How to Outsource Data Entry Services

Data entry is one of those tasks that takes a long time to complete. Also, your team members might do better when handling other, less tedious and time-consuming tasks. Whether you’re the manager of a startup or a large business, at one point or the other, you might wonder whether it’s time to outsource data entry services. 

Luckily for you, we’ve created a detailed guide on how you can effectively outsource data entry work with the best possible results. We’ll also include several reasons why you might want to do this, and we won’t leave out some platforms where you can find data entry professionals, too. 

How to outsource online data entry

Before we move on to the rest of the article, we’d like to provide you with a definition of data entry outsourcing. We’ve written other posts on outsourcing in the past, but this type is by far the most necessary one — and that’s what most business owners or managers can find. 

The best example of ‘data entry’ would be for you to manage an online eCommerce store where you have thousands of product pages to which you need to add either descriptive text, meta titles, or meta descriptions, or you simply have to upload images of those products. 

As you can imagine this task can take a long time, and it might sometimes not make sense for you to pay someone in-house to do it as their skills might be better used on something different. 

But there are other types of data entry and they can range from data conversion and data input to actually filling sheets of Excel for accounting. Also, any document management services can be seen as data entry too, and there’s also the option of outsourcing offline services such as processing forms. 

Benefits of outsourcing data entry projects

Cost savings

Outsourcing data entry to other countries where people work for lower fees compared to your own makes sense, especially for small-sized businesses. If you run a startup, you probably know that every penny counts. 

If you hire someone for data entry in-house, there will be a number of other things that you’ll have to ensure, such as health insurance, taxes for your government, and a variety of such added expenses. 

On top of that, workers in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom often have to be paid better just to make a decent living and afford to put food on their table. 

While hiring people in the country you are based in definitely supports your national economy, if you are on a tight budget, you have to work with the resources you have available. And the truth is that professionals in Eastern Europe, South Africa, the Philippines, or India often have the skills you need, and you will be able to pay their wages a lot easier. 

Accuracy 

If you have ever hired someone through a freelancing platform such as Upwork, you might have noticed that there are a plethora of professionals that have a lot of experience in certain fields. 

The same goes for data entry. There are people who have been doing data entry for more than a decade on these platforms, and there’s a good chance that you can find one that delivers perfectly good work with as few errors as possible.

By contrast, if you were to hire a data entry newbie, you would first have to train them and consistently check their work to make sure that it is up to standards. An inexperienced in-house team can set you back and might even make it hard, if not impossible, at times for you to stick to your clients’ deadlines. 

More focus on your business

In the end, the reason data entry outsourcing has become so popular over the past several years is that it allows business owners and managers to focus on more important things. 

You can even have somebody on your team check the work of your freelancers on a weekly basis and also set up meetings with them online. Granted, communication might sometimes be challenging and could raise some difficulties, but if you focus on building relationships with your workers, everything will eventually run smoothly. 

Disadvantages of data entry outsourcing 

Privacy

This is perhaps the most significant concern that business owners have when it comes to outsourcing any type of tasks, including data entry ones. You do have the option of drafting a contract where you clearly specify that none of the information you share with the freelancers can be shared with other people or businesses. 

Naturally, this is not going to eliminate all of your worries, but we’d say that a good way of going about things would be to hire the best freelancer you can afford. 

Check whether that person is top rated on the platform you use and look at the reviews they’ve acquired from other clients in the past — if there are any dealing with privacy and data sharing, that individual is not the right professional for you. 

Communication issues

Since some of these freelancers are based in various countries across the world, the biggest disadvantage that you will have to try and manage is going to be to try and set up regular meetings. 

On top of that, there could be a language barrier that results in mistakes, so when you first start working with someone, you will have to manage them closely and look at what type of errors they make most often. 

Management mishaps

Control can be extremely important, especially if you are used to micromanaging people, whether your in-house team or freelancers across the globe. 

On top of that, it will take at least some time for you to build a relationship with the data entry professional and trust that they will deliver the expected results at the right time. 

Moreover, outsourcing some of your work can change the morale of your in-house team, but if they understand that you will do this only for the most tedious tasks, there’s probably nothing you have to worry about. 

Read more: How to outsource web development

How to find companies looking to outsource data entry work

We’ve focused most of our article up until now on business owners, but if you are a freelancer looking to expand their services or just be able to reach more potential clients, this section is for you. 

A good piece of advice that we can give you off the bat is to simply google the heading text above — and you’ll come across several websites that offer data entry to clients, so you can apply to them. 

Also, if you have heard that a company regularly outsources data entry to various freelancers, it doesn’t hurt to simply send them your resume and ask them whether they might not be interested in working with you. 

There are a number of agencies that specialize in providing data entry work to clients, and here are several examples: 

  • DataPlus
  • ARDEM Incorporated
  • Invensis Technologies
  • Saivion India
  • Team Data Entry
  • Falcon Data Entry
  • OBP
  • Lake Data Center

There is also the option of you creating an account on a freelance platform, such as one of those that we will talk about in one of the sections below. 

Read more: Why do companies choose to outsource work?

Best platforms for publishing outsource data entry jobs 

Finding the right freelancing platform, whether you are a professional yourself or you are looking to hire a data entry freelancer, can be a bit challenging. Also, even though all of the platforms we’re showcasing next are excellent, it can take time for you to find the right person for the job. 

Upwork

Although the fees on this website are a little hefty for both companies and freelancers, Upwork is one of the safest options you might have available. You can hire people either on an hourly basis or per specific projects, depending on what needs to be done. 

Hourly data entry jobs might be a better idea if you want to keep working with the same freelancer. The reason we’re recommending Upwork first is that they have a safety process in place for payments, and their customer service is pretty good, too, so if you run into any issues, you can talk to someone so they can fix your problem. 

Freelancer.com

If you don’t want to pay too much for data entry work, Freelancer.com might be up your alley. There are lots of cheap workers on this platform and many of them are based in India and other Asian countries. 

The design of the platform, combined with the fact that there is a huge amount of competition between the freelancers, might make this site less of a good choice, though. 

PeoplePerHour

Whether you use this website or Fiverr or anything similar, in most cases, you will be able to work with freelancers in a project-based manner. PPH also has its fair share of commissions, which they charge both the freelancer and the client, so do keep that in mind. 

Flexjobs.com

This one is a little different in that you, the business owner, will have to post the job and then wait for freelancers to bid on your project — so it makes the task of hiring people slightly easier, in that you will be able to check everyone’s resume and see whether they match your expectations or not. 

Craigslist

You can find a variety of jobs on Craigslist, and the best thing about them is that they’re mostly local. In the UK, there is a similar website called Gumtree. While it might be a little unconventional, if you want to support your local economy, you might want to post your job here. 

But there is a drawback to using such sites, since they’re not particularly geared toward highly skilled professionals, so you will have to sift through a lot of resumes before finding the right person for the job. 

Read more: How to outsource SEO

How to manage data entry outsource professionals

Since we mentioned that communication can be paramount when finding and working with the best data entry professionals, setting up a schedule and deciding on a specific tool to keep track of what’s going on from the beginning is the right way of going about things. 

Several examples of project management software options are listed below: 

  • Asana 
  • Basecamp
  • Flow
  • Jira
  • LiquidPlanner

If you do not want to invest in a tool, you can simply share your Google Calendars with one another, and while it might seem time-consuming to add guests to all of the tasks you set up in your Google Calendar, you can see people marking those tasks using various colors depending on a color scheme you’ve set up for ‘in progress’ and ‘completed’. 

You will also have to consider using a communication tool, whether that might be an instant one such as Slack (which is quite popular and effective, especially since it also sends out email notifications to your team members) or a classic collaboration tool like Google Sheets. 

Since weekly meetings are going to be a must when working with a freelancer, you should also decide on a specific platform such as Skype, Zoom, or even Google Meet. Perhaps you should consider avoiding Facebook Video, Whatsapp, or any other platforms that might have had issues with their privacy in the past. 

Read more: How to outsource content creation

Final thoughts

Finding the right data entry outsourcing partner can take a bit of time and effort, but once you find the right person (or several different ones), you will rest assured that you can better focus on your other tasks, mostly relating to business, such as finding new customers or clients. 

One thing we’d like to add at the end of this article is that paying freelancers a decent wage even though it might be higher than what’s customary in their countries can help you build better relationships. 

Giving people financial incentives on a semester-to-semester or yearly basis can convince these data entry professionals to continue working with you. 

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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