Small Budget - How to find the right eLearning vendor?

Mar 18, 2011

I have a small budget and we’re looking at elearning vendors.  What questions should I ask to select the right one?

3 Replies
Robert Kennedy

Hi April,

I have been on both sides of the fence.  We are currently an elearning vendor but I have also been in the situation of needing something on a small budget.  There are many types of vendors:

- those that won't look your way because your budget is too small

- those that will look your way but will give you less quality because of your budget

- those that will work with you no matter your budget and treat you with integrity (and still give you high quality)

We strive to be the one on the bottom.  While its true that a budget definitely affects what can be done, we also try to provide options for you and present a picture that allows you to see hope in your project instead of despair.

Questions you should ask?

1. This is my project, this is my budget, this is what I want to accomplish.  How can I achieve all three?

2. Can you show me an example of a project that you have done that is similar to the budget range I am working with?

3. Can you share with me your development process?

4. What do you need from me in order to make a project sparkle?

5. Is there anything that I can do on my end to make the project more efficient and cost effective?

These are not the only questions you should ask of course.  But for a smaller project where budget is a MAJOR consideration, you definitely want to make sure that you are not getting cheap and cheap looking.  There are definitely expensive and more glamorous options.  But an eLearning "pro" should be able to help you through the process from beginning to end.  Shoot me a message if you'd like and we can chat about your project or just simply answer any question that you might have.

Steve Flowers

I agree with Robert on all above. Your mileage will vary. Sharpening up your expectations (understanding the true cost of services) and goals are key to getting reasonable value. 

For a small budget project, I would look for ways to reduce the risk on both parties. If you enter the project knowing exactly what your problems are, it makes architecting a solution much clearer. If you have time to do a pre-design analysis you can come in with all the details a vendor might need to feel better about taking on a low revenue engagement. If the project is in any ways ambiguous or you appear to be a high maintenance client, a capable vendor that's worth the engagement may steer clear. On the other hand, if you come in knowing what you want, are able to articulate your problem and your vision for solving it, and consciously minimize any potential project destroyer tendencies and you'll get what you need at the right price - and will quite likely enjoy it.

In a way, you're marketing your project to a potential vendor. Finding other ways to incentivize participation might widen your pool of service provider prospects. Many folks are motivated by more than$$

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