Elance Reviews

Editor's Rating
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Editor’s Review

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.

When I create a new job post, I’ll usually put it on both Elance and Odesk when I start my search.  If I don’t find the candidate I’m looking for, then I’ll drop down to other sites.

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 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:

  1. BBB Accredited Business since 2003
  2. Over 1.8 million registered contractors
  3. Over 850,000 jobs posted each year
  4. They have a work guarantee and escrow service that ensures you only pay for work completed on fixed price jobs.
  5. They have Workrooms which enable real-time collaboration and maintain a secure log of all communications which protects both sides.
  6. 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).

Elance employer job posting: setting to exclude agenciesThe 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.

Elance Reviews2.7517
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14 Elance Reviews

Miranda August 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm
Freelance Site Rating

As a freelancer, I find a lot of these sites to be somewhat disappointing, since it encourages you to get in a bidding war — cutting your rates to “win” the job. Then, of course, the marketplace takes its cut of what is already a lower rate than you would like. Of course, if you just want work, and you are interested in finding one stop for lots of potential jobs, a freelance marketplace can be a place to start. However, while you can parlay some work into long-term assignments that can work well, overall it’s difficult for me to get excited about these types of sites.

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ddiy August 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Thanks for your thoughts Miranda! And I can certainly understand your perspective that once a freelancer has a client base and can go direct, they will make more money.

Of course, from an employer perspective a bidding war and cheap programmers, web designers, writers, etc, is actually a great thing! I’ve hired several quality people on Elance (at reasonable rates) and have been very pleased with my experiences.

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James August 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm
Freelance Site Rating

I am quickly finding all these sites suffer with the same problem – the pay is way, way, way too low. The work is obviously aimed at workers from developing countries as no westerner could take on work for about 1 dime an hour. Bidding wars just kill my enthusiasm for applying for work. I am a professional, not a child playing games with my career.

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Costa August 14, 2013 at 11:10 am

I can only confirm that. If you have to make living in a developed country (I’m willing to include the US in my case) from my (limited and disappointing) experience to get a project as a freelancer on those websites like Elancer.com are an offence (to say the least). In a globalized world, those sites favor freelancers from developing countries (mostly India) that can charge as low as it gets. I recall an advertisement from a guy in Nepal, who was charging 3 Dollars an hour.
That doesn’t sound like a lot to me, actually it wouldn’t be enough to get me a coffee in Panera Bread, but I’m pretty sure in a country like Nepal those 3 bucks these guy was charging are quite something. Off course from an employers perspective it is more then evident that somebody would be delighted with those insulting prices.
Well that’s what we in the West signed in. Capitalism is a system that favors those who can deliver with the lowest prices. It actually worked fine for us, as long as we weren’t in the lower end of the food chain

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Larry @ Side Income Blogging August 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm
Freelance Site Rating

I used Elance frequently when I first started by Empty Cabin Media development business. I do agree, the rates are way too low especially once the frees are taken BUT if you’re looking to get into business for yourself, it’s a great way to get started. What I did was start on Elance just to get some work going. Via references and my business website gaining traffic, I began getting additional work outside of Elance at higher rates.

Now, as an owner for a few blogs and a blog development business, I often use Elance to outsource portions of my development work, namely graphics work as I prefer to do the programming and development myself. I don’t however need to use Elance to get work for myself.

One important aspect to keep in mind is that some people you work with will be great, others won’t. Remember the ones that are great, and use them for future work. Do so over time, and you’ll end up with a good portfolio of people to work with.

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Brett September 4, 2012 at 7:14 pm
Freelance Site Rating

I like Elance. Although as Miranda stated in the first comment I wouldn’t like it if I was going there to find freelance gigs. I use it strictly for hiring.

One of the key advantages of working through Elance versus hiring someone on Craigslist is that as the hiring person you get regularly updated screenshots from the desktop your freelancers are working on. Another advantage is that there’s integration with PayPal so making payments is hassle free. I recently put out a new ad for a freelance writer and hired someone within 2 hours. Not bad.

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Renbue September 28, 2012 at 11:13 am
Freelance Site Rating

We have used Elance on multiple occasions to hire contractors over the past nine months. We typically will post a job on Guru first. If we cannot find the quality, skills or talents that we are seeking, then we fall back on Elance. Rarely have we had to resort to other options and quite frankly the other sites have not impressed us. Elance has been great….excellent talent at great rates.

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thatoneguys September 30, 2012 at 1:59 am
Freelance Site Rating

Ok,

Most of the projects are LVA (Low-value added). Lot’s of data entry, article spinning etc. No, for the most part, this isn’t the place to go if you’re a world-class freelancer (though there are a few really high earners on elance) but if you’re looking to make some side money doing easy work, its a pretty good site.

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Sam Ogastine October 22, 2012 at 7:17 am
Freelance Site Rating

We have done some work thru Elance, and we found that the clients we get through Elance were not trust worthy Elance do not have a way of securing the contractor. Only few earn money as they quote peanuts.

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joel soetendorp December 14, 2012 at 4:02 am
Freelance Site Rating

With Elance there s something I call the 10 job pain barrier.
Do 10 jobs and people can see your works not bad and you’re not a bot or farmer. Don’t get put off by seo crap jobs at a dollar a piece the good work is out there.

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Paunovic March 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm
Freelance Site Rating

I recently started working on Elance as well. 3rd job and boom. What happened is that I closed the deal for project which value was 1150$, completed it after few days, sent binaries to my client. Client was satisfied and released 650$ milestone, and I was waiting for more than 3 months for 500$ one. Needless to say, I never got 500$ milestone to my account. After several attempts to contact my client, he got banned from Elance due to suspicious activities. I marked project as completed, and told to myself “what the hell, I got 650$/1150$, he got banned, life goes on”.

Now, what happened 2 MONTHS after project was marked as completed is that client issued chargeback statement over his bank, and money got instantly deducted from my account by Elance, without any questions asked or rights to speak for myself. Not that only got scammed by client, but Elance provided ZERO protection to me and deducted 650$ from my balance, effectively locking up my account for any further withdrawals, because I had a bit less than 650$ on account at that moment.

So, yeah, those things can happen, which I never thought are possible. 2 months after project completion and getting money on my account, they just locked it up and returned back to client without any questions asked to me. Fully functional project, including sources, full conversation in Elance message board between me and client from which is perfectly clear that he is satisfied with project and is avoiding to pay, and his account terminatin by Elance are obviously not three enough good reasons for Elance to fill proper rebuttal to the bank.

I tried to contact their support, explaining the situation, and I got generic copy/paste message to every message that I’ve sent to them. I’ve been working for more than 2 years over various freelance sites, but Elance definitely has worst TOS and support to their freelancers.

So TLDR: BEWARE OF ELANCE SCAMMERS. THERE ARE PLENTY OTHER SITES AROUND THAT OFFER PROPER TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND PROTECTION TO THEIR FREELANCERS.

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Alan May 30, 2013 at 7:48 pm
Freelance Site Rating

Hi – I run a web design & development business and the biggest problem I have with the freelance websites I have tried, is the number of times projects have failed because the developer either didn’t have the skills/experience they advertised – or because they don’t bother to read the spec. Contrary to some comments above, price is NEVER my #1 – it is reliability. I need to be confident of the usual – quality, time, cost; too many freelancers are chancers, many seem to bid blindly for all jobs in the hope they will get some money. Then you finally get shown something which is just not usable. Elance is a very functional site, but very bad in one respect – you can’t place feedback on cancelled job, so poor developers (and buyers) have their worst projects hidden when you are evaluating them. Big risk.

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Jason June 11, 2013 at 10:18 pm
Freelance Site Rating

The only thing that eLance really has going for it is the UI. It is a crap shoot picking a good freelancer. I stay away from developing county bids, but they get through anyway. It would seem as though they have figured out how to trick eLance into believing that they are in the US even though they are located in another country.

I have had transcription work done with no problems, but that is a fairly straight forward job. Graphic design is a lot harder. Many eLancers don’t have portfolios, or just copy and past a canned bid. I am “working with” a guy supposedly from Texas. His portfolio is great, but, I am sure he is actually in Indonesia and he hasn’t replied to my queries in 4 days. If only I was a graphic artist, I would do the work myself.

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Marco June 14, 2013 at 8:42 pm
Freelance Site Rating

There are a few issues with this kind of websites. First of all, I had business account and had my employees sign-up to be able to distribute work. But then one of my guys created his own personal account and Elance closed basically all accounts. Even if my account and also their accounts was verified, they ignored it and suspended all accounts. When you have tons of projects done and all with 5 stars ratings, to get this kind of treatment is very harsh. The website UI was not bad. Also the biggest issue is that the freelancing websites are limiting you with the hourly payments and makes your client feel like paying bills. The truth is that he is basically getting solutions from you and the money he pays is an investment into his own solution. Thank you.

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