Elance and Odesk are my top two preferred freelance websites. I like them both because I get a large number of quality responses to every job I post. I give a slight advantage to Elance over Odesk because they have a better user interface. In fact, Elance has my highest rating for ease of use out of all other freelance sites. I find it very easy to compare Elancers side by side, review candidate messages, and take notes.
Tip for higher quality candidates and proposals:
When you create a free job post on Elance, add your credit card number to your account. When you do this, a Payment Verified Seal will appear next to your job post, which indicates to contractors that you are more serious about the job and results in higher quality candidates and proposals.
I also prefer Elance because they’ve been around a long time and have many safeguards to protect employers and employees. A few points worth noting:
- BBB Accredited Business since 2003
- Over 1.8 million registered contractors
- Over 850,000 jobs posted each year
- They have a work guarantee and escrow service that ensures you only pay for work completed on fixed price jobs.
- They have Workrooms which enable real-time collaboration and maintain a secure log of all communications which protects both sides.
- You can setup milestones to track progress against deliverables for fixed price projects. Milestones helps define deliverables, keeping everything on track, within deadlines and within budget.
Many Staffing Companies Use Elance
My Elance postings often result in more bids from staffing companies than on other websites, but that isn’t all bad (and there is a setting when posting a job to exclude agencies – image below).
The benefit of working with an overseas staffing company is that they hire and screen their own employees. Just be sure to interview the person who will actually be working for you. And just because they’re pre-screened, don’t let that stop you from doing your own test assignment as some duds will still make it through. Another benefit of a staffing company is if you hire someone for a long term assignment, they’ll often help replace the freelancer if they leave or don’t work out.
The downside to a staffing company is that they need to charge a little more than the contractor might charge themselves. That said, in emerging markets you can still get a great deal working through a staffing agency. And there are plenty of individual Elancers you can hire directly as well.
Because Elance is the most popular freelancing website, it’s really easy to reach a wide range of contractors. They are so popular in fact that the term “Elancer” has become synonymous with freelancer. I usually get more responses to my job posts than any other site, although I’ve noticed that Odesk bids tend to come in a little quicker, but that may have just been for the specific jobs I’ve posted.