Outsourcing is a popular way for businesses to cut overhead costs and increase profit margins, while also giving them greater flexibility of online collaboration. From IT services to article writing to data entry, companies take advantage of a wide variety of tasks performed by freelancers around the world. To get even more efficiency and cost-effectiveness out of outsourcing, a lot of business owners aim for entire packages of services by hiring talented virtual assistants.

Offshore Outsourcing

While statistics show that the majority of jobs in the outsourcing networks such as Elance go to freelancers in the United States, bidders from many other countries are stepping up their game and winning an increasing number of projects. When jobs are assigned to freelancers outside of the outsourcer’s home country, it becomes offshore outsourcing.

There are clear benefits of outsourcing for any company that is either in the process of expanding its operations or is seeking to do so. By delegating their non-essential activities to others, businesses are able to concentrate on their core functions and expedite their growth. If you are new to the world of outsourcing or if you are simply seeking to expand your list of virtual job marketplaces, here are eight outsourcing networks and webmaster forums you might want to consider.

oDesk

oDesk

The largest online workplace that connects job providers with contractors around the world, oDesk was also one of the pioneers in the industry of outsourcing networks. Last year’s data indicates that 2.7 million freelancers and more than half a million clients from around the world used the website to either offer or find work.

While the registration and job posting process is free, the website charges clients 10% commission on each payment awarded to contractors. The network’s productivity software, oDesk Team, allows job providers to follow freelancers’ work progress with the help of a video tracker. This gives clients some extra confidence in contractors who are paid on an hourly basis.

Elance

Elance

www.elance.com

One of the pioneers in the industry of outsourcing networks, Elance has a business model that’s very much like that of oDesk. Its user statistics are similar as well – 2.5 million freelancers and half a million businesses post their jobs on the website. The commission that the outsourcers have to pay here is somewhat lower, though, at 8.75%.

The Work View tool is Elance’s own productivity software, tracking the service providers’ hourly job progress through a series of screenshots. Additionally, contractors can keep an eye on project-based assignments with the help of milestones. Employers can either post their jobs for free or choose one of the paid options that provide better promotion and visibility.

Guru

Guru

www.guru.com

Started in the late 90s – around the same time as Elance – Guru hasn’t quite gained as much momentum as its bigger competitor. However, it has still earned a solid following in the outsourcing world, with 400,000 registered users. Unlike Elance and oDesk, Guru doesn’t provide a video tracker for hourly jobs, but specializes in project-based assignments.

The outsourcing network charges anywhere from a 7.5% to 12% service fee, depending on the freelancer’s account type. Guru is popular for its simple interface and added features, such as Discussions, Guru Answers and the network’s loyalty program, Earn as you pay.

OnlineJobs.ph

OnlineJobs.ph

www.onlinejobs.ph

Since oversees contractors can provide the outsourcers with top savings, job marketplaces specializing in offshore outsourcing are increasingly popular. OnlineJobs.ph is one such example, connecting its clients with 82,500 Filipino freelancers. The website has no markups or additional costs on the jobs it carries, which allows for the entire payment to go from the employer directly to the service provider.

On top of the already affordable services offered by its skilled contractors, OnlineJobs.ph also promotes its inexperienced freelancers, claiming that they can perform simple tasks for one’s business at an even lower cost.

Fiverr

Fiverr

fiverr.com

Unlike many other virtual job marketplaces, Fiverr has developed a different business model. It allows people to post any of their projects and services for sale starting at just $5. Clients can choose from as many as 2 million services offered by various freelancers and priced between $5 and $500. Fiverr charges a 20% commission from every sale made through its website.

Most of the services offered here are small tasks, such as 100-word articles, basic illustrations or pieces of jewelry. Alternatively, buyers can opt for one of the “Fun & Bizarre” options and pay someone to record a celebrity impression of their message, do a phone prank or even act out a scene from Shrek.

Freelancer.com

Freelancer

www.freelancer.com

Another popular outsourcing network, Freelancer.com has more than 9 million registered users and 5 million projects posted to date. It offers several membership plans, ranging from a free one to a $50 package. In addition, both freelancers and job posters pay a small commission from every project. The clients are charged 3% of the project fee or $3, whichever is greater. The job marketplace has a variety of features, such as a project management and collaboration platform, a digital non-disclosure agreement and job post extensions in case the client needs some extra time to find the right freelancer. Most of these come at a price, though.

Digital Point Forums

Digital Point Forums

forums.digitalpoint.com

Webmaster forums are another great marketplace for hiring people. Digital Point Forums is among them, providing a place for businesses to buy such services as content creation, design and Web hosting, among others. The forum’s marketplace lists a mix of buying and selling offers, allowing for a convenient preview of every post by hovering the mouse pointer over it.

It is a great place to find people to handle traffic to your website, as a lot of forum users are knowledgeable in this area. Digital Point Forums currently lists close to a million projects.

Warrior Forum

Warrior Forum

www.warriorforum.com

Warrior Forum is another virtual marketplace frequented by businesses and job seekers alike. Freelancers post their availability in the Warriors for Hire thread, while clients can post their projects in the Wanted section. Alternatively, outsourcers can always browse the threads that specialize in their project areas, contacting members who display expertise in their posts and offering them the jobs.

Other Platforms

You can post on our new community forums in the Buy, Sell, Trade section

Other useful webmaster forums include Webdigity, WebCosmo Forums, WebmasterWorld and Web Hosting Talk. Some of the additional outsourcing networks you might want to try are PeoplePerHour, Ziptask, iWriter, ComputerJobs and MBA Project Search.

www.odesk.com

Notes By Oliver (Admin)

One of my favorite platforms is by far Freelancer.com. Although it is difficult to find reliable people on there, it is one of the best platforms to get things done for little money. Outsource your coding work here. For logo’s I’d probably pick a professional service like craftive.com or some designer friends. For writing, I’d go look in Webmaster forums. Don’t outsource writing work on Freelancer.com, Odesk or similar platforms. You will get useless offers from non-native writers.