How does this benefit your startup? You can take advantage of offshore programmers that can code PHP as well as any seasoned veteran in country. The thing that many people do not realize about programming is that what it is an American on the keyboard typing the lines of code or an Indian national, both can achieve the same results.
Right about now I'm sure there are lots of alarms going off in your head. But Jon, you say, what about communicating with them? What if they don't understand me?
As with any employee, the key to working with a programmer is communication. If they do not understand you they will never build what you want them to build. This goes for Americans, Canadians, Russians, Indians - you name it. If you can safely assume that the programmer will understand you, the next question that arises is, "if there are two programmers of equal skill, why should I hire the more expensive one?"
I've heard many answers to this question, but none of them made sense. One person told me that he wanted to speak to his programmers during daylight hours. Another told me that he wanted to be able to look over his programmers shoulder as he was coding. I just laughed at that last one. I have never met a programmer who would allow any of his clients to give him up-to-the-minute direction on his efforts. Does the auto mechanic let you look over your shoulder as he works on your engine? I seriously doubt that.
As with any project, whether you're building a new bathroom, having your car worked on, or building website, everything hinges on the project manager. If you have a good project manager, he will take responsibility for making sure that your project is exactly as you asked for it. It is his job to manage the resources who are creating the project and deliver a finished project. At iScripts.com, I am one of those people. My job is to take the request whether verbally or written or scribbled on a napkin and turn that into a startup.This is the benefit of working with iScripts.com, we are a hybrid company. US project management with technical experts in southern India.
Of course I wasn't always as good at this as I am now. There was an entire learning period that anyone goes through whenever they are new to something. This is called the learning curve and the learning curve for creating startups is sharp. If there is an error, someone has to pay for it whether it's the client, the business, or the poor guy who has to stay up late coding it the day before the deadline.
In summary, clear communication to the person who is developing your website will get you exactly what you asked for, and if you are specific enough with your requests you can take advantage of reduced development rate from an offshore developer.