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Old 04-28-2012
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Default Do you use subcontractors?
I think I'm totally anal ... actually I know I am ... but I would never subcontract work out. My website guarantees that the work will be done by me personally and I work mostly with lawyers who are a somewhat "different" breed, needing ... no, feeling unsafe without ... the personal touch. The work that goes back to the client has my name and reputation on it and I would feel obliged to double check and proof read everything before submitting to a client, in which case I might as well do it myself.

Gaining a reputation takes months or years of hard work and that reputation can be gone in an instant. Personally I don't feel it's worth the risk. That said, if a PC approaches me for a service I don't provide I have no hesitation in referring them to someone who can help them here on the forum or suggesting they post an RFP here, which I did recently and they did.

Just my two pennyworth.

Lynne
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Old 04-28-2012
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Default Re: Do you use subcontractors?
Hi Lynne,
I subcontract FOR other VAs and I subcontract TO VAs. I am very choosy about who I work with and always clear it with the client beforehand. You are absolutely right about your reputation being on the line; that said, I always double check my own work before sending it out and it's a no-brainer that I double check my subs' work.
I suppose it's personal preference. If you don't want to subcontract, more power to you. There are a lot of talented, intelligent folks in our industry and it's always a pleasure working with and getting to know them.
Best wishes for your continued success.
Marlene
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Old 04-29-2012
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Default Re: Do you use subcontractors?
What do you do when you go on vacation? I think that might be a time when you should consider a subcontractor. That way you're not missing out on potential income because you're on vacation.
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Old 04-29-2012
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Default Re: Do you use subcontractors?
Originally Posted by Paulette View Post
What do you do when you go on vacation? I think that might be a time when you should consider a subcontractor. That way you're not missing out on potential income because you're on vacation.
Oh I wish I could go on holiday!

I'm like Lynne, I like to have complete control and I do use a couple of freelancers to help me with transcription when I'm very busy but I always check everything against the original audio before I send it. As you say, it takes years to build up a great reputation.
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Old 04-30-2012
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Default Re: Do you use subcontractors?
The thing about sub-contracting is that without doing so it will be hard for someone to grow their business. We all need help to grow our businesses.

This is an interesting paradigm. We educate our clients to outsource, with the philosophy that, while in some cases they may be perfectly capable to do the work, it doesn't make sense to do so if they want to have more freedom or increase their bottom line.

Company's hire employees because they want to grow. SBO's and entrepreneurs outsource because they want to grow. I outsource because I want to grow. There are many things I can do myself but I am only one person. It takes me less time to review someone else's work than to create it myself in most cases. I know that I have to hire carefully, get plenty of examples of work, and scrutinize for awhile - but as trust builds I can let go a little more.

Just my 2 cents...
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Old 04-30-2012
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Default Re: Do you use subcontractors?
But do we want to grow our businesses?

I've been giving this a lot (and I mean LOT) of thought lately as I've struggled to find people who can really do transcription properly.

I actually enjoy doing transcription, I'm not sure I want to grow to a point where all I do is farm out the work and check the transcripts.

I'm still not 100% sure of whether I want to grow and take on a couple more subcontractors, or be happy where I am, having enough work to make a good income and have some help when I need it.

It's a tough one...
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Old 05-01-2012
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Default Re: Do you use subcontractors?
You bring up a great point Pam! It's true, it's mentioned time and time again how business owners should hire a VA to help them expand and grow their business, yet we have VAs on the message board that refuse to subcontract some of their work. Why? It seems to me that some VAs aren't taking the advice they're giving to other business owners.

The way I see it, if I want to my business to grow then eventually I will have to start subcontracting. There are only so many hours in one week and even if I worked 40 hours per week at $40 per hour (I'm just throwing out a number), the most I could ever hope to make in one week is $1600. By subcontracting, I could still be bringing in some extra income while only having to review the work performed by someone else.

I sent a contract to a PC today who wants to do a monthly retainer at 10 hours per month. I've already gotten in touch with another VA to ask if she'd like to assist me with some subcontracting work because, not only am I getting busy, but I'm also a fulltime student and there are not enough hours in the day to work, study and go to school. I'm very aware that I cannot do everything alone and I have no problem enlisting the help of another VA when I need it.
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Old 05-01-2012
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Default Re: Do you use subcontractors?
The problem is Paulette that there's absolutely no point subcontracting transcription work when it means I have to spend hours amending poor work - I may as well have done it myself in the first place...

I certainly don't refuse to subcontract, however until I'm able to find people that can actually do the work to a good level then what's the point?
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Old 05-01-2012
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Default Re: Do you use subcontractors?
Having a negative experience with subcontractors offers you two options: don't subcontract at all or change how you contract and manage the subcontractors. A change might take some time and effort initially, but will garner rewards in the end. Here is where a VA who has some HR hiring experience might come in handy.

For example, if you are having difficulty finding good transcriptionists, still maintain the goal of finding a good one but perhaps explore other methods of vetting them (although based on your history of posts, Bridie, you seem like the type to already have a good method!).

Again, it is a choice, but if you choose to subcontract, don't give up hope! Set your goal to find one that will meet your needs and do whatever it takes to achieve that.

Disclaimer: I am a subcontractor! It disheartens me to read that I have to fight the battle that poor performing subcontractors began, but isn't that true for any VA, whether subcontracting or not?
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Old 05-01-2012
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Default Re: Do you use subcontractors?
It sure is true!

I guess I'm at a crossroads: Do I want to grow and have a team of people working for me or am I happy to stay the size I am now?

Decisions, decisions!
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