Pros & Cons of Outsourcing Solar Engineering Services

While it would be great to have all the functions of a company done in-house, sometimes it is beneficial to outsource non-core functions. For solar companies, outsourcing engineering can help to get things up and running quickly and to ultimately stay in business. However, there can be some downsides to outsourcing so finding the right people to outsource your business to is key.

5 Major benefits to outsourcing engineering

1) Maintain continuity

As all employers know, finding good people is one of, if not the most, difficult part of operating a business and this is no exception in the solar industry. With rooftop solar being a relatively new field along with the necessary certifications & education required to perform engineering functions, the labor pool for qualified candidates is not very big. This is why employee turnover can have the potential to disrupt a company’s operations. By outsourcing, solar companies can limit the risk of any disruption and continue operations in the event of an employee leaving.

2) Staffing flexibility

As with most businesses, solar companies can experience ebbs and flows of demand. The ability to use engineering services on an as-needed basis can save a huge amount of money and may prevent layoffs due to lack of cash flow. During these down times company funds can be better spent on business development activities.

3) Focus on core activities

This is a big one. A company’s resources will be best spent on developing and improving core activities while the supporting or non-core functions are outsourced. For a solar company, the core function would be installing the most solar in the least amount of time with high quality workmanship. Employing a dedicated team for engineering and design will only mean resources being diverted away from the company’s main focus.

4) Access to expertise

With over 200 jurisdictions in Florida alone, electrical & structural engineering specific to each along with an in depth understanding of the specific codes and rules enforced is required to accurately design a solar system. Solar companies can benefit from the combined experiences of a firm focused on engineering rather than in house trial and error.

5) Rick is shared

Reputable engineering firms stand by their work and are backed by large insurance policies specific to that line of business. By outsourcing, some or even all of the liability may be passed onto them depending on the situation.

5 Engineering outsourcing concerns and how we address them

1) Lack of Quality Control

One of the biggest downsides to outsourcing is not having full control of the quality of work.

How we address this:

  • Constantly update and upgrade our services
  • Keep a close eye on competitors and industry standards to ensure we exceed expectations every time
  • Leverage the latest technology and tools to ensure accuracy and consistent quality
  • Seek feedback at every opportunity

2) Limited access to service and support at all times

By not having control over operations, you are at the mercy of the outsourced firm’s operational standards.

How we address this:

  • We are there when our clients need us. Unlike our competitors, our lines are always open for questions and help – even after hours

3) Workflow transparency

Information on project status and priority may not always be readily available which can lead to improper planning and execution.

How we address this:

  • A custom dashboard is provided for our clients where they can track the status and access the project deliverables at any given time

4) Hidden and uncertain costs

Complex pricing and cost structures can lead to unexpectedly large invoices which may exceed project budgets.

How we address this:

  • Our cost is based per project to provide consistent pricing with no surprises

5) Lack of commitment

Let’s face it, no one will be more committed to your work than you. This is why some companies are hesitant to outsource.

How we address this:

  • Our success grows with our clients’ success so we are committed to helping them succeed in any way we can. This is reflected in our unmatched quality of service

Outsourcing can be an extremely powerful tool if managed correctly. Clear expectations need to be set to ensure there aren’t any unfavorable surprises after the fact. The key to success is finding the right people or firm to outsource business to. This person or firm should be an expert in the field and should have the integrity to not abuse the control that they have over your business.

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