For our second installment of Partner Success Stories, we highlight one of our white-label partnerships for WordPress outsourcing. As such, we have avoided mentioning any identifying details. Even so, there are plenty of lessons to learn from the story of this partnership.
Our partner Roger is part of a small, full-service WordPress marketing agency that offers content marketing, SEO, design, and copywriting. Like many small business owners, he and his colleagues are bursting with enthusiasm to grow their company.
Since marketing activities happen on a website, they also build websites for their clients on WordPress. With their speciality in marketing, no one on the staff actually does the coding of the websites themselves.
For a while, the team hired freelancer developers locally. The freelancers were expensive and sometimes had long lead times.
“The standard response was most of the time, well, in four weeks, five weeks, six weeks,” Roger said of asking his company’s freelancer about a new project. “I can sell a lot to my client but six weeks is a lot to sell. That was always a problem, but we managed it.”
Even for small changes, they would have issues because the freelancers might not have availability until the following week.
Then, while researching options for outsourcing web development, they heard about our team at The White Label Agency. The offer sounded maybe a little too good — both cheaper and quicker turnaround?
“There was only one way to find out, and that was doing it,” Roger said.
So his agency committed to testing TWLA with three projects, and then to evaluate whether it worked for them.
An Outsourcing Partner who Thinks Ahead
Roger had heard of others in his industry that had outsourced WordPress to other countries such as India or South Africa.
“The problem was they always do exactly as you say. But they don’t think ahead,” he explained. “But it’s impossible to truly plan every bit and byte. So it’s important to work with a developer who can fill in the blanks. Or who comes to us to ask questions and says, we have A or B options.”
This was a quality that Roger highlighted in his agency’s work so far with TWLA. He said that not only do the developers come with such pro-active questions, they also work with Roger’s dedicated account manager, Eugene, to explain both the technical and financial implications of such choices.
Greater Flexibility and Higher Margins
Often, there’s a notion that it’s more expensive to work with agencies than freelancers. But this turned out not to be the case for Roger and his agency.
“They’re cheaper, they’re faster, and they’re more flexible,” he said, comparing TWLA to previous freelancers he had hired. “They can start within a day or two days. That’s something I can sell to a client. That’s a big plus.”
Even though the turnaround time fell, Roger’s agency was able to increase their margins. TWLA’s hourly prices are just over half the hourly rate he was paying for freelancers — and the external rates they charge are the same. So if TWLA quotes 50 hours of development, they quote the same to their end-customers, but now with higher margins.
An added side benefit of higher margins is that if additional issues or requests come up, Roger can go the extra mile to make customers happy, since these margins offer a bit more wiggle room than before.
The Value of Transparency
Roger emphasized how much he appreciates the transparency in his communication with his TWLA dedicated account manager, Eugene. For example, now and then a project has turned out to take less time than quoted, and Eugene has let them know and billed them only for the time spent. Sometimes the opposite happens, and a few extra hours are needed.
“I don’t have the feeling of being tricked,” Roger said. “I appreciate the honesty.”
Good communication goes beyond accurate billing. Roger made clear that open, extensive communication with TWLA has been a big selling point.
A Collaborative Partnership
“What I find very important is the attitude, to be willing to satisfy the client. I have contact with Eugene on a daily basis, and he is always trying to get the best for us,” Roger said.
He’s not only referring to standard customer service. In a collaborative partnership, both partners help each other to learn and improve.
For example, Roger suggested to Eugene at one point that they do the web design in Sketch, rather than Photoshop — something that would save TWLA time in extracting images. They adopted the change. They’ve also brought Eugene into the agency’s Slack channel to streamline communication. On the flip side, Roger is learning from Eugene all the information he needs to make an accurate quote.
“It has to be as smooth as possible,” Roger explained. “We learn from each other.”
Working Together for Growth
Roger and his colleagues are optimistic about the future for their agency.
“The clients are getting bigger, the projects are getting bigger,” he said.
Based on their current pace of growth, they hope to be able to hire a dedicated developer at TWLA by 2017. With this kind of growth and change, Roger and his colleagues need a partner they can count on.
“There are so many companies that are just doing their own thing. That’s not what we need,” he told me. “We need a really good partner.”
We at TWLA are looking forward to being that partner in the coming months and years.