“How should I track the time spent on a project by my outsourcer?”

This is another often-asked question by people who are just getting started doing outsourcing. I know I asked the question myself in the beginning, but now I don’t ask it anymore.

Here’s why: If you turn the tables and imagine that you had a boss, how would you want your hours tracked? Would you want to punch a clock and feel like a robot, or would you want your boss to notice your results and care about these results rather than the punch clock?

Exactly. Thought so.

Full time employees vs freelancers hired for specific tasks:
OnlineJobs.ph then I get daily reports of their results and I have a general “feel” for how long the work takes them to complete. If I think it’s below par I tell them. If I think it’s great volume I pay them a bonus and thank them. I have only ever had one situation where a person’s work output was too low for too long and I ended up letting her go.

If the person is a freelancer doing work for me such as graphics, usually I’ll agree to a per-project fee rather than an hourly rate. This sidesteps the problem that we’re discussing altogether. Good solution.

I do have one graphics guy that I work with almost every week (seems like every day these days) and I get him to bill me by the hour. I never question his hours because it seems like he works in fast forward. He will deliver me a nice little header for a website and tell me it took 15 minutes. He will format an entire ebook for me in Adobe Acrobat and it looks like a work of art yet he bills me a few hours.

If you are not getting a feeling of fairness in your outsourcing activities then you either need to change the way you bill, or find new workers.

I do not believe it is a good idea to ask them to install screenshot software that sends you by-the-minute reports on what they were doing. If they want to use Facebook for 2 hours I could care less – so long as they actually deliver quality results and MAKE ME MONEY.

So that brings us to the simplistic answer that I learned from John Jonas. Whenever someone asks him the question we discussed here, he will answer by saying “Does the employee make you money?” If yes, good. Keep them. If no, then you know what you need to do.

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