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Businesses IT

Outsourcing to Rural America 587

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the more-than-corn-in-the-midwest dept.
andy753421 writes "Wired is running an article about 'Rural Sourcing, an IT company that outsources not to India or Mexico, but rural America.' The company targets IT workers in rural location due to lower costs of living, 'The company charges $35 to $50 per hour for IT expertise, which may cost around $100 in New York City. While this is no match for outsourcing rates in India, clients benefit from local accents and similar time zones -- not to mention the absence of stigma sometimes attached to farming jobs out to foreign countries.' The article also points out several other innovative attempts at outsourcing such as Lakota Express and Seacode, which was previously covered on slashdot."
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Outsourcing to Rural America

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  • by suso (153703) * on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:16AM (#14089819) Homepage Journal
    Don't outsource to India, outsource to Indiana.

    Specifically, Bloomington. There is a lot of talent here.
    • Re:I for one..... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by servo335 (853111)
      I for one welcome outsourcing to others in our country not over seas.
    • Not far off. (Score:4, Informative)

      by RandoX (828285) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:27AM (#14089917)
      I work in Indianapolis. The parent company is in Los Angeles. Works out for both of us.
      • Re:Not far off. (Score:3, Insightful)

        The other nice thing about outsourcing to rural America is that, if you are the type that doesn't look busy because you get it done right the first time (or you just really kick gluteous maximus at multi-tasking), you can hold down two jobs on a 50 hour per week schedule. Of course, it depends on what type of outsourced job you have. Or, if you are more sane, you can do your one job in less than 40 hours a week and enjoy your nice, big house with a few acres out in wherever. Despite the stereotypes, not
        • Bigoted hicks in central PA have probably been breathing fumes from the Centralia Mine Fire. First google hit on it: http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/centrali a.htm [offroaders.com]
        • As someone who has lived both in Oklahoma (Lawton) and Central Pennsylvania (45 minutes S. of Picksburgh), I can wholeheartedly agree with you.
      • Re:Not far off. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by timeOday (582209)
        But the article says $35 to $50 for consulting? Assuming the contracting company takes a good bite of that, it sure doesn't sound like much. I think one could make a lot more as a plumber.
        • If comparing a NY plumber to country coder, then yes, they might make more money. Of course, they also pay a GREAT deal more. Most plumber in rural USA area makes about 30-50K/year. At $30-50,that is 60-100K/year.
        • Re:Not far off. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by bigman2003 (671309) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:19AM (#14091257) Homepage
          First...plumbers don't do too bad. The national average in the US is $47,000- which includes plumbers of all levels. An experienced plumber could easily be in the $80,000+ range in a large city. Second...people can't just become plumbers because it's an 'easy job.' Good plumbers have a LOT of education and experience. When a company is running pipes under a five million dollar home, or in an expensive commercial building, or safety equipment in a skyscaper, they don't just trust it to any chump. It would cost far more to come out to make a repair, than it would to have it done right the first time. And they get compensated for this. There ARE chump plumbers out there. They install sprinklers, and clear drains. Think of them as being the 'help desk' of the plumbing industry. I've shifted around between trades and offices during my working career. And the one thing that is common between the two, is that each side thinks that the other is overpaid and lazy. Tradesmen see people sitting in offices, and they think they are getting paid for doing nothing. Office workers (especially execs) look at tradesmen, and think that they are lazy, perform menial tasks, and are too dumb for anything else. Yeah...and you should hear them bitch when the air conditioning goes out. Now though, I am a deskworker...of the worst kind. I sit in a fairly dark room, programming. But when my co-workers complain about the electrician (calling him stupid..and laughing at his mullet (dude, get rid of the mullet...he's right about that)) I just wonder if any of them could do the work he is doing. And the last time we had an electrician come in, it was because one of the IT guys ordered the wrong equipment, and the server room had to be re-wired to accomodate it. You can be sure the electricians were talking shit about that.... No, we're not smarter just because we stare at screen all day...nor are we more valuable. The only part of this that makes me feel good, is that I work on an HR project. I see everyone's salaries...and the plumbers and electricians are on a very similar payscale to the IT workers. (Advertised salaries are different...but the plumbers tend to be on the higher end of their scale, because they change jobs less frequently...'Hot-Shot' IT guys move around a lot more..and are on the lower end of their particular job scale) I.T. is just the plumbing of the future.
      • Indianaplis isn't excactly rural. Try someplace, say like http://www.rossville.net/ [rossville.net]
    • Instead of outsourcing you should move your HQs to La Paz [baja-web.com], Mexico.

      You see, cheap beaches, bitches, hotels and sand. What else would you like?
      • I'll field this one, xtracto.

        What else would you like?

        More beetches!!!



        See how I did that? I made it so you can't tell if I'm talking about beaches or bitches, by adding in a fake heavy accent through the use of a typo. Nifty!

    • by Otter (3800) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:56AM (#14090180) Journal
      Don't outsource to India, outsource to Indiana.

      Or you can go with the abovementioned Lakota Express and outsource to (American) Indians! See, technology giveth and it taketh away.

    • by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @10:24AM (#14090489) Homepage
      Har- I live in Ohio- Somethings to keep in mind: Find a $200,000 home in NY city and it's a 500 sq foot studio. Out here in Ohio, 200K is a 4 bedroom house with a couple baths on an acre with a good school district...
      I thought about moving to Cali for a job, they would give me about a 70% raise, but I would end up in a smaller house and a much longer commute.... sheesh!
      • by Woldry (928749) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:42AM (#14091582) Journal
        Another current Ohioan & native rural Pennsylvanian chiming in...

        I live in the most rural county in Ohio. Despite the large population of Amish here, we are hardly the benighted hicks that the coasters like to imagine. I have several options for DSL or cable service. The state has the best-funded libraries in the U.S., including the first ever statewide free online chat reference service. I make less now than when I lived in the city, but have a much higher standard of living due to the fact that life here is vastly more affordable.

        Some of the best universities in the country are found in Ohio. Despite the same-sex-marriage amendment that got passed recently, I have found people generally to be very accepting of my sexual orientation -- in greater proportions to the people I knew when I lived in Washington, DC or Pittsburgh. There's a 100% gay-friendly church in a nearby town (half the size of the town where I live). Unlike in the city, no one here has yet stolen my pets or keyed my car or slashed my tires. There's a thriving arts center in my community with programs that rival most things I saw when I lived in cities (Washington, DC and Pittsburgh) or on visits to the coasts. I live a mere hour's drive from a world-class symphony in Cleveland, as well as a vibrant art scene.

        What's more, where I live I can walk to work without fear of being attacked by random strangers or held up at gunpoint (as I was in a "nice" neighborhood in Pittsburgh). While we do have crime here, I love going for weeks at a time without hearing of a single armed robbery, murder, hate crime, arson, child abduction, breakin, elder abuse, carjacking, burglary, etc.

        You can sneer about the uneducated people living in rural areas, but as someone else pointed out, judging the entire state by a few ignorant people is roughly akin to judging LA entirely by the slums. I used to work with inner-city children who were far more ignorant and uneducated (and bigoted) than the most unenlightened, unwashed farmboy I ever met.

        Best of all, for the most part, people are genuinely nice to each other here, whether you're a total stranger, a brand-new neighbor, or an old friend. Yes, they poke their nose in your business, but they also help when your car breaks down on a back road in the middle of the night. That's a tradeoff I'll gladly take.

        I know that rural life is not for everyone. If you're happy in the city, by all means, stay there. More work for me! But please, stop sneering at those of us who choose to live here for very good, rational reasons. And please stop assuming that the occcasional rural village idiot is representative of rural America as a whole.
  • Pah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:18AM (#14089837)
    I think I'll continue to outsource to India. They tend to speak better English than Alabamans. (And they're less likely to take the afternoon off to marry their sister).
    • Re:Pah! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MBGMorden (803437)
      Why is it considered wrong to stereotype and degrade anyone except Southern Americans? You pick any race or geographic group of people and say anything wrong about them and half of Slashdot will be clamoring for your head, but not in this case.

      You're just a prejudiced as any hate group in history.
      • Why is it considered wrong to stereotype and degrade anyone except Southern Americans? You pick any race or geographic group of people and say anything wrong about them and half of Slashdot will be clamoring for your head, but not in this case.

        Oh don't fret. They're just damn yankees. We could always outsource to WisCAWWNsin (don't cha know?) or the Bronx where they can "breaka your face if you call our company again". Then there is always the California dudes with all the fun earthquakes. Florida woul
      • No, no, no! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Julian Morrison (5575) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @11:03AM (#14091040)
        ...you're doing the multiculturalism thing all wrong!

        What you're supposed to say is that "marrying your sister" is a cultural practise of excellent pedigree, and shouldn't be judged by narrow "western", ahem, I mean "urban" standards. Then you should suggest that Southern drawl is in fact a seperate language, start a "Southern-English dictionary", and get the bible translated into simplistic sentences (with Jesus replaced by Elvis, as being "culturally relevant"). And then, start some large lobbying groups in DC (manned entirely by damyankees except for a token Southern frontman) which advocate "rural quotas", and always seem to support the Democrats.
    • Ignore the parent...he's just pissed that I have his job slot ;-)

      I live in rural Alabama, and speak English at least as well as someone from the rest of the country. I work as a telecommuter (run a support department for a firewall startup) and have never had a problem. I agree that it is nice to get a nice home for 80-130K as opposed to 350-600K in some other areas (San Fran comes to mind.)

      Since I timeshift to cover some of the EU, living in the eastern US is nice, and we have fewer problems with telco and

    • Re:Pah! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arnie_apesacrappin (200185) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @10:30AM (#14090535)
      I think I'll continue to outsource to India. They tend to speak better English than Alabamans.

      I still don't get why everyone in the country makes fun of the way southerners speak when there are so many screwed up dialects in this country. When you look at Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Louisiana (in the south, but a different accent near New Orleans) how come the southern drawl is the only one that is worthy of ridicule? And on the point of intelligence, consider this situation:

      If I were to ask, "Why can't the black man from Georgia read?" and you were to say, "I don't know, why?" examine your reaction the following explanations. If I reply "duh, I told you he was from Georgia" everyone thinks it's funny and laughs. If I reply "duh, I told you he was black" I am a horrible racist and should be shunned.

      Why is making fun of someone for their place of birth any different from making fun of someone for their race? Neither can be controlled by that person.

      • Re:Pah! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by budicepenguin (897768) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @10:43AM (#14090736)
        "I still don't get why everyone in the country makes fun of the way southerners speak when there are so many screwed up dialects in this country. When you look at Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Louisiana (in the south, but a different accent near New Orleans) how come the southern drawl is the only one that is worthy of ridicule?"

        Those dialects do receive ridicule (chowdah, da bearz, gah-run-tee, etc.), the difference is that it appears to be more ridicule of particular aspects of the dialect itself as opposed to the people who speak it. As for why that is, I dunno. Maybe it's because "The South" has more of a reputation for doing more backwards things (like the aforementioned incest), for being more aggressive than other parts of the nation (Don't mess with Texas, anyone?), or maybe it's just holier-than-thou snobbery. Regardless, I think it's more a desire to make "racy" humor in a PC climate - jokes about whites are fine, but don't go near another race or suddenly you're a racist bigot, so people are forced to joke about a white "race," in this case, southerners.
      • Re:Pah! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Peter La Casse (3992)

        I still don't get why everyone in the country makes fun of the way southerners speak when there are so many screwed up dialects in this country. When you look at Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Louisiana (in the south, but a different accent near New Orleans) how come the southern drawl is the only one that is worthy of ridicule?

        Politics. Most Southern states are so-called "red states", so calling them "backwards" is an indirect way of calling Republicans backwards. For some reason, some people prefe

        • Re:Pah! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mrtrumbe (412155)
          What a load of shit. Somebody seems to have a persecution complex...

          I'm from a backwards area (the Upper Penninsula of Michigan--which happens to have the same type of accent as Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin--you know, derivatives of the Fargo accent). I can tell you that I don't call people from my home territory backwards because they are Republicans, I call them backwards because they are behind the times on many, many issues. Despite some great high schools in the UP, there is still a devastating

    • Re:Pah! (Score:3, Funny)

      by BemusedInBama (933105)
      As a native and resident of Alabama, I had originally intended to defend my home state. I thought I might point out Alabama is an incredibly diverse place full of smart people (think about NASA, UA Med School and Business School, etc.). Later, I thought it might be more effective to draw attention to your own shortcomings in writing the English language (It is Alabamians, and as a pronoun They should reference an already defined noun). Next, I thought I could point out the irony (and I don't mean the Ala
  • Look to the 'burbs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by josh.loomis (932579) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:20AM (#14089854)
    There are places on the fringe of major cities where a lot of intelligent, IT-inclined people hang their hats. Suburban areas probably have a lot of young minds that are willing and able to adapt to the ever-changing world of IT. Much better to 'source there than a foriegn country IMHO.
    • Um, the goal of this is to save money, I think. Farming out work to suburban folks is no less expensive than paying city workers. You're fishing from the same talent pool to a large degree. If you are going to outsource, you need to move far away from US cities, for a start.
  • by stupidfoo (836212) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:21AM (#14089864)
    It seems many of the better quality India based customer service companies have been hiring employees with little or no accent, so their English is very clear.

    The thing that annoys me now is that they're so damn polite. You give them your first name and they reply "Thank you. Thank you sir. Thank you for the information." To ask a question they start with "Sir, could I please ask you for the ...". It takes almost 3 times as long to have a conversation as it should. You can be polite, but also be quick.
    • by myth24601 (893486) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:54AM (#14090158)
      I was in the Dentist office yesterday and read a Business week article about how India's internal economy is booming so much now that it's getting harder to find and keep workers. This is leading to high turnover and making it tougher to outsource work there. I wish I had a URL but it was an early Nov. issue.

      This could mean that outsourcing might have peaked, at least for India.
    • Yeah. I had a cable modem go bad and they wouldn't give me a new one until I was referred by a tech. That meant I had to go through the standard telephone troubleshoot procedure, reset it, reboot, etc.

      While waiting for my machine to reboot, the tech says to me, out of the blue, "So Mr. Oni, do you like to play video games?"

      I busted out laughing. I guess there's a line in his script, "during uncomfortable silence: So Mr./Mrs. (Customer Name) do you like to play video games?"

      God, how lame.
    • Well, then I'm getting lots of Americans of Indian descent when I call for tech support, because they certainly haven't been through vocal training to loose their accents. Is that bad or objectionable? No, as long as we can understand each other enough to solve the problem I'm having.

      Then again, I suppose you could be right. The last two times I've called Dell, I've gotten TS reps with no disernable "foreign" accent, and yet they've been either (a) clueless or (b) outright wrong in their attepmts to repair
      • Lose, damnit. I saw it as I hit submit. Just add it to the list (like someone - one word). Someday I'll learn to look at the screen instead of the keyboard when I type.
    • You know what's worse? Calling Comcast or the local power company in an urban area. They answer your call and say "Yo bitch, gimme ur account digits now ... Fuck dis shitz - you be late on your payments fool ... We be slappin some late charges on yo ass." And you can barely understand them anyhow because its some girl named Ayisha that inflects her voice in weird ways, or some guy named Pablo that slurs his words all together.
  • by Douglas Simmons (628988) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:22AM (#14089871) Homepage
    On my last job, wirelessing an apartment and "dealing with" schlepping to a cheap Brooklyn store to buy the family a laptop plus a little de-spywaring, I got paid $600 cash money. Sure the work I did might be worth under $20 in sweat, but one extra-sharp demand in Manhattan is paying for trustworthiness. I've networked and have a reputation with clients for getting the job done and not stealing any silverware. Manhattan pays more not just because people can afford to, there is a greater demand to protect their assets. Got some nice silverware here. And some virgins. Err, withdrawn---got some silverware.
    • What does this have to do with outsourcing? Besides needing someone they can trust, it would have been really expensive for them to fly someone in from India to set up their wireless, etc. Even someone flown in from Indiana would probably be more expensive.

      Admit it, you just wanted to brag that you got paid $600 to be a glorified GeekSquad employee for a couple of hours.

  • It's really hard to keep young professional in small towns. Please from citys (which lets face it, most professionals are!) don't want to live in BFNW for more than a year or two. Additionally, at least in Canada, people are typically paid better in BFNW so as to give some insentive to move there.

    With this in mind, the article is probably FUD, it just doesn't make any sense to do this.
    • Texas is a great country, but unfortunately I couldn't find a decent job there (in Houston at least). I wanted to live in Houston for a number of reasons, but no matter what I couldn't get a job there. Upon graduation, I had several interviews for software development positions however nearly every one of them paid under $35,000. I'm sorry but that's just not enough money, even if Houston is a cheap place to live.

      I think a big part of the problem is that Compaq was just acquired by HP at the time I was lo

      • Upon graduation, I had several interviews for software development positions however nearly every one of them paid under $35,000.

        Dude, you may want to adjust your expectations a little... By your own admission, you just graduated, what did you expect? Big pay like the radio commercials for those fly by night "IT Training" houses? You know what I mean... "You can be making $60,000 per year in six months!"

        Even if you went to university and got bachelors AND Master's degrees AND already had some of the sk

        • I think his point is that he could get more than $35,000 from companies outside of Houston and therefor why should he settle for less?
    • It's really hard to keep young professional in small towns. Please from citys (which lets face it, most professionals are!) don't want to live in BFNW for more than a year or two. Additionally, at least in Canada, people are typically paid better in BFNW so as to give some insentive to move there.

      Do you know any young professionals? If so, you may want to ask one of them to proof your future submissions first...

  • No revolution here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by polv0 (596583) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:24AM (#14089893)
    "The biggest benefit is knowing that we're giving jobs to American workers, versus a foreign country,"

    This isn't sufficient motivation for US firms to rural-source, and neither are local accents or convenient time zones. The reason the programmer makes $100 in NYC is that they need to be there physically, to interface with a broader team, client, management, etc... If a job can be sourced to someone in a small town in America, 99% of the time it can be sourced to someone in India, for pennies on the dollar.
    • If a job can be sourced to someone in a small town in America, 99% of the time it can be sourced to someone in India, for pennies on the dollar.

      Well, outsourcing to rural America could also be to forestall any future backlash against outsourcing to other countries. Outsourcing is not so much in the spotlight now, but it probably will be again in the future. Then, they can say something to the effect of, "Yeah, we outsource some to India and China, but we also outsource to rural America. We are keeping

    • by bombadillo (706765) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:43AM (#14090050)
      Don't under estimate the importance of being in the same time zone. I've worked on projects with Americans over 5 hours difference. (Europe to America) It was still a challange to have Americans that once worked in the same office trying to coordinate over the timezones. I've also worked on projects with people in India. The greater the time difference the more overhead that's required to keep people syncronized. PM's get sucked into the whole "People working 24/7" thing. However, the PM's have never put in the work requried or hired additional PM's to keep those people on the same page. I would much rather work with someone in my own timezone. Realworld experience tells me that the labor may be cheap. However, the additional managment required ends up negating most of the bennefits.
    • Communication (Score:4, Insightful)

      by paranode (671698) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:56AM (#14090178)
      Not all jobs in IT are pounding on a keyboard producing code. Many (if not most) telecommuting jobs require a lot of communication via phone and other methods and people in India for the most part are not up to snuff. There are some (probably the better paid) that speak English decently but the accents and the vocabulary are difficult to overcome in any job that requires a lot of interpesonal communication.
    • by qwijibo (101731) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @10:03AM (#14090248)
      Sometimes out-of-pocket isn't the only cost that people are concerned with. Another advantage of rural outsourcing is that you can prosecute under US laws. I suspect this would be a big selling point for those who want to lower the costs related to processing medical data without assuming the liability if someone decides to ransom the data.
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <.ten.enilnotpo. .ta. .rehtorgw.> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:25AM (#14089896) Journal

    I'd give anything to be outsourced to someplace I'd want to live, say New Mexico, Northern California. I like making a lot of money, but it just doesn't go that far in New Jersey, where property taxes are out of control and there are just too many people. I'd take a pay cut to live in some place that was quieter, with a lower cost-of-living. And in this day-and-age of telecommuting, why not? I suspect it would save companies a fortune just by not having to have huge amounts of office space and the environment would certainly be served by getting a large number of commuters off the road.

    • by lowrydr310 (830514) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:50AM (#14090113)
      I live in New Jersey too, and it is out of control. Even in rural New Jersey (yes, just drive west on I-78 or 80 and you'll see rural NJ) everything such as food and homes are still extremely expensive.

      Magically when you cross the border into PA, everything becomes more reasonable. I'd love to live in Stroudsburg or Bethlehem, but I work just outside Manhattan. I can't handle 120 miles round trip daily. Perhaps two or three times a week would work (there are buses!), but not every day.

      I wish I could telecommute.


    • Find a university somewhere you want to live and work for them.

      I say that because 1.) it's what I just did, and 2.) there tend to be universities in the "middle of nowhere", where there's little to no crime, lots of bandwidth, low cost of living, inexpensive apartments / townhouses, and a higher standard of living (college towns usually have more sales and alcohol tax revenue than they know what to do with).

      I turned down $75k at network solutions because I'll be damned if I wanted to live in Dulles or Fairf


    • I'd take a pay cut to live in some place that was quieter, with a lower cost-of-living. ... I'd give anything to be outsourced to someplace I'd want to live, say New Mexico, Northern California.

      Boy, is that funny. If by 'cheaper' and 'Northern California' you mean some shack on the side of a mountain in the middle of the Sierra Nevada where it takes you 1 day by donkey to the nearest fire road ... then you might have a point. Otherwise, stick to New Jersey.

      Or better yet, look somewhere else that is just as
  • by newdamage (753043) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:25AM (#14089903) Homepage Journal
    I'm all for taking advantage of hiring in small town America (I live in Indiana for the record), and quite frankly not having to deal with insane traffic, pollution, and outrageous housing prices is very nice.

    But I think this firm might want to first invest in a website that looks like it was designed by more than a 16 year old with a "Learn HTML in 21 days!" book.

    But that's just me, thinking people base opinions of companies off of how their website looks.
  • by ecalkin (468811) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:25AM (#14089906)
    All jokes aside from the horrible english that americans sometimes use, I (and many people I know) have had it with trying to communicate with people whose first language is not english. They may have had the crash course in english, but it's still hard to understand.

        It's my understanding that one of the benefits of buying Dell stuff from the business unit (maybe only large bus) is that the tech support speaks real english. Maybe people are learning that sometimes a lower price is not all that it's cracked up to be.

    eric
  • Here would be nice [google.com]

    While I am 100% happy with my IT job in this lovely town of 2100, I could use a few more nerdy friends (bet my wife would just LOVE that!)
  • They really should (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:30AM (#14089946) Homepage
    I don't get why more companies don't do this. In small towns, you can pay people a lot less and still keep them really happy. When their house only costs $30000, you don't have to pay them $80000 a year to allow them to live comfortably. Also, it would allow more people to live in small towns. The only reason that many people live in cities is because of access to more jobs. I think if people had just as many opportunities to jobs while living in small towns, then they would live there.
    • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@nOSpaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:52AM (#14090132) Homepage
      The only reason that many people live in cities is because of access to more jobs.

      That is certainly not the only reason that most people live in cities. Cities are generally more interesting places to live, and I'd rather take a studio in NYC over a mansion in Nebraska.
      • With the cost of living difference between the two, you could afford to travel to the city to do exciting things. While at the same time, not having to put up with the "excitement" of the city all the time. Small towns are exciting, you just have to learn how to make them exciting.
    • by cens0r (655208)
      You don't think the culture of a large city has anything to do with it? I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma (30,000 people) that was the headquarters of a large corporation. They still keep the majority of their workers there because the costs are much cheaper than some place like Houston. However, I live in a big city (Seattle) now. Why? The first reason I moved was school. My wife wanted to go to graduate school, and it just so happens that more of the best schools in this country are near major p
  • skills? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by asv108 (141455) <alex@phata[ ]o.org ['udi' in gap]> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:32AM (#14089967) Homepage Journal
    I can see this working if you are looking to provide basic end user support, but good luck finding highly skilled technical people to move to the country for less money. In the past, I've been involved in trying to hire skilled workers to rural areas and its very difficult to find good people who are willing to move to remote areas.
    • There are indeed some of us skilled technical people that already live in rural areas of the country and willing to work for less money than those who live in major cities. I don't need $80,000 a year for a programmer position.
      • I don't understand this philosophy. Why are people willing to work for less money? The cost of living is lower, but do you work just to meet the cost of living?

        I moved from CA to AZ and make about 40% more here. I would like to live in a more rural environment, but I'm not willing to take a significant pay cut to do it.
        • Re:skills? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by skiman1979 (725635)
          I certainly do not want to simply meet the cost of living. If that's what I have to do, then that's what I have to do. My point was that it's not a paycut for someone that already lives in a rural area. If it costs me $35,000 a year to live comfortably in my rural home town, then I surely don't need $80,000 a year salary like some people may in the big cities. Since I already live in that rural area, it's not a pay cut for me to, say, take the same position as the person making $80,000 but work for $50,
  • by Pedrito (94783) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:33AM (#14089975) Homepage
    I moved to Arkansas from the Washington D.C. area several years ago. My plan was to find a job as a software developer here but after looking for quite a while, I couldn't find anything that really interested me. I ended up moving to Mexico where I knew I could find some work (and also the slow paced lifestyle I was looking for). I did some work for various companies for a while and after then was contacted by some old co-workers about some contract work. The only catch was I had to move back to the U.S. The good news was I didn't have to move back to the D.C. area, where they were based.

    So, I moved back to Arkansas and for 2 years I've been contracting out to one the largest software companies in the country. My rates are very competitive because my cost of living is far lower than what it would be in the D.C. area. I'm paying less for a large 3 bedroom house with a fenced in yard than I was paying for a small 2-bedroom apartment there. I get to have the slow-paced lifestyle that I was looking for and despite making less than I was in D.C., I'm saving quite a bit more.

    Our group is also outsourcing to a company India and I'm under the impression that my rates are actually fairly competitive with theirs. I suspect there are a large number of people in this area that would work for rates that would be impossible to find in the D.C. area or other larger cities.
    • For those of us that might want to do something similar (in another state), how much are you charging?
  • by jockeys (753885) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:34AM (#14089977) Journal
    As one such person, (one who has been hired to work in a small town away from any large metropolitan areas.) I have to say it's pretty nice. At first I was worried that the change in lifestyle from a big metroplex (DFW) to East Bumblefuck, TX would suck, but it's turned out to be a lot nicer than I thought. More relaxed pace of life, less pollution, etc. Yeah, I took a lower salary to do it, but I've found you can live pretty cheaply out here... you can live like a king for a grand a month. (nice apartment/rent house, utilities, fast internet, the rest of my bills, and food) Plus it's kinda nice to see something besides concrete during the drive to work. Definitely not as horrible as some /.ers are making it out to be. Nearly all of my fellow coders are competent and pleasant to work with. No stupid rednecks here, just like-minded people who enjoy life away from the booming metrop. and all the headaches it brings.
  • Rural outsourcing (Score:5, Informative)

    by guacamolefoo (577448) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:36AM (#14089989) Homepage Journal
    I note that Thomas Friedman talked about this in his book, "The World is Flat" where he discussed how, I believe, Southwest Airlines sent its booking to stay-at-home moms in Utah. They were stable, ad low turnover, the pay was good for them, and Southwest cut their costs fairly significantly.

    In addition, you are less likely to see unionization, you can sometimes farm out (heh!) work on a piece basis, reducing the benefits/workers comp/unemployment comp, etc.

    I live in a built-up area of PA. I grew up in the boonies. I have long considered the possibility of giving someone where I grew up a copy of Openoffice, a dialup account, and a computer so that I can email my dictation out there and have them send it back on a piece rate basis.

    I could probably save about 25-30% on my transcription costs.

    GF.
    • Re:Rural outsourcing (Score:2, Informative)

      by EPAstor (933084)
      Actually, it was JetBlue, and apparently they've done it from their founding - but the rest of the details are right. JetBlue refers to it as "homesourcing" - and Friedman holds it up as a perfect example of the positive domestic trends brought on by globalization.
      • You are correct - it is JetBlue, not Southwest. The details were a little foggy. I read the book a while back.

        I think that the development (outsourcing to remote areas) is a positive consequence in that it does allow wage arbitrage within the United States, which may help to reduce the pressure on urban areas as well as empower and enrich more remote communities where employment can be a hit or miss thing. Lose one of your majors, and the community suffers tremendously.

        By broadening the possible options for
  • by freshBlueO2 (753611) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:42AM (#14090037)
    $35-$50. I pretty much live in rural America, and Sykes only paid $7-8 on the average. $9-11 if you were a admin. This was the highest paying section, and these people were required to know how to tell a client to completly disassemble and reassemble a computer. That's between $14,500 - $16,600 annually Yet, in the state where I live, the supposed annual salary for a programmer was stated to be $50,000, when in actuallity it was more like $27,000. To make comparisons, the adjusted County income for this same area was stated: Very Low: $30,300 Low: $33,000 Moderate: ~$44,000 Median: ~$65,000 Forget Indiana. India is right here in America.
  • Now all our software will come with gunracks, "nekkid lady" sillouhette mudflaps, and singing bass easter eggs out the wazoo! I can't wait... ;P (It's a joke folks. Take a breath, relax and laugh. God knows there's enough jokes about New Yorkers and "City Bwahs". Sad that I have to put that in here to avoid people taking offense.)

  • Where does our broadband access rank us again? About 16th? Truth is, the IT infrastructure might be genuinely superior in India compared to Kissin' Cousin Township, Iowa.
    • I don't know about India but I have a friend that has a home in Elijay GA and they have DSL. My father has a second home in north, GA and has DSL. I have friends in Idaho that works for Dell and they have broadband and I have a friend that works for an ISP in Alaska. They run microwave links to some pretty remote villages to provide broadband. If the town has more than a few thousands then they will have broadband in the town. It is when you get out of towns that you tend to have problems. The other thing i
  • You know.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by craenor (623901) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @09:55AM (#14090164) Homepage
    Everyone wants the person who answers their Tech Support call to be a computer guru, but no one wants to pay extra for that privilege. The world has changed, the computer support model has changed.

    Dell is actually the only company I know that caters to this with their Gold Technical Support (an upsell added to the service contract for business customers). At a few jobs I have had to work with them, regular Dell business support and Dell Home support (India).

    Having worked with all of the choices, I would never hesitate to spend the extra money to get Dell's Gold Support. Even if I get a guy on the phone who isn't a "guru" he has access to someone who is. And, just about everytime I've called I've gotten either Dell headquarters in Round Rock, TX or somewhere in Idaho.
  • My wife and I moved from California to Sedona Arizona 7 years ago and we both feel that the greatly reduced income is OK given that the cost of living is less, the mountains are fine, hiking is great, etc.

    I love working out of a home office and telecommuting for various customers. There are diversions like helping my wife with shopping and cooking, walking my dog on the national forest service trails behind my house, etc. However, I find myself only working when I am really in the groove (or in the flow) an
  • "The World is Flat" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nyc_paladin (534862) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @10:14AM (#14090379)
    Finished reading 'The World is Flat' by Thomas L. Friedman http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312425074/104-96 58154-8360738?v=glance&n=283155&n=507846&s=books&v =glance [amazon.com] who actully talked about home sourcing by Jet Blue. About how instead of sourcing their customer support overseas they work with mothers who want to work and need to stay at home to take care of their kids. This just reminded me of that.
  • Works for us. (Score:3, Informative)

    by hal2814 (725639) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @10:22AM (#14090472)
    Our company moved from metro Atlanta to the Athens, GA area many moons ago. The reason was that we could get the unskilled workers we need very cheaply and they were happy to get the money we were paying. Keeping skilled workers is a constant battle since many of our staff live between Athens and Atlanta and often eventually defect to a job in Atlanta that pays a bit better.

    Personally, I enjoy living in a $120000 3500 sq ft home on 1.2 acres of land so I actually live a 20 minute commute from Athens in the other (non-Atlanta) direction. I also get spend my summer weekends on beautiful Lake Hartwell instead of the massively overcrowded Lake Lanier since Hartwell is now only a 20 minute drive (24 miles to the boat ramp I use).
  • Several years ago when I lived in Maryland I read a story about a phone soliciting company "out sourcing" its work to small towns in eastern Maryland rather than overseas. The company had to pull the work because the small town people were too rude and condescending. It appears that one advantage of using third world labor is that they know their place.
  • by olddotter (638430) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @10:24AM (#14090487) Homepage
    My wife knows some indians who moved back to Bangalore from the US. Their house in bangalore cost the same as their house in the US, and their commute to work doubled! I don't think IT professionals in India are much cheaper than $25 all things considered. Everything I hear about Bangalore is that its like the valley during the late 90's!


    That is a move from RTP, NC USA to Bangalore, India. RTP's cost of living is probably mid-way between NYC and BFE rural town pop. 600. A 2800 sqft house will run about $300,000 to $350,000. Don't expect a new house here for less than $300K but older smaller ones might be as cheap as $150K. Apartments run $700 to $1400 a month.


    I would be willing to move to a smaller city if I could take my IT job with me.

  • by An Ominous Cow Erred (28892) on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @01:01PM (#14092402)
    Specifically I live not very far from the Twin Falls, Idaho Dell facility mentioned in TFA (I even know some folks who work there.)

    The huge problem with this is that socially, rural America sucks. It's cheap to live here, but aside from skiing/snowboarding/whitewater (thank goodness this is Idaho and not Nebraska) there's really nothing to do for youngish geek-oriented people. It's simply not fun to be here unless you are religious and/or enjoy cowboy-type stuff. ESPECIALLY if you're single.

    The social scene in a city is far better suited to IT workers. That's why they want to live there -- not just for the jobs.

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