projects.  The key here is to make sure that the initial version is fully functional, and doesn’t make any promises that it can’t keep.  I.e. if you plan additional features, don’t mention them until they are functional.

Following the above guidelines should help you decide when it is worth investing more in a project, and when you can save money by getting it done cheaper.  After you have made this decision, you can then decide which company you want to outsource to.

If you have any additional advice that has worked for you in the past, do let me know.