Susan Snipes / Posted 1.26.2017
We will never outsource our web development work
Almost daily I get emails asking my company to outsource our web development work. “We are experts in a bunch of popular technologies. Hire our full-time developers at a ridiculously low rate!” Some of the emails are eloquently written and address me by name. Others are full of embarrassing grammar and punctuation problems. They all attempt to sell me on this: outsource your web development work to us and you can make lots of money!
This is an example I recently received. This is a pretty middle-of-the-road email.
Hello Q Digital Studio, Hope you're having an amazing day!
We are [name removed] offering you an easy & cost effective solution to grow your team and business market expansion. Hire Dedicated Developers from us and manage them as your own virtual offshore employee. You can hire us on project basis too.
- You will get your project done in 40% less cost compared to conventional in-house employee hiring and hourly basis development cost without losing quality due to currency difference
- You will get qualitative, faster, better services as well as expert’s consultation with latest technology solution
- You may reduce your project liabilities and transfer risk to us; we will take care of your business technology needs
We are expertise with:
- Website designs,
- Website development,
- Personal websites,
- Mobile apps
- Marketplaces and
- Custom web solution
At your request I can send you our company's introductory profile. Let's have initial conference call to know more about possible business opportunities between us.
Looking forward to establish a healthy, long term business relationship with you. Let's collaborate!!!
So, what happened after I received a stream of these emails? Did the well-written ones tempt me to follow up and see if outsourcing would work? If not pursuing one of these inquiries directly, maybe I could find another company that’s a good fit for subcontracting our web development? Farming out some of my team’s day-to-day development work would free us up to focus on other things. An offshore developer would have much lower rates than a full-time US-based employee. If we hired one or two external developers, we could take advantage of that and bring in a bigger profit. Right?
I thought about it. I considered what it would be like and how it would work. I looked at how it would affect my team and our product. And outsourcing web development is not for my company.
We said “no” to outsourced web development.
But it’s not for the obvious reasons.
I won’t outsource, but not because of a language barrier or a time zone differential—though both of these would present some challenges. The reasons are the same no matter where an outsourced developer is located—offshore or nearshore. I had a conversation with the owner of a web development company in Alberta, Canada, about subcontracting. We share the same language and time zone, and currently there’s a very advantageous exchange rate if you’re in the US buying Canadian goods. But my primary reasons against outsourcing are still there. And I’m not interested in contracting out development work.
Web development is the heart and soul of what we do.
My company’s primary service is creating custom websites. This is what our clients hire us to do. Why would I want someone else to do that for us? It would be like a fancy bakery boxing another bakery’s cakes and pies into their beautiful boxes. It is letting someone else be in charge of our heart and happiness. It’s a disservice to clients that are hiring us, and it’s antithetical to having a business focused on website creation.
We have extremely high standards for our work.
We are expert front-end developers. Our HTML and CSS page layouts are incredibly high-quality. That means we care about:
- Semantic HTML. We use correct HTML tags, applying the appropriate tags to the right kinds of content.
- Slim, modular CSS. We do not use excessive CSS code to get styles to look just right. We create well-defined styles that can be reused and combined in a clear, purposeful way.
- Comprehensive SEO quality. Our sites are built from the ground up with the best technical SEO standards for URLs, image tags, and META content—not slapping on fixes as an afterthought.
- Better-than-required accessibility. We know accessible web pages are the only way some people can truly use websites, and our code far exceeds the minimum requirements for web accessibility.
- Performance. We set up our layouts and Content Management Systems so that our websites have consistently fast-loading pages.
- Extensive browser testing. We’ve had years of practical experience browser testing and keep our code base up to date with the latest techniques we’ve learned.
- Fully Responsive Web Design. Our HTML layouts are built to support mobile and tablet devices right from the start.
Some of these standards may be obvious, but the rest are nuanced, and I require that every site we build adheres to all of them.
We develop and use our own tools and processes.
We don’t follow anyone else’s formula for how to build a great website. Our processes are the result of years of work, including a big chunk of those processes that were created by our current team. We build our HTML layouts and website templates using a specific methodology. We use version control, a customized build process, and code repositories so our whole team can be in sync with the same code syntax, tools, and code patterns. Yes, I’m sure someone else could follow our process. We’re certainly not the only ones to use a build process similar to ours nor run our own custom HTML framework. New employees pick it up. But it’s not simple. It’s ours, and it’s special.
My team loves web development work.
The majority of my team members hold the role of front-end developer or web developer. That’s what they were hired to do and development is still their favorite thing to do at Q Digital Studio. I’m not going to take that away and give it to someone else outside the company. It’s one of my company’s missions to support my employees’ professional and personal growth. I’m not interested in investing in someone else’s growth if they’re not part of my company. Selfish? Maybe. Nevertheless, I’m fine with putting my employees first.
A large portion of a web development role requires more than just coding.
Much of web development is identifying and solving problems. Part of that process depends on the team interaction: knowing how each team member works, asking another developer a question, trusting each other, working together. My team members trust and rely on each other. They back each other up. Yes, that can be built over time, but it’s a lot more difficult when there is an in-house team and an outsourced team.
Our success is not based solely on profit.
Certainly, my company needs to be successful in order to continue doing great work and servicing clients well. However, the measure of our success is not based only on how profitable we are. Many other factors are just as important: team happiness and synergy, the quality of our work, our community contributions, and the ongoing success of our clients. Those are measures where outsourcing can never compete.
We never have and never will outsource web development.
I can’t stop the email inquiries. But every time I get another one, my resolve grows stronger. After hundreds of these emails, here’s what I know: my company, Q Digital Studio, will never outsource web development work.
We pride ourselves on our quality of work, our problem-solving, and our close-knit and happy team of employees. For as long as Q Digital Studio exists, we’re keeping all of our web development 100% in-house.
President and Founder
Susan Snipes is the founder and president of Q Digital Studio. As a community-minded web entrepreneur, developer, and ExpressionEngine expert, Susan’s innovative approach to the web has benefited well-known companies and organizations ranging from technology, healthcare, education, nonprofits, local and regional governments, and more. For more thoughts on entrepreneurship, leadership, and inclusivity in technology, follow her on twitter @SusanSnipes.