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How To Write A Brief When Outsourcing Work

how to write a brief

Business owners can often find themselves in a position where they need to outsource work. When this happens, it’s important to know how to curate a brief that provides the individual or team the proper information needed to get the job done properly.

This article will shed some light and tip on how business owners can write a brief when outsourcing work and also answer some of the most commonly asked questions when outsourcing.

What is outsourcing?

As a business owner, it’s practically impossible to work on everything yourself therefore there will always be times that you need to get help from others.

Why not just hire employees then? Hiring employees is always a great option when it comes to long term tasks such as marketing, sales and distribution and other long term tasks. But when it’s a one off project or job that requires a specific skill, outsourcing is the best option.

Outsourcing is the process of contracting a third party team or individual to perform certain tasks or projects in respect to your business. This task could range from designing a logo, building a website, to a specialised marketing team.

Many businesses require and use outsourcing as a method to save time, cost and resources. And it’s also a great way to get access to specialist skills without hiring.

When should you outsource work?

Sometimes, it might feel difficult for a business to decide the right time and situation to outsource work. A general rule or process a business should use is to decide if a task is taking too much time and resources or requires skills that’s not within the organisation, then it’s probably time to outsource.

Below are a few reasons a business should consider outsourcing:

  • When the task is overwhelming

If the task is overwhelming enough to blow through resources and time, it is advisable to outsource some of it. Trying to handle the task alone might lead to burnout and missing the deadline. Thus, it is important to share and outsource such tasks when it starts to look overwhelming.

  • When the skills required are not available within the organisation.

If the skills required for the task is beyond the organisation’s ability or too specialised, outsourcing can be a fast and effective way of getting the task accomplished. It’s also a great way of getting access to specialist skills without hiring extra staff.

  • Task is time-consuming

Once the task starts to consume beyond its estimated or expected time or involves a large amount of dedicated time and energy, it is advisable such a task is outsourced so the organisation can focus on other tasks. If the task is outsourced to the right team, it’s likely the tasks get handled faster.

  • When cost reduction is important

In some cases, outsourcing can actually reduce cost. For example, when it comes to tasks where the tools required are not available within the business and can be assessed through outsourcing.

How to find the right contractor to work with your business

Once a business has decided to use outsourcing as a way of reducing workload and cost. Now deciding the right individual or team to choose to outsource the project might become a problem. Below is an easy guide on how to choose the right contractor to outsource to.

1. Do your research

Once a business intends to outsource, it is important that intensive research is done regarding the job. They should take the time to read online reviews and contact other businesses that have interacted with the contractor in the past. This will help the business get an idea of their quality of work and whether or not they are a good fit for the contract.

2. Get a written quote

Once a business has found a few potential contractors, it is important a written quote is gotten from each. This quote should include an estimate of the cost of the project as well as a deadline for completion and how the contractor intends to complete it. It is also important to make sure that the business goes through and understand all of the terms of the quote before working with any contractor.

3. Ask for references

Another important step in finding the right contractor is to request for references. businesses should verify the references that the contractor provides or indicate and ask them about their experience working with the contractor. This will give the business an idea of what it is like to work with the contractor and whether or not the contractor is likely to meet expectations.

4. Read the contract carefully

Before signing any contract with a contractor, it is important to read it carefully. businesses should make sure that they understand the terms and conditions of the contract before agreeing or accepting contracts. Once a contract has been signed, it is important a copy is kept in a safe place so that it can be assessed if any problem arises down the road.

5. Work with a reputable contractor

One of the most important things to look for when looking to outsource and finding a contractor is reputation. A business should try to find a team or individual who is known for a good reputation in the industry and who has been in business with several years of experience. A reputable contractor will be more likely to provide quality work and meet deadlines than one who is just starting out.

How to write an outsourcing brief

As a business interested in outsourcing, writing an effective brief is crucial when it comes to outsourcing successfully. A brief should be well written in order to help ensure that contractors understand the expectations at the end of the contracts are met properly. Below are a few of the important details a brief should portray.

1. Project description

The first step in writing an effective outsourcing brief is to provide a clear and concise description and expectation at the end of the project. This should include details such as the scope, deadline, objectives, the deliverables required and any other relevant information that will help contractors understand what needs to be done.

2. Expectations and requirements

The next step is to clearly outline the expectations and requirements for the project or task. This should include any specific skills or qualifications that are required from the contractor as well as any other goals that need to be met.

3. Deadlines

It’s also important to set out clear deadlines in the brief for when the project needs to be completed by. Although, making sure these deadlines are reasonable and that they are clearly communicated to the chosen contractor in advance is also important. This will help ensure that the project is completed on time.

4. Company information

The contractors also need to be enlightened about the company and the goal it aims to achieve. This could include branding guidelines, information about the target market or any other relevant details that they need to be aware of.

5. Contact information

Companies should also make sure their contact information is accessible by the contractors at all times as this will help ensure that there are no delays in the project due to miscommunication. Or create communication pathways in which the contractors can use to access the company without stress.

Pros and cons of outsourcing

As a company considering outsourcing a project to a contractor, it’s crucial to compare the pros and cons of outsourcing such tasks.

Below are some pros and cons to consider when attempting to outsource as a company:


  • Access to specialised skills

Outsourcing gives companies access to expertise and skills of experienced specialised professionals. This can be really advantageous especially when the resources required to hire a full-time employee is not available or not advisable.

  • Cost Savings

Outsourcing can be more cost effective and labour effective than hiring new staff, or burdening current staff with more workload, as you need to pay for additional time taken or overhead cost.

  • Increased efficiency

By outsourcing projects, you can reduce the time taken and resources used in completing such projects, which can be focused in other areas. In return increasing efficiency and reducing time taken.


  • Lack of control

With outsourcing, companies lose total control on how the project is managed and completed. They may also lose the access to monitor the progress of the projects.

  • Communication issues

Working with teams not directly under the company, can be challenging due to language barriers or different time zones. You may need to go the extra mile to communicate efficiently and manage the progress of the project with the contractors.

  • Security Risks

If the projects include handling of sensitive data, there is always a risk of breach in security when outsourcing since the contractor is not under employee terms and conditions. Companies must therefore make sure to have security measures in place while outsourcing.

Common mistakes with outsourcing – and how to avoid them

Although, outsourcing might be a great way for companies to get access to specialised skills while reducing cost and increasing efficiency, outsourcing doesn’t always go in favour of companies. Below are some of the mistakes that businesses need to avoid while outsourcing so as to get the best outcome from outsourcing.

1. Unclear expectations

One of the most common errors made by businesses when outsourcing is not setting out clear expectations for the contractors. Without clear and concise expectations, it will be unreasonable for contractors to deliver the desired results.

It is important businesses understand the scope of the work, and the desired outcome before a project commences. Having detailed briefs and communications with contractors about the expectations as well as any other objective is also crucial while outsourcing.

2. Poor communication

As mentioned before, when outsourcing tasks and projects, it’s crucial a simple and concise pathway for communication is set up for communicating with the contractor and vice versa. Because, without regular communication, updates and feedback from both parties, it might get difficult in keeping track of progress and resolving issues quickly.

Businesses should also make sure a process is set up where regular check-ins are mandatory to keep both parties informed and on the same page. This will help ensure contractors are on track and completing tasks efficiently.

3. Not enough research

As always, before taking any interest in outsourcing, it’s important businesses and companies alike make thorough research on the project and the best contractor for the job. If a business does not properly vet potential contractors, it might become an issue when the project is not delivered properly.

Businesses should take the time to review contractors’ portfolios and verify references from past clients. This will help effectively reduce any chances of issues arising while outsourcing.

4. Not understanding the budget

When it comes to outsourcing large projects, budgets might change over time. It is important therefore that companies have a clear estimation of costs upfront while considering any additional fees the project might incur.

Before signing a contract, it is crucial each fee is reviewed and included in the project budget. This will help eradicate any budget issues along the line.

5. Focusing on price over reputation

When comparing contractors to work with, it might be tempting to focus on the lowest price. However, this isn’t always the best criteria as the business might end up sacrificing quality and expertise.

Ensure that enough time is taken to assess the different contractors while understanding their technical skills and experience. This will help ensure the right contractor was chosen to deliver the expected results.

Is outsourcing worth it?

Outsourcing is an effective way of bringing new skills into the organisation for one off projects without need in hiring a new employee. It’s also important to consider and compare the risks and advantages regarding tasks and deadlines while interested in outsourcing.

Doing research is beneficial for both companies and contractors. Thus, if proper research is done and necessary precautions are taken, outsourcing can become a great way to save time and money.

Final thoughts

When businesses become interested in outsourcing, the key is to find a balance between quality, cost and expertise, so that the best outcome can be incurred with a little, but well informed effort.

By understanding and setting out clear expectations, finding proper communication channels with contractors and communicating regularly, you can avoid the common mistakes that businesses make when outsourcing.



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