How can I outsource as much of my Admin job as possible?
April 24, 2014 7:36 AM   Subscribe

I am an Office Admin/Project Manager/Bookkeeper/Customer Support/etc/etc/etc for a small web development shop, who has learned enough programming over the past few years that my boss wants to promote me to a full-time developer. I am researching options for companies/services that can do what I do without hiring another full-time person. We'll have have to hire somebody, but I'd like to know what could possibly be outsourced, or any other free-form ideas to rejigger. Any input on what Mefites send out-of-house would be appreciated. Current duties within.

I am a Swiss Army Knife/catch-all around here. Other than me, there is someone doing web development full time and someone doing sales full-time, plus a crew of part-time data-entry people. I do everything in between, so much so that's hard to even come up with a list.

Existing Customer Support
I answer the phones and emails, providing instruction and clarification of features of our eCommerce web platform, which is basically a CMS and shopping cart supported by a data entry staff to provide images/info on items for sale. Also, create support tickets for bugs and feature requests requiring programmer/developer time. We get about 20-30 emails a day and maybe 3 phone calls, unless our websites are having a big problem, and we get a big flurry. We don't need a whole call center, but maybe there are services to handle this that wouldn't make for a big dropoff in the quality of our Customer Support. The paths to resolution for customer support start with "Please copy paste the URL of the page", "Please copy/paste the exact error message", "Please send me your IP address", "Please advise the item # you're having a problem with", etc. Not rocket science. Ideally, the person filling this role would know the answer themselves to some common questions, and know how to create an clear support ticket otherwise.

New Client Project Management
I take new clients through the steps to getting their website launched. Domain registration/transfers, payment gateway setup with merchant service provider, liaise between client and graphic designer, and coordinate the technical implementation thereof. I could probably continue to do this, as most of the steps would require a service ticket created for a programmer to install/setup. I'm also supposed to chase down clients who are sluggish about accomplishing getting us the info we need. Someone/something to chase people would be helpful.

- Create and mail monthly statements.
- Process client payments.
- Follow up on delinquent accounts and send to collections as necessary.
- Enter and pay bills.
- Reconcile statements.
- Process bi-weekly payroll.
- File things.

This is where I think there's probably a big opportunity to offload to an outside firm. We currently use QuickBooks for all of the above, but are not wedded to it, provided transitioning 15 years worth of business to another platform is somewhat feasible. I'm sure there's a company to invoice people and make sure we get paid, I just don't know which the good one is and would like some recommendations from real people. QuickBooks payroll is very convenient, but I'm sure there are alternatives.

Data Entry Manager
Our staff does research and enters information. Somebody needs to spot-check that and provide feedback to the staff. Also, manage the workload and assign work to certain staff.

Make occasional Staples order, get the mail, decide when to throw out old magazines, whatever. Random office stuff that nobody puts on their resume but needs doing anyways.

So, yeah, probably we have to hire somebody, but we'd prefer that person be as unskilled and part-time/cheap as possible. Whatcha got? What outside services have you used and how do you feel about them? Got other ideas? Just want to pat me on the back for being so multifaceted? Lay it on me. Thanks.
posted by even butter to Work & Money (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Bookkeeping can absolutely be outsourced. Can you get an intern to handle the miscellaneous and customer support tasks (as well as some career-specific tasks to make their time worthwhile)?

You could contact with a local tech company to handle your customers' ecommerce questions.
posted by lovelygirl at 7:59 AM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

You can outsource a lot of this, but the problem is, it's WAY more expensive than having a general admin to do everything.

You might be able to get a 30-hour a week part-time person to come in to do stuff, say 10 AM to 4 PM.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:26 AM on April 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

You can't have an admin who is doing basic stuff around the office also managing and assigning workload to staff. It just won't work. One way to get the basic stuff done like office pantry refilling, clearing trash etc, is to make a rota for your small office and take turns, with everyone fairly taking a turn so it's just an hour out of your day once a week. That works if you have a nice friendly team, but not if you have a strong hierachial structure.

Bookkeeping can definitely be outsourced. probably has an accountant in your area and you can do invoices etc from it easily.

New client is too important to give to someone who is not full staff. You want that and tracking errant clients to be a priority and handled as such.

Customer support could be handled by someone outside or part-time. It would be a good fit for someone who needed to work from home mostly, so you might want to look for a stay-at-home parent who will trade higher pay for flexibility and telecommuting.
posted by viggorlijah at 9:13 PM on April 24, 2014

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