Delegating to Providers Inside and Outside the U.S.

These days, the ability to effortlessly send data just about anywhere in the world makes international business much simpler and more profitable than ever before. One result is that national borders don’t mean as much as they used to; and therefore, offshoring—i.e., delegating specific business functions to service providers in other countries, where labor is cheaper—has become a common practice. Who hasn’t contacted a call center and ended up talking to someone with a melodious Indian accent?

Offshoring represents a natural evolution of business in the global village. But don’t forget the benefits of “inshoring”: i.e., outsourcing business functions to providers in your own community, or at least your own country.

I don’t mean to belittle offshoring by any means; it certainly has its place on the global business stage, and has, in fact, revolutionized the way American companies do business. But at the risk of sounding patriotic, I would suggest that in this time of economic downturn, you might consider looking closer to home for your outsourcing needs first. You can find top-notch American workers in all the standard outsourcing fields, from IT to technical support—along with writers, graphic artists, personal assistants, even salespeople.

And you can get some surprisingly good rates right here at home, especially given the rising costs in traditional outsourcing nations as their economies improve across the board. Even if you do have to pay slightly higher costs for inshoring, the fact that you don’t have to worry nearly as much about things like time zone differentials can make up for that. If you have a question at 2 PM in Chicago, well, that works out to 1 AM in Mumbai. If you require responses to your inquiries on the same work day, then offshoring may put your business at a disadvantage.

And let’s face it: with inshoring, you don’t have to worry as much about language, accents, or cultural differences. This becomes most significant when offshore providers handle customer service. While these issues may not bother you, they may bother your customers—and in business, the customers are the ultimate arbitrators of the bottom line. Like it or not, most people feel more at home when speaking with someone who speaks the way they do…and a happy customer is more likely to buy again.

I’m not saying you should always select a U.S. firm over an offshore business when filling your outsourcing needs; you may very well find that a foreign provider offers a better deal all around. However, I do suggest you consider the inshoring option, weighing all the variables in the balance—not just price.



  1. Laura,
    THANK YOU for this article! I find that so many businesses in my area won’t do business with me as a website designer, but will go to a distant large business for the same service.
    Please businesses shop locally for your services — you might make a friend.