Vetting 101 - 7 tips to find, select the right vendor for your project
You’ve made the decision to outsource a major project or service - look at you making moves for your business, salvaging your sanity and delegating like a champion!
Proud of you, but now comes the hard part - finding the right vendor.
In my experience, outsourcing is either a godsend or significant source of stress, and it tends to be one extreme or the other. In the context of this conversation, let’s start by defining a “major” project or service as:
Estimated to cost $1K or more
Requiring 3+ weeks or a retainer to execute
Something you truly want to outsource - not bring in-house as a full or part-time hire
Having significant value for you - scaling your business, relieving stress/pressure, etc...
A few frequent fliers that fit this bill in my world include brand development, website design, media kits, and social media management, for example.
Now that we’re on the same page, when it comes to finding the right help to make your outsourcing dreams come true, here are my 7 tried and true methods for finding and selecting that right talent for you.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Before you start your talent search, do a little digging on what similar projects or services tend to run and require. Getting a lay of the land will help you feel more confident knowing what to look for and ask for in prospective vendors.
UNDERSTAND YOUR PRIORITIES
Put the following in order of importance to you: quality, experience, values, cost, and speed. Appreciate that you may need to make tradeoffs depending on where things land on this list.
For instance, if experience tops your list, you may need to get ready to spend more for high-touch service.
Shake the trees in your network and get recommendations from friends and colleagues you trust.
You can take this a step further with a social media post in a business or neighborhood group asking the hive mind to chime in - trust me, they will.
START WITH 3
Before you even dive into the true vetting process, narrow your list of prospective vendors down to three options you’re most excited about with notes on why.
Any more than 3 contenders at the get-go, and you will likely be spending time and energy with diminishing returns ...and a splitting headache.
TALK IT OVER
most vendors will (should) offer to do an initial call or consult to chat through your project/service needs free of charge.
Before scheduling these chats, outline your priorities, budget, timeline and questions. This little bit of legwork will help you stay organized and make the most of both your and your prospective vendors’ time.
LOOK DEEPER THAN DOLLARS
You should expect to get detailed proposals and a few portfolio examples from vendors vying for your project.
In addition to clearly showing you the process and estimates, look for “fine print” items like upcharges, deliverable ownership, third-party fees, scope creep and payment requirements.
THINK OF IT AS DATING
Pay close attention to warm fuzzies and flags throughout this part of the process as they are often indications of how the relationship will go once you’re committed.
Basically, trust that gut. Yes, come to the process prepared and check the right boxes, but don’t ignore your instincts. Sometimes it just feels right and that’s worth a shot.
At Front & Center, we are proud to work with a dynamic list of vetted, trusted talent across graphic design, social media, website development, photography and more.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to find your talent fit or how our squad can help you tackle your next project, let’s talk.