You just realized that you have to complete a custom metal project. You have to decide whether or not you are going to take on the project or outsource it. What should you consider in order to make this decision?

Does your team have the expertise to collaborate on this project and come to a solution? Before jumping head first into a project, first take a step back and look at the overall scope of the project. Based on your team’s background, do you feel as though they could even discuss the possibility of doing this project themselves? Could they complete the project? Would they catch the same mistakes an expert would? If the answer is yes, continue reading.

Does your team have the time to take on the project? 

If you’re team is already swamped with their current workload, it may not be a great idea to add onto their plate. If this project will require them to work a significant amount of overtime, is it worth the potential damage to employee morale? 


How much time will it take your team based on their level of experience?

Now that you’ve decided your team is capable of completing the project, it’s time to decide how efficiently they can complete it. Your team may be able to complete the project, but it may take them more time than it would if you were to outsource the project. Time is money, so if it’s going to take them significantly more time to complete the metal work; save yourself the money and headache and just outsource the project.

Do you have the proper equipment to get this metal project done safely? 

When you don’t have the proper equipment to complete a metal project, things can get very dangerous, very quickly. The equipment it takes to work with metal is usually heavy, flammable, and hazardous. Not only will you need the proper equipment to get the job done, you may also need more safety equipment such as welding sleeves, helmets, booths, guards, etc. 

Another aspect to think about in regards to safety, is the position the job may require the workers to work in. Will they be bending over frequently? Will they be lifting heavy materials? What injuries could they endure from this project? How much would those injuries cost your company?

Are your workers qualified to do this kind of work?

There is a reason people are qualified to do certain work. It’s a safety hazard to have an unqualified worker, working with equipment they shouldn’t be. Especially when it comes to metal work, because there are a lot of things that could potentially go wrong.

Do you have the equipment needed for this project? 

If this project requires you to buy new equipment, you’ll have to factor that into your decision. If you foresee taking on multiple projects like this, it might make sense to buy the equipment. If you won’t ever use the equipment needed, it’s probably not a good investment. If you do decide to buy the equipment, make sure you mull over where the equipment will go and what other costs/maintenance that equipment will require. 


Do you already have the metal on hand? 

You may have all of the equipment to complete the project, but you’re also going to need metal. If you don’t have the needed metal on hand, you’ll have to order it. If you don’t normally order metal, it may cost you more than it would a custom metal fabricator. You’ll also have to think about what you’ll do with the surplus you may acquire from your metal order. You will most likely have to order metal in full quantities (by the box, stick, plate, etc.). 

If you do decide to take on the project yourself, remember that you are now taking on the risk of losing time, money and resources. If something goes wrong, you are responsible. If you had outsourced the project, the risks and responsibility would be put on another company. They now have to worry about their expertise, time, safety, materials and risks. 

There are a lot of things to consider when deciding whether or not to outsource your custom metal projects. Ultimately, it’s up to you whether or not it’s worthwhile. At the end of the day, you want to do what’s best for your company. You know your company and know which option will yield the most efficient, quality results. At this point if you think it makes more sense for your company to take on this project internally, go for it! If you think you are going to outsource this project, we invite you to continue reading.

Now that you’ve decided you need to outsource your work, who do you outsource it to? We recommend reviewing the following components of a company before you decide:

Do they have the equipment and manpower to complete the task at hand?  First and foremost, you’ll want to find out whether or not this company is capable of completing your project. 

When you are looking at the capabilities of a company, make sure to look not only at the capabilities of the current project you need done, but also potential projects you may need done in the future. If they do a great job on this project, you can use them again, knowing that they are a reputable company.

Is their experience relative to your project scope? How long have they been in business? Do they have a good reputation? Does their team have enough experience to give you advice on the project? Do they have the know-how to deal with problems that may surface later into the project? 

The level of experience a company brings to the table can really help you decide whether or not to partner with them.

Do you prefer working with larger corporations or smaller businesses’? Will their facility be able to stock or hold the project you need done? Does the size of their company limit their capabilities or increase them?

Is this company easy to communicate with?

 It’s not a good sign if you are trying to work with a company and it’s hard to get ahold of them or you can’t seem to get on the same page about the details of the project.

Will this company be able to get the job done on time? Make sure you know what the lead time is when looking to outsource your project. You may initially want to work with Company A, but if Company A isn’t able to complete your order on time, you may want to look elsewhere. It doesn’t mean you can’t work with them in the future, the timing may not be right for this project.

Will outsourcing to this company save you time and money? 

The reason you are looking to outsource is to save you time and money, so if a company can’t do that, it’s not worth outsourcing to them. Unless, you are simply too busy to complete the project, there are too many risks involved or no one else can get the project completed on time (including you).

Can’t Decide?…

So you’ve analyzed all of the above but still can’t seem to make a decision on who to choose as your service provider. What do you do? 

  • If you are having a hard time deciding who to partner with, a good practice is to tour their facility and meet some of their team members to get a good read on whether or not they would be a good fit. Ask them a lot of questions and see first hand how they deal with processes/projects. 
  • What was their quoted cost? If they are way underbid, they may not have a good grasp of what your project actually encompasses. If they are spot on or a little high, they know their value and most likely understand your project. If they are exceptionally high, they did not understand the entirety of the project and/or purposely quote high because of their own market demand. 
  • Ask around for recommendations. Ask some of your most trusted colleagues, business partners and community members for referrals. If they have had a good experience with your potential provider, you most likely will too. A person close to you shouldn’t purposely steer you in the wrong direction. 
  • Take turns! Maybe you really wanted to use two companies, because they both seemed like a good fit. You wanted to give them both your business, but don’t know who to choose. Well, then just take turns using them!

Not every outsource will be 100% success, but as you build those B2B relationships, your partnerships and communication skills will grow. You should become more efficient as a team and as a community. 

Outsourcing can feel like giving up control, but it can actually give you more control! And more time to focus on your core competencies. We hope this article gave you a few things to think about and factor into your decision-making process.

1311 Pilot Grove Rd Pilot Grove, IA
(319) 469-3961