A topic that is often revisited in Search-related forums is how to pick the right SEO company. This is a subject that would fit just as easily in other industries' forums, as business owners are constantly wrestling with how to best pick service-providing vendors. Since SEO is still a relatively new field in consulting, it is possible to find people that may seem to know as much about the subject as others, but in fact are lost in tactics that were successful years or even months ago and no longer carry much value.
A recent thread at Cre8asite Forums started with a member asking how to find a good SEO in the Denver area. Moderator Bill Slawski (bragadocchio) started off by suggesting local resources such as the Denver-area Craigslist. He also asked exactly what he was looking to accomplish, which is an important question to help determine of the need to outsource actually exists.
Li Evans (storyspinner) ads a good point, agreeing with Bill that looking local first may be the best method for finding someone you can work with face-to-face.
Have you contacted your local Chamber of Commerce? …Being from a small town upbringing I'm a big proponent of using local folks - sometimes the best people aren't the biggest or the priciest. A lot of time you can really find a "diamond in the rough"
If someone is worried about getting into SEO, it is best to try and schedule a face-to-face meeting in order to get a feel for the vendor that may prove priceless. Naturally, if your account is only going to generate a few hundred dollars a month, the likelihood of the vendor visiting from afar is much lower. The Digital Point thread goes on for quite a few posts and was rejuvenated in early December with some more interesting observations. Highly worth a read, and it includes some links to some other good resources and sites about the outsourcing SEO.