How Crowdsourcing is Different from Outsourcing


The lines that distinguish crowdsourcing from outsourcing can easily become blurred and confusing – especially if you’re not very familiar with either of them. If that is a problem for you, then taking a few moments to understand how crowdsourcing differs from outsourcing will quickly clear things.

Overhead Expenses

One of the biggest areas in which crowdsourcing differs from outsourcing is that of overhead expenses. There are no overhead expenses for crowdsourcing at all since there are no fixed costs or facility associated with this particular model. On the other hand, fixed expenses – such as bench and facility costs – are required when it comes to outsourcing.

Flexibility of the Workforce

According to Lion Bridge, outsourcing does not have a very flexible workforce option at all. On the contrary, its rigid structure requires clients to commit to established staffing models which call for lead time when it comes to various activities. A much more flexible model is used for crowdsourcing, because it provides on-demand access worldwide.

The Limited Range of Abilities and Skills

Another major area in which crowdsourcing and outsourcing differ is when it comes to the range of abilities and skills readily available for each project. Crowdsourcing, such as crowdsourcing design by Designhill, offers the chance for worldwide collaboration. Therefore, a broad spectrum of talent, abilities and skills is available to collaborate on the same project.


On the other hand, according to Top Coder, outsourcing focuses on a more defined, limited pool of talents that will not be able to complete many of the different types of tasks and assignments available through crowdsourcing.

Traditional Handling of Workload

Human error affects any type of project – including graphic design. Even if you have a team of the most experienced graphic designers in the world working on the same project, there is still a chance of human error becoming a problem at some point. Outsourcing is nothing but a slight augmentation of the traditional labor force. A relatively small pool of designers will handle the same tasks that are usually done in-house. Work is assigned and managed in a traditional way.


On the other hand, crowdsourcing allows a competitive community of quality designers to take the quality of your workload to brand new heights. Instead of just receiving a single submission from each team member, crowd sourcing opens the gates of creativity – allowing multiple submissions to result in multiple quality solutions.


Time Clock Management

Many companies and organizations around the world depend on outsourcing labor services because of the modified time clock management that is allowed. Instead of paying for full-time salaried employees, outsourcing allows third-party companies to be accessed and used for hourly rates. In most cases, especially when using countries such as Ukraine and India, many companies are able to source their labor hours at much lower rates than for their regular employees – which leads to long-term saving.

However, the quality of the work done during those hours has nothing to do with the pay. Whether they create artistic masterpieces or absolute garbage during any specific period of time, they will still get paid the same rate for that time. On the other hand, crowdsourcing opportunities (such as crowdsourcing design by Designhill) focus more on production and output. Instead of paying per hour, you are paying for the quality products that were created during that hour.


Schedule of Availability

As mentioned earlier, outsourcing requires the labor force to work with a time clock in view – which means that their work hours are limited. This means that productivity is drastically limited and confined to a relatively small block of time each day – especially when you deduct periods of downtime such as breaks and lunches.


On the other hand, crowdsourcing breaks down the barriers of time because crowdsourced designers are not tied to a particular time period of availability. With a crowdsourcing model, you can have a team of high-quality designers working around the clock – creating their own work schedules from anywhere around the world. Keep in mind that each designer will not necessarily be working 24/7, but the overall productivity is drastically increased thanks to the absence of confined schedules.


Keep Things in Perspective

When examining the differences between crowdsourcing and outsourcing, it may seem like crowdsourcing is the unanimous winner – showing no significant downsides or disadvantages. However, that is not necessarily the case. According to Hongkiat, crowdsourcing opens up a new realm of disadvantages – including the time-consuming need for additional management and the difficulty of getting crowd members to collaborate while basically competing against each other at the same time.

Therefore, it is important to note that there are advantages and disadvantages to both sides of the spectrum – crowdsourcing and outsourcing. You need to keep things in perspective and thoroughly analyze the pros and cons in order to determine which model is the most suitable for your specific needs.

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