• 3,000 firms
  • Independent
  • Trusted
Save up to 70% on staff

Home » Podcast » From Upwork Freelancer to Employer of 350 Staff – with Harold Rey Ladaran of SPLACE BPO

From Upwork Freelancer to Employer of 350 Staff – with Harold Rey Ladaran of SPLACE BPO

In this podcast episode, Derek Gallimore spoke with Harold Ray Ladaran, the CEO and Founder of SPLACE BPO, based in Davao City, Philippines.

Harold started his journey from working in a call center. SPLACE is now expected to reach 500 headcount by the end of the year. 

Harold’s Upwork journey

Harold shared his journey from working in a call center in the Philippines to becoming a successful freelancer on Upwork. 

He highlighted his transformation from a newcomer to a top-rated plus freelancer, emphasizing the significance of building a strong portfolio and acquiring various credentials to attract clients.

The CEO mentioned his initial challenges: “I started from scratch and was sending proposals as nobody because I didn’t have credentials yet. When I got my first client, it was my ‘break it or make it deal.’”

Additionally, Harold discussed the Upwork badge system, saying.

Get 3 free quotes 2,300+ BPO SUPPLIERS

“On Upwork, there’s this thing they call a badge, either top-rated or rising talent or top-rated plus. The more credentials you acquire through your total hours of work and earnings, the more you get client traffic.” 

He proudly mentioned that he achieved the “top-rated plus” badge, signifying the highest level of recognition on the platform at the time.


Building a brand from scratch

Harold’s business started in 2017. He had no idea his venture would grow into what it is today. 

The CEO recalled, “My client started investing in my services when they saw my potential to facilitate a team and hire people within our area.”

From there, Harold’s reputation grew online. “When I gradually got my reputation online, that’s when I started marketing as well, and I started building the brand.” 

“We are focusing on the customer service niche, virtual assistant services, telemarketing, omni channel ecommerce support, and web development, both front and back end.”

Get the complete toolkit, free

Balancing home and office work

The SPLACE CEO said they offer work-from-home options for clients who prefer that setup.  However, Harold acknowledged that not all jobs could be done remotely, particularly telemarketing.

He expressed his concern about attrition in remote work settings.

“I’ve seen a lot of attrition from our end caused by not hitting the target.”

He attributed this issue to the work environment at home. Employees “tend to sleep because they’re near their beds.”

Challenging misconceptions about Philippine labor costs

Harold shared insights on addressing common misconceptions when dealing with clients in the outsourcing industry.

Harold said, “They think that the Philippines has a cheap lifestyle and a low cost of living, and they believe we don’t deserve to charge as much as at least $8 per hour.”

He explained his approach to proposing services: “I propose our services based on what they can get on top of what they are paying us.”

The CEO emphasized that when clients pay an hourly or fixed rate, they cover manpower costs. 

However, he added value to his proposals by offering office-based setups, support managers, account managers, and a comprehensive package with operational support.

Expanding beyond Davao

The CEO desires to venture beyond Davao but still in Mindanao, considering locations like Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon. 

His expansion strategy is rooted in a unique concept. 

Harold explained, “I do not want to compete in saturated markets like Cebu and Metro Manila. I want to provide different opportunities in areas many BPOs have not yet explored.”

Harold’s primary objective is to offer appealing jobs to people in these relatively untapped regions. 

The founder aims to provide attractive job opportunities to employees so they will return to their original hometowns or cities.

He believes this approach could benefit residents and those who migrated to larger cities for better avenues. 

AI vs. Human touch in customer calls

Harold shared his perspective on the topic, emphasizing the power of AI models. He said, “I researched that, and yes, it’s a very powerful model.”

The CEO concluded that while AI models were powerful in interaction, the crucial elements of logic and empathy were often lacking. 

AI vs. Human touch in customer calls
AI vs. Human touch in customer calls

He stated, “With the interaction, I believe AI could do it. But with the logic and the empathy there. I think empathy is something I hadn’t seen yet from all AI models.” 

Connect with Harold or learn more about SPLACE through their social media websites, like Facebook, the company’s website, LinkedIn, and Upwork.

Get Inside Outsourcing

An insider's view on why remote and offshore staffing is radically changing the future of work.

Order now

Start your
journey today

  • Independent
  • Secure
  • Transparent

About OA

Outsource Accelerator is the trusted source of independent information, advisory and expert implementation of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

The #1 outsourcing authority

Outsource Accelerator offers the world’s leading aggregator marketplace for outsourcing. It specifically provides the conduit between world-leading outsourcing suppliers and the businesses – clients – across the globe.

The Outsource Accelerator website has over 5,000 articles, 450+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 3,900+ BPO companies… all designed to make it easier for clients to learn about – and engage with – outsourcing.

About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.

“Excellent service for outsourcing advice and expertise for my business.”

Learn more
Banner Image
Get 3 Free Quotes Verified Outsourcing Suppliers
3,000 firms.Just 2 minutes to complete.
Learn more

Connect with over 3,000 outsourcing services providers.

Banner Image

Transform your business with skilled offshore talent.

  • 3,000 firms
  • Simple
  • Transparent
Banner Image