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Elance Review

Elance, like all other companies was started from an idea. The idea presented itself through a Harvard Business Review article published in either 1998 or 1999 by Professor Tom Malone. That article was titled “The Dawn of the Elance Economy.” It spoke on how the Internet would one day change much more than just e-commerce, but how it would change the work field entirely. Beerud Sheth who was attending MIT created a business plan, managed to gather funding, pitch the plan and initially receive financing from angel investors Ram Charan and John Doerr from Kliener, Perkins. The website launched immediately in 1999, said to have been at the time similar to how the eBay platform works. The Company has had its ups and downs, but today it’s utilized by more than 500,000 businesses and over 700,000 freelancers per year.

The Product/Features

Elance is the product, available in many countries with online access. It’s currently the number one website for outsourcing work in various fields to freelancers. Those fields include everything from IT & Programming to Legal as you can see from the above screenshot. Freelancers can also apply for jobs without having to leave their homes, work when they want, and set their own hourly or fixed price rate per job. The features include the below…

  • an easy to navigate platform used to outsource or find work

  • scheduling meetings with clients or contractors

  • keeping track of payments

  • setting specific timing for completion of work

  • And more!

Signup on the website is also free and freelancers get a good amount of credits with the basic free membership. There are paid memberships which increase benefits. Freelancers use credits to bid and submit proposals for jobs, if they run out and have a paid membership they’re allowed to purchase additional credits. This might be one downfall of Elance because many freelancers use up to 5 credits at a time to bid for one job and if they’re rejected the job, they still lose the credits.

The Target

Freelancers located in the USA, Canada, Australia, and UK searching for a way to earn a considerable income online has found a home at Elance. So have contractors and entrepreneurs searching for talented individuals. Many online freelancers have been able to walk away from stressing 9 to 5 jobs right into their own highly profitable freelance with a constant work flow. Business owners and online entrepreneurs have referenced Elance as a one-stop-shop for all their needs. Working as a freelancer can be stressing when dealing with difficult to please clients.

Posting a job as a contractor on Elance is easy, but you’d have to be very specific with the type of job you’re hiring for. Elance does remove non-specific posts for jobs quickly. The contractor should always take into consideration the feedback of freelancers before hiring. Contractors also run into problems with freelancers claiming to be skillful in areas they’re not. If the freelancers and contractors can avoid stressful situations and untruthfulness they should do well in using the services provided by and through Elance.

Main Benefits

-Freelancers use the basic free service to see if Elance is a good fit for them.

-After testing the service freelancers can upgrade to membership if wanting more bid credits to obtain greater chances at securing jobs.

-No boss, freelancers are in control of their own destiny on the website.

-Great pay! The top freelancers average $6000-$24,000 monthly, yes really!

-Promotion, freelancers can build their client base and branch off on their own if they wish to discontinue using Elance services.

-Contractors can find professionals in all fields of work

-Contractors save money through outsourcing

Pricing

The above screenshots provide information into the pricing and membership plans. Many freelancers choose to start off using the basic free membership, but eventually they all find themselves upgrading to a paid membership. The pricing is fair for the plans considering the website offers the best opportunities to be hired by over 500,000 companies and individuals looking to outsource work to the pros. The problem that most freelancers on the website have is the 8.75% fee Elance takes from every completed job, but for others doing well it’s nothing.

Another downfall for Elance would be that they’ve recently started charging $1 per additional bid purchased. This comes as a problem because some contractors may post a job just to receive a price quote. Freelancers will use credits to bid on a job, but the contractor will never hire or cancel the job. When a job is canceled all bid credits are returned to the freelancers who’ve bid, but none-awarded jobs can linger open for many months should the contractor choose.

Customer Support

Unlike many businesses today, Elance as an online company has an outstanding customer service system in place. Clients and freelance workers can always find information in the help section, contact customer service reps via an 800# or on-site chat. If any problems arising cannot be settled within the freelancer and client, both parties have options to file a dispute and allow a third party from Elance to determine the outcome. It doesn’t take long for a dispute to be settled and both parties are given up to 5 days to present additional information or respond.

Elance is fair when settling any disputes, but encourages contractors and freelancers to try to settle it amongst themselves initially.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

-Over 500,000 employment opportunities with businesses of all sizes and entrepreneurs

-Free to start…free to continue

-Freelancers set their own price for every job accepted

-Payments can be transferred to bank account or mailed, they arrive fast.

-Being able to network with many businesses and people in various fields.

-Funding of jobs with escrow service before work begins

Cons:

-Too much competition, some willing to work at the cheapest rates.

-Bids run out too quickly, some jobs require up to 4 or more credits to bid.

-Price increase to $1 per additional bids purchased

-Dealing with difficult clients and avoiding negative feedback

-Contractors not awarding jobs freelancers have bid on.

-Some contractors not making payments.

-Elance 8.75% fee taken per completed job.

-Contractors leaving negative feedback which hurts the freelancer’s reputation and chance of survival on the website.

Overall Verdict: A-

Elance is the top freelance website currently, but like any business it still has some flaws. Many of the top freelancers manage to bring in a good monthly income, while there are others who never land any jobs. Having a portfolio present on the website does enhance ones chances of finding work because it provides contractors with assurance they can handle specific jobs. Contractors are also able to view feedback of freelancers before hiring, and freelancers are also able to view contractor’s feedback before bidding which should eliminate any possible disputes. It also takes new to site freelancers quite a while before landing a job because many contractors now base their hiring entirely on feedback. If Elance would lower its 8.75% fee per job that would make many freelancers happier with their services.

Securing excellent feedback truly does place the freelancer in the best position to be hired by contractors, without that, one wouldn’t last long on the website.

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Elance Review - Overview

Elance Review

Member's grade =
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Price: Varies

Overall Verdict: A-

Elance is the top freelance website currently, but like any business it still has some flaws. Many of the top freelancers manage to bring in a good monthly income, while there are others who never land any jobs. Having a portfolio present on the website does enhance ones chances of finding work because it provides contractors with assurance they can handle specific jobs. Contractors are also able to view feedback of freelancers before hiring, and freelancers are also able to view contractor’s feedback before bidding which should eliminate any possible disputes. It also takes new to site freelancers quite a while before landing a job because many contractors now base their hiring entirely on feedback. If Elance would lower its 8.75% fee per job that would make many freelancers happier with their services.

Securing excellent feedback truly does place the freelancer in the best position to be hired by contractors, without that, one wouldn’t last long on the website.