Ask the expert: Should family-owned company outsource some things?

  • Updated: September 22, 2013 - 1:14 PM

question

Ohana Construction is a family-owned remodeling company in Apple Valley. We have one employee other than the owners and are wondering if it would be wise to outsource things like answering initial sales calls to schedule appointments. Or do you have any other suggestions for things to outsource for a service-based company?

Shawnee Huie

Ohana Construction

Shawnee@ohana constructioninc.com

www.ohanaconstruction inc.com

answer

Before answering your question, I would want to know your reasons for considering outsourcing. As a small company, are you unable to manage an employee who could perform this task for you? Have you already identified a firm that does this kind of work? Outsourcing takes time to set up and it can be difficult to ensure its quality, so it might not be the best choice if you could just hire a part-time employee to help you out instead.

Assuming you want to outsource, I believe the key to deciding what to outsource is to ask yourself if the task or activity is vital for one of your employees to perform. For example, I’m sure you would never want to outsource the remodeling process as you would want to be involved from start to finish in order to maintain your high standards and ensure your customers are satisfied. On the other hand, activities that may make sense to outsource include scheduling, bookkeeping/accounting, web design, and information technology, as these people could more effectively perform these tasks.

Only you can decide what is best for your company. I would encourage you to analyze if there are any tasks you’re spending too much time on that are taking time away from the more important things. Then it’s just a matter of deciding whether to hire someone to do these tasks or find a company that can do them for you. Whatever you decide, good luck in continuing to expand your company.

About the author

Kevin Henderson, Ph.D.

assistant professor, Department of Management

University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business

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