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The people will almost always be communicating with clients by email, and if not I can have a UK phone number anyway.
I would be very interested in any experience other people have of doing this, particularly recruitment, finding offices etc.
My initial thoughts were of Bulgaria, this is purely due to the fact that I love snowboarding and it is quite good there.
All feedback greatly appreciated, including any links to resources (Sticky if need be)
Hungary, where I live most of the time, has a nice mix of fairly low wages and fairly high standards, and is in the EU of course. That said, if you're already thinking Bulgaria then Hungary might be too pricey for you.
If you're going to outsource in the Balkans you will *need* a local point of contact whom you trust. I'd say you should pick a couple countries, make some contacts on the web, and then go there personally and meet people at least a couple times before making any decision. Business is very personal in that part of the world and if they don't like you they will not be good business partners.
Communication is unlikely to be much of a problem, everyone's on GSM and most folks can get DSL or cable installed. The main thing is finding people you're comfortable working with.
In the ex-East-bloc generally, people running ISPs know people who do tech work, and people running portals know who does websites. You can also contact technical universities to get the names of good recent graduates.
Hope that helps at least a bit.
Main part of making a deal in this part of the world is making good contact with reliable people.
Haggling is acceptable, if you get the right people, and it can work as a charm for 15-25$ hour (depending on the job)
Also, many will accept working for much less than the job is worth, and that will only create problems for you (programmers that work for 200-250$ per month do a poor job especially these days, when prices are quite high)
Good points are that people here tend to speak better English than boys/girls from India. Also, everyone know everyone else here, so finding good people is not difficult, and background checks are relatively easy.
(I am from Serbia, if you didn't notice ;) )
I would not suggest Bulgaria or any other eastern countries. Think Russia, Belorussia and Ukraine. Those 3 countries are parts of former USSR and educational level of profesionals is very high.
If you do not set-up your office in the capital, you can easily find programmers, designers, etc for $200-$300 a month.
If you need any help or more info, sticky me.
It can be a bit difficult getting the exact skill you need but the people are out there. You just need to keep looking.
There isn't much difference in programmer salaries between Romania and Bulgaria. The difference is that Sofia has the Vitosha mountain right next door :)
It's also pretty safe - foreigners don't have much to worry about - not the case further east.
But it all depends on the negotiation with the persons...
I am working for a german company since 4 years ago...and I charge that amount (but besides programming I am doing also marketing, usability, SEO, etc...all what needs for a site to run successful - because I am running their site).
We have in Romania a lots of talents...and the language is another reason you may want to try here: many people who are working in this industry - but not only - knows quite well the English language with not so evident accent.
Yes, we may not have the mountains right near the capital :)...but tey are quite near (100-150 Km from the capital). And the sea is also near...
So, you can try here too :)...I would be happy to help you with this if you want (be your contact here).
(sounds like those country TV comercials - "Visit Romania!" :) )
The trust factor was good for me, but too peripheral. What you MUST have is a good GM you can trust. I had people like consultants that are highly capable but only there part time. I have 100% trust in them. Then I had 2 office supervisors that didn't have enough managment experience overseeing everyone else. Many actualy started blaming me for any problems, which is easy for them. With a good GM this would not have happened.
Actually I am basically putting a LOT of effort into making this a mini call center at nihgt (4 best of the best phone sales guys who worked for big american offshore telemarketing firms) and half design/dev. I haven't proven it yet, but I think the offshore call center calling BtoB is so effective that it is what will really push my company over the edge.
I also started to big. My monthly expenses are at about $12,000 per month including 3K for my own living expenses. I had NO clients when we started. I didn't start with very much personal savings (lets say under 100K)
My office is 100 Square feet and is just amazing. 1000 USD per month only. 15th floor and more modern and stylish than most upscale offices in buildings in business areas of big cities. I don't know how much this would cost elsewhere. This helps attrach and retaiin employees.
I have had some problems with communication, even though people speak flawless English in the Phils. Also, even though people associate with American culture there, I find that their different ideas get in the way of their ideas about how to design a site
For example, we're doing a site for a "private placement" company who does investments for the super rich. But my designer just couldn't quite get the image right for what would look "VERY conservative"-- even though I hand held him a lot.
I hope some of you all can report back with your stories. I really want to share notes!
You can find a good software engineer in the 500-800 range. A very good one above that, you can even get a CS international olympic winner for around 2000 euros :-).
Above salaries are for desktop software developers. Web programmers are paid a hundred or two less, sure not below 150.
Good web designer makes around 500 euros a month. Above 1000, he must be a star.
Salaries also vary a bit from company to company. If you have a good working environment, you won't leave for an extra hundred.
In Bucharest salaries are also a few hundred higher then in the rest of the country.
Here goes the biased part ;-)
I would advise you to go for Romania because:
- more similar cultures then in Asian countries (Romanians are christians, american dream is followed here too)
- nice country and people
- highly educated and skilled people, even with international certifications
- good English speakers (I wonder how many errors I've made..)
- many already have the experience of working for a western customer
- total population is about three times greater then in Bulgaria, so there's a larger selection base
[edited by: engine at 11:48 am (utc) on April 17, 2005]
[edit reason] no solicitations see TOS [/edit]
I am in Cebu, and many think the most beautiful woman in Asia are in this area of the country. You would be shocked at the number of americans that come here to me a potencial wife.
I don't know about good programers, but GREAT programmers are P35K per month and it's P54 to the USD.
This guy at that amount worked for a worldwide dotcom with over 2 mil members. It was sold by americans to some Europeans who moved the company here 3 years ago.
This is one of closely guarded "secrets" BUT SO many people have posted messges on these boards, I feel I really owe something back.
The big question is: do you want to expand to find a bigger market (as you write to increase in size) or are you thinking of moving your operation to a cheaper place? Or maybe both? :-)
I already employ a coder in Romania and find him to be a great worker and a very valuable asset to my company. Looking to find another couple of guys there and then rent office space. Planning a trip there asap - the girl from the "Visit Romania" ads clinched it for me, lol.