1. Careers
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

Allena Tapia

Thoughts on Elance.com

By February 6, 2008

Follow me on:

If you're not familiar with contract bid sites such as Elance.com, they are simple to understand. Basically, I like to describe them as an "Ebay for services." A potential employer posts a project, and providers (such as freelance writers) bid on finishing the project, highlighting their qualifications.

Writers tend to have various opinions about these kinds of bid sites. I've encountered many people who have no interest in using them, and hold that the wages are awful. On the other hand, my personal experience with them has been positive. I never dip below my set fee structure, and still usually find one or two projects a month who are willing to pay what I ask. One thing that seems to draw me to them is how quickly I can pick up work to fill out my schedule. Often, when a writer applies for freelance jobs through freelance writing job lists and other resources, you wait weeks or even a month or two for a project to begin. Bid sites generally feature quck turnaround.

If you are a beginning freelancer, I feel that bid sites are a good place to start. What is your experience with them?

February 7, 2008 at 12:57 pm
(1) Lili says:

Elance is great, they have great projects. However a lot of buyers put their project on more than one site and that makes it hard to win something. When you’re new to freelancing as well, it’s hard to get people to notice you, no matter what your qualifications are.

February 7, 2008 at 4:15 pm
(2) Jennifer says:

I have been using Elance since September, with some success. Some of the asking rates ARE ridiculous (1$ per article for 50 articles? LOL). And one of my frustrations is that so many projects are never offered to anyone-they are just a waste of a connect. With these, if I am really interested in the project, I will usually wait four days and PMB the buyer, expressing that I am still interested and just want to follow up. Usually, no one responds, but a few times, I have had people write back that they found a writer elsewhere but would be interested in keeping me on a shortlist for future projects. But the jobs I have had have all been positive experiences, and for building a portfolio, Elance is a great option because of the variety. It’s a good chance to try out lots of different types of work, as well.

November 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm
(3) John Lyman says:

I agree with many of the comments here; everyone seems to have good points to make. Allena is correct in saying that you can get one or two good projects a month; I agree but to a point. It depends on how to introduce yourself to the employer. And I have found it’s a good idea to seriously use a wide variety of prospecting sources. Anyone who relies on Elance a lot (and doesn’t want to write (20) 500 word articles for $5) will be very frustrated very quickly.
I agree with Ann. Build up networks. Interact with people. Try other sites if that’s the way you want to go. There are so many ways to connect with people who will hire you these days, don’t just rely on Elance. Make a sensible prospecting plan and work the plan! And you don’t necessarily have to dump Elance either, but don’t spend too much time on it. You’ll wish you hadn’t.

February 10, 2008 at 10:17 pm
(4) Ann says:

I have been freelancing full time since 2005. Before that, I had put in 12 years as a writer and editor with a trade magazine. I was able to make a go of it full time because of my contacts and my knowledge. I looked at elance and was horrified. It may be great for a kid right out of college, or someone with minimal experience, but for a full fledged writer it’s appalling. The fees being offered are for the most part laughable, and I can’t believe that anyone could possibly make a living taking those sorts of jobs. It it doesn’t pay at least 50 cents a word, or $60 an hour, I won’t consider it.

Build up your networks. Interact with people. Bidding on pitiful jobs isn’t the way to make a living as a freelancer.

January 27, 2011 at 11:37 am
(5) Izzy says:

I retired from my job 7 months ago and moved overseas. I am recieving a Pension but could use some extra money. I have always had good writing and editing skills and would therefore like to find some p/t writing jobs.

Is there anything you could recommend, other then elance?


February 11, 2008 at 1:31 am
(6) Matt Briggs says:

I have just started using eLance. I’ve been a contract writer for the last eight years with the occasional full time job. I have been interested in trying my hand at freelancing, party because my last couple of jobs have been pretty close to this. I follow your site and the advice seems pretty good to me, and you mentioned a while back that bid sites, eLance in particular, were a good way to start.

To be honest working at eLance has been horrible. I have finally managed to get some work but the pay is nothing near what I would require if I were to actually depend on freelance for my bread and butter. I am making about nine dollars an hour. I have lost proposals that are just silly. The people I’ve worked with have been pretty sketchy in terms of their requirements and they are kind of looking for some instant magic nearly no wages.

In one lost bid, someone paid a writer 2,000 dollars to ghost write a 80,000 word book. This is easily a three or four month full-time proposition. I know because I’ve published four books. Publishers sometimes pay writers 10,000 plus royalties for a quickie book on a hot topic. This might result in a 45-50K word book generated from primary sources. Someone mentioned the 1 dollar for an SEO article. That’s right. There are a ton of pitches out there for SEO articles at 10 dollars an article. What is weird, is that these contracts are awarded.

When I started winning bids it was more out of a desire to see how it worked. At nine dollars an hour I would be better served doing just about anything else. I just worked the estimate for a job that was posted for 500 dollars at eLance. It would take 85 hours. At a 60 dollar an hour rate, this is about 5,000 dollars. (In my region modestly experienced writers can get contract work that pays 40+ per hour. With the indie-mark up you are looking at 60+ to reach the same hourly rate.) The posting was asking for bids below 500 dollars, which is only 10% of what it should cost. What is amazing to me is that this person will find someone to take them up on it.

I can’t figure it out really. Either people are filling in work as you mention here. Or they are finding side work to do during other work, in essence getting paid twice — but this doesn’t seem ethical to me. Or they live somewhere and in a situation that has a very low cost of living (i.e., second income, government health insurance, and low rent costs.) Or it’s a sequence of golden handcuff deals where writers just can’t deliver, but whoever has contracted them is in for it after they have started.

Largely though I am coming to the conclusion that eLance is a pretty low-grade service and is in fact destructive to the practice of freelance writing. Good writing requires time and concentration — and there is some cost to this. It is impossible to offer good service through eLance because freelancers are competing with such unrealistic demands since they are looking at paying 10% of what it really costs to write this stuff.

This is frustrating, really, because the idea of eLance is solid. I wish there was a more stringent service that was perhaps more difficult for writers to get listed in — that could match serious clients with serious writers. You’d think the Society for Technical Communicators would offer something like this. My thought is writing talent if it were managed the way Acting Talent is managed through Screen Actors Guild, that it would work well to at least verify a writer’s means and method. From the outside writing may seem glamourous, but in practice, it is work. A good end-user manual or article requires research, clear writing, editing, copy editing, and document production skills.

(After all, how can a writer really do afford to anything except copy and paste if they are paying paid a dollar or even as much as 10 bucks for an article?)

May 18, 2011 at 11:50 am
(7) S says:

great comments and good information. Maybe you should start the website for professional writers?

happy freelancing.

September 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm
(8) Elnaz says:

I Agree! Elance is the worst experience I have ever had in the past 2 years. There is no protection for the contractor.

November 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm
(9) Elance Contractor says:

As bad as Elance might be, it is a goldmine compared with oDesk.

I did freelance writing and other services there for about 2 years. An absolutely frustrating experience. You would be extremely lucky to get even $10 an article there.

Right before I gave up on that site, it had become standard practice for buyers to post writing job descriptions that contained bold print stating something such as “WILL NOT HIRE IF YOU BID MORE THAN $3 per hr!!!” This was often for keyword rich, SEO friendly, 500 word articles that they expected you to both research and write in about 30mins.

And that was not the worst. Many times they asked for $1 per hour or less. Nothing more than an online sweatshop.

But, I should be commenting on Elance, not oDesk. So I will just say it is not the worst you can do. If you are looking to make the same salary that you would working offline and in a company office, then you will likely be disappointed unless your are very luck or very well connected with great clients. If you don’t have any other options, or, if you are looking to make a little cash on the side, then you might actually enjoy the experience.

As you will quickly learn, it is the same as any other outsourcing gig. Whether it be to telecommuters within the US or to workers in low cost of living countries, companies and individuals alike outsource in order to get what they want at a cheap price. That is it in a nutshell.

February 11, 2008 at 9:16 am
(10) kcwriter says:

I quit using elance after having a client who wanted my bank account number to deposit payment. I refused to give the client my bank account number and elance didn’t do anything about it. I’ve landed a few projects on the site, but it seems like the clients are looking for cheap labor. The rates are ridiculously low and frankly I can’t stand writers who would work for such low rates. Cheap writers lower respectability for the craft.

February 11, 2008 at 9:51 am
(11) freelancewrite says:

Hmm, I am looking at my project calendar and finding the following jobs were a result of Elance: editing curriculum materials for a small publisher- $80 per hour. Three hour rewrite of 5 page website: $450 total project fee. I simply don’t take those low paying jobs. Easy at that. The people to work for on elance are new and small companies/publishers who do not yet have a staff writer or a “go-to” freelancer. You then become that “go to” freelancer. Easy as that.

Here’s my say on elance: don’t use it to find much of your work, and don’t lower your rates, no matter how tempting–STICK WITH YOUR RATES!

November 6, 2011 at 3:37 pm
(12) John Lyman says:

I agree with freelancewrite. Spot on!

February 12, 2008 at 10:11 am
(13) kcwriter says:

I applaud freelancewrite! Good for you.

February 12, 2008 at 10:17 am
(14) Lili says:

See, I wondered about that. Lowering my rates, I mean. I don’t write per se, I edit, format and proof as well as tackling any job I think I can do. I wouldn’t say I’d take anything, but I have experience now in editing both novels and how-to manuals for a publisher who gave me a chance when I was new. I love the job, but it’s not a steady income, at least not steady enough. I edit for several companies on a freelance basis and get paid on commission by one. It’s a new publisher and I get paid every three months. Again, good work and I love it, but it’s not the best situation monetarily. I’d love to get more jobs, I’m at home and have the time, but don’t want to spend my life freelancing for a pittance.


March 4, 2008 at 3:38 am
(15) Jolie du Pre says:

Elance allows you to post a few bids for free. I did that and got a steady ghostwriting gig out of it. I get paid every Saturday, and I’m fine with the money.

People will always complain about this or that. I say do what you need to do and tune out the rest.

I’ve been writing fiction for about seven years. The money has never been steady. I’ve received money, but it has never been steady. With this ghostwriting gig I appreciate the steady money and the ease of finding the job. I don’t have time to search for freelance gigs, folks. I don’t have time for the freelance rat race. I’m trying to write a novel. I found a steady gig with Elance and that’s fine.

Jolie du Pre

May 7, 2011 at 11:24 am
(16) cj says:

No one cares.

September 13, 2011 at 7:17 am
(17) d says:

Don’t be a dick. She’s making a point. People are putting down freelancers who want to use eLance, and she’s saying there are good reasons to use eLance, even if it means low pay.

I am personally brand new to freelancing, still in grad school, so the idea of making $50/hour is ridiculous to me. I feel like I’d be scamming someone to pay me more than $15-20 because I have no experience to speak of except writing for personal and academic reasons.

So eLance is perfect for me. It gets me the experience and contacts I need to be able to contemplate $60/hour jobs (which would make me feel rich, considering my current stable part time job gives me barely more than $60/day).

October 17, 2011 at 1:06 am
(18) jk says:

That’s not nice to say CJ..
Let’s just respect each others opinion…
and learn from them….
coz that’s how to improve ourselves

March 4, 2008 at 8:58 pm
(19) freelancewrite says:

Good for you Jolie.

June 9, 2008 at 7:20 am
(20) Trisha says:

Yes elance is really good but there exists some other sites as well where membership is free and one can get un-limited projects in allmost all technologies. Please have a look at:


June 24, 2008 at 10:11 am
(21) lola says:

I happened on elance on a suggestion from a colleague. I”m a designer with a thorough background and 15 years in the business both full time and as a freelancer. Although this is a California based company I wonder why there are so many non-USA “designers” bidding for USA jobs at a rate so low they are practically giving it away. What’s the story??

I will stick with my rates as I do quality work and have been awarded jobs through elance with USA people who do pay for quality. But like anything else on internet, you must be critical of the buyer of your services and be very very careful about giving out any bank numbers, etc. Elance works with Paypal which is fine and they also have their own escrow accounts.
So far I have been satisfied with my clients but I still question the non-USA designers trying to make our profession lower than that of a prostitute. Maybe USA dollars have more equity in their country but elance is denying the jobs in effect to those of their own country.

July 9, 2008 at 2:12 am
(22) Rich says:

Bidding sites are a means of underpaying writers. Sure, someone is always willing to work for free to get a credit and that wastes the time of everyone else. Elance is a disgrace to all hard working professional writers and journalists who take pride in their work.

July 29, 2008 at 3:40 pm
(23) Jen says:

I’m a college student, so I love those bidding sites. I am willing to work for cheap because guess what? I need the money. There’s nothing demeaning about it. If you aren’t willing to work for cheap in order to get started, then you don’t have what it takes.

May 7, 2011 at 11:26 am
(24) cj says:

You don’t have what it takes working for pennies.

August 4, 2008 at 10:53 am
(25) Angela says:

Elance is a joke. The site charges providers for their “plans” and “connects” (contacts) and “sponsors” (way to get more money out of providers, and then there’s the “fee” (percentage of the overall job”. The jobs seem “scamish” and so do the overall model. If a buyer changes his mind after 100 providers have bidded on the job, a good 200 or more “connects”, the providers loses the money and Elance gains that fat paycheck. Their model seem to be set up on milking freelancers, who bid on dummy jobs. If you check out the jobs closely, you see that the same people or individuals are posting the job. You’ll find exact wording, tone, sentence structure, etc. Be ware. Elance is NOT the way to go unless you support slave labor, or want to get scammed!

August 19, 2008 at 4:50 pm
(26) Kellan says:

I’m with you, Jen. As a college student trying DESPERATELY to make ends meet any money looks far better than no money. I’m not sure how this lowers the credibility of professional free-lance writers, unless these professionals were also bidding on lower-paying gigs. The economy is brutal right now and volunteering at the student writing center and helping assistant professors with their dissertations, etc. just doesn’t cut it for some of us kids whose parents aren’t able to to hand us our tuition and play money with no problem. Gaining experience and being able to eat every day is wonderful to me! I’m grateful for any cash flow beyond waitressing! :)

September 14, 2008 at 12:36 am
(27) Bob says:

I have received some work at Elance. The projects seem to be slow in coming for me as a fairly new writer. I have over 200 SEO keyword web content posts written and posted for a company that ran out of work for me after 5 months. I am still trying to get regular work.

September 24, 2008 at 1:08 pm
(28) Adam Turner says:

eLance.com — outsourcing brought to a computer near you.

The problem with all of these sites is that they are open to anyone. This means that as someone in part of the developed world I don’t stand a chance. Never mind the fact that I probably have a better education and have a mastery of the english language. Most of the offers on these sites are nothing short of greedy.

Another problem that arises is the idiocy of those people handing out the contracts, which are usually vague or impossible. These people just want everything for nothing. That means that they don’t want to have to communicate effectively either.

It’s like picking up a job at a fast food joint. You expect little pay and little to no direction.

October 3, 2008 at 7:44 am
(29) chronis says:

MarketRaise Corp. is an American based company that employs a large number of High Skilled IT staff that are ready to work for you. We offer a wide range of hourly rates which allow you to pick a pricing structure within your budget range. We provide the user with a project chart that allows you to track your employee and or project daily with a breakdown of hourly and daily work that has been completed. Click below to find out which package best fits your needs and requirements.
Why choose MarketRaise compared to ordinary job sites and freelance / bidding sites?
Choose a pricing structure that best fits your budget
Have total control over your employee(s)
Feel secure that a NY, American Based company will be handling your work
Feel secure that a company not a freelancer is taking care of your work.
You can always pick up the phone and call us toll free.
Monitor and track your worker and or project with our daily tracking and reporting system.

October 14, 2008 at 4:26 am
(30) Sidd says:

I am relatively new to freelance writing. While surfing on the net, I discovered Elance, and tried to break into the bid-market. Honestly speaking, the experience has been very bad. Reason-bidding usually means quoting the lowest price. I have seen people bidding 50$ for a 25 article set! How do you expect to produce quality content at that price? While it is accepted that the project may not be awarded to the lowest bidder, yet it is surprising to see the ridiculously low bids. Most of the buyers also expect the cheapest deal at Elance. Most specify the maximum rate they are willing to pay, sometimes as low as 2 dollars a piece. At this rate, sometimes the total project cost for the buyer turns out to be lower than the minimum bid amount of 50$ !

October 15, 2008 at 11:42 am
(31) JoeSchmoeWriter says:

After spending a year working on Elance projects as a writer (about $18,000), I have recently concluded that “Elance is a JOKE.” (I actually found this article by searching on that string!). They STEAL your money in various ways. The site is biased toward writers who garble their verbs and adjectives. The people who run Elance are generally out of touch with the reality of business. I am soon getting off of Elance altogether.

October 21, 2008 at 1:21 pm
(32) Frustrated says:

Elance was great for me to begin with, I ignored the fact that people were getting my services at ridiculously low prices because I was building up my confidence and a portfolio. Now that I’m bidding at what I still class as low, but not insanely low, rates I’m apparently too expensive. If you do them properly, these projects work out at about 1/10 of minimum wage. I’d be better off on welfare!

November 3, 2008 at 9:11 am
(33) small business growth says:

Its tough for both buyers and sellers I think, just like anything else.

You (buyer and seller) have to become experienced in filtering our what’s rubbish and what not, and getting your expectation right in the beginning.

Then determine what the true value of the work you are doing / requesting is and spend your time with the right projects / suppliers.

Its never easy! But could be another useful string to your bow though in the long run.

November 24, 2008 at 12:10 am
(34) MM says:

I was referred to Elance by a group intended for networking. I understand that students need work and accept little money in return, however, it’s a risky business in the long run. Once we begin to lower the standards, it creates an expectation of lower fees for quality work and ultimately we all suffer. Students, (and anyone else) who come cheap, set a standard for future income. Not intentionally, but it will be a harsh reality that clients expect a great deal of work with very little compensation. The students who are working so hard to make a buck now might find it counterproductive in the end. There was a great article in the New York Times about this problem. We compete with each other, but if we compete to the extent we lower industry standards, we’re hurting ourselves and each other.


December 16, 2008 at 7:36 am
(35) Nicole Kilby says:

It’s very hard to work on Elance because their commissions are very high. That’s why I choose GetACoder.com, you get lots of projects there and their fees are quite reasonable. Moreover all buyers with whom I worked with were professionals and paid on time.

December 18, 2008 at 11:48 pm
(36) P says:

I can see that not everyone had a good experience. I am a full time professional writer and would love to break into the freelancing world but haven’t had much luck. Beyond the networking thing which I’m already working on, are there other sites you guys would recommend in lieu of elance?

December 24, 2008 at 3:58 am
(37) prof says:

US bidders (writers) are up against some excellent writers from around the globe. These writers are not working for ‘nothing’. They simply live in an economy where a dollar goes a long way.

There are writers as good as, or better than, many US bidders/writers. They give outstanding value for money and make a living.

It’s a global market and they are not lowering the standards of good writers – they are simply able to compete effectively in such a market.

Usually, these writers have to work very hard to prove to US clients they have top notch skills. Many start with a low bid and through sheer hard work, determination and the forging of solid relationships, work up to better rates. They also eliminate clients who are exploitive and there are many.

US clients benefit greatly from using these writers because they pay them much less than what they make.

December 25, 2008 at 10:33 pm
(38) Steve says:

The only thing I would want on Elance to make it better is a little button on each job posting that says “report slave labor request.”

Some employers ask prices that are a joke, and they ask them with the same compunction as one would have when asking for a glass of water in a restaurant. As if there’s nothing wrong with it! Then maybe they should be allowed to post but there should be some icon on the posting so serious programmers or writers or whatever know to just skip the posting, rather than waste time looking at it.

I’m not an expert but I’m sure there are laws against that sort of thing, but I don’t think they are enforced. Anyway, I certainly don’t like it.

January 13, 2009 at 7:09 am
(39) Albert says:

To me, Enlace provides more answers than questions. The issues that I would have with them are their charges, especially connect and commissions. They are taking around 10% of my gross income; however this can be offset by the overall quality and regular flow of writing projects they provide, some of which have resulted in repeat business.
I am a native English speaker who lives in a non-English speaking country, am semi-retired and don’t need to earn a very high income, and don’t like to work too many hours a day. I sincerely believe that I fall into the ideal category as an E-lance service provider, and seriously wouldn’t envy anyone who would need to make a serious, US standards income from it.

January 18, 2009 at 6:11 pm
(40) oldgreywolf says:

Actually, my question is whether or not the sponsored dotcoms have been investigated or otherwise verified by about.com for legitimacy. Example: http://www.workathometop10jobs.com/
Is anyone qualified to know the answer?

February 4, 2009 at 10:51 pm
(41) K. Richards says:

J. Smith Adams makes $10,000+ per month on Elance. After losing tons of projects, he wrote 1 bid for me, I posted it and was awarded. Guy is crazy smart.


February 6, 2009 at 9:16 am
(42) Juan E. Zerpa says:

I am a Web Designer/Motion Graphics/Multimedia, my website is http://www.zgraphik.com, I being trying to get work using Elance, I have a lot of samples, and the prices that I being ask are some how fair compare to whta the real prices are, I think that Elance is a big scam, I just can’t believe that no one wants to hire my services…..I think is a platform for people from Indian, China that are doing the work for pennies, is there any law in the USA that prevents this from happening?, this is why our economy is going down the drain, we have bunch of CEO’s, big companies outsourcing everything, paying two dollars an hour for work done by professionals, and I can’t believe that nobody says anything about it…..please.

February 16, 2009 at 11:57 am
(43) Dennis says:

I am on my second project through Elance. I am in between as far as if it is good or bad. My first project was a bomb. They person was from India. Every article that was submitted had to be edited more than once for proper Eglish and terminology. The project kept going and going. I finally just ended it. On this second project I had the person ask me what I wanted even after I though I had already specified it. I hate doing things over and over. I thought that is why I am hiring it to start with. I also feel that the expertise is not necessarily there. They claim to know the subject but now I’m not sure. I am not blaming Elance but so far my luck has not been good. I might as well do it myself.

February 19, 2009 at 1:11 pm
(44) Angela says:

Interested debate. I believe that there are basically two ways to use sites like Elance:

1) You NEED money fast. I am not talking about the ‘ethics’ of working for low money here. Sometimes you gotta do whatcha gotta do to pay the bills.

2) You want new work. At the end of the day no one is forcing you to work for less pay than you want. I browse the jobs once a week and only apply for the ones that will let me earn what I want. At top end I have been paid over $50 per hour, and I doubt I would ever grumble at that wage.

But don’t be too hard to judge writers who need to take those $5 per article jobs. We all need to make a living, and we have to start somewhere. Haven’t most of us worked in a bar/fast food chain for minimum wage to pay your bills?

February 23, 2009 at 5:38 pm
(45) Nikki says:

I am new to Elance and I’d have to say that the results have been rather disappointing. I wish I had of thoroughly investigated Elance before I actually invested money into it. Basically, they are taking advantage of freelancers and letting buyers take advantage of us too.

How much logical sense does it make that they charge us just to bid_ whether we get the job or not. We are all providing a steady income for Elance – they get paid no matter who wins the bid, yet we keep paying out money for absolutely nothing (that is if we never win a bid). I think that those rare individuals who find success in Elance are just lucky – it’s really just like a lottery. Yes, it’s true that there are some lucky individuals who win the lottery. But for the majority of us – we lose.

It is an awesomely profitable business idea – the more people who bid on one project, the more money elance makes for each individual project. In addition, they get a cut of the final payout.

If I don’t get a bid this month that significantly exceeds the monthly fee, and also compensates me for all the time and effort I put into placing bids, then I am canceling them this month. I am going to use all my connects so that I can hurry up and move on as I learn from my mistake.

One last note – I disagree with the individual who said that “There are writers as good as, or better than, many US bidders/writers.” I don’t believe that it is possible for a non-native to write something better than a native. That would be the same as me claiming that I can write better content in India, even though I’ve spent all my life in Indian. I write well because I’ve been reading all my life. The best writers are heavy readers. So, unless you have read hundreds of American books, then I don’t see how you could possible write better English then an American. Come on, be honest, how many times have you read content on the internet and you absolutely KNOW that it could not have been written by an American?

February 25, 2009 at 5:59 pm
(46) Freelance Audio says:

Although I have yet to get a job on eLance, I’ve used oDesk with good success. Yes, rates are low for particular categories since many times, you are competing with overseas freelancers. However, for my work (Voice Over and Audio Editing), I’ve stuck to my rates and received them. Here are a few pointers:

1. Keep the pipeline full. You will quickly get discouraged if you bid on one or two jobs and then don’t win. You must bid or at least look for projects EVERY DAY! The more in the pipeline, the more will fall out in your favor.

2. Definitely apply for jobs that tell you there is a possibility of a long term relationship. I have had two projects turn into to work “offline”, that has continued for months. Like the article says, build your network.

3. Use PayPal! Of course you shouldn’t give out your bank account number, but sending money through PayPal is totally secure and super easy. If the buyer doesn’t have a PayPal account, they probably aren’t serious about using online freelancers.

This newly emerging networking model is one you must build. Like any freelancer, you wouldn’t go out on your own until you’ve built your network. Same thing applies here. It’s not a portal for permanent work but it is a way to build your network outside of the freelance websites.

March 1, 2009 at 12:39 pm
(47) Mike Rapp says:

I’ve been a senior designer and art director for two decades, and it amazes me how so many of these “new” services are not new at all. The bottom line is, you cannot get something for nothing. Companies that have so few resources and experiences that they are posting jobs at eLance for “under $500″ will ultimately get what they deserve. Why do you think so many of these people complain about poor turnaround and unqualified bidders?

Here’s an idea: Research the true market for work, know what a fair price is, and budget that into your company’s p&l. Stop trying to whittle the creative world down to the lowest possible price. Treat people and the work with respect and you will almost always get far more than you paid. But if you treat your industry with DISrespect, and somehow come to believe that all creative work is of roughly equal quality, then good riddance to you and your fly-by-night company.

There is an old adage that will hold true forever, no matter how many “new” web-based bidding companies come and go: Every client gets the creative work they deserve. If you are a company looking for essentially free creative work — and that means web sites for “less than $500″ — then you don’t deserve success in business.

eLace, to me, is for companies that are as clueless as the folks who bid there are desperate.

March 2, 2009 at 3:34 pm
(48) Dana - The Writer's Blog says:

I’m getting a good amount of traffic to my writer mentoring blog about Elance. I’ve posted about my first experience there which was a positive experience and I also posted about a not-so-hot experience but that I’ve learned from. I’m still bidding there but much more cautiously. I’m paying $20 a month for 40 ‘connects’ and as long as each month still makes it worthwhile to pay that $20 I’ll keep doing it. Having many options for getting work is great and two of the gigs I’ve done there have been $50 articles that took me less than 30 minutes and got me stellar reviews. Selective bidding is important!

March 3, 2009 at 3:46 pm
(49) Deb says:

Is it “normal” to be paid $2 for a 350-word article and lose ALL rights to your work? I just read an ad for a copywriter on the freelance.interviewhelper.org website, and those are the terms of their “deal”. I am exploring the bidding sites as a means to build a business…but this one sounds like I might do as well building my own site with that subject content that I would have “given away” (IMHO)…

March 5, 2009 at 8:49 pm
(50) Fred says:

I’m not a writer, well actually I guess I am because I have published a fictional book, but I do not write for a living. I’m a web and graphic designer and I do bid on several freelance sites and I have to say I hate them with a vengeance.

Unfortunately the economy dictates I need to flesh out my work as much as I can but these sites do nothing but breed contempt and de-value any skilled industry to the level of sewage workers.

I have spent a lot of my own money going to collage and buying expensive software so I can provide a professional service and better myself in life. If all I was going to get paid for my hard work was less than minimum wage I wouldn’t have bothered.

When I see ridicules bids, for example…

I need a 10 page web site, I want it SEO’ed, I want a member log in area (so that’s a whole load of database programming) I want a flash and fantastic site and very professional! Don’t bother bidding unless you can produce excellent work or I won’t even bother reading your profile.

And how much is this chap going to pay for this? I look up his “budget”

$30 – $250

OK the above is at least a couple of weeks work, take taxes and the cut the freelance site takes and your not going to even get that much.

When I try to explain that its not even minimum wage if I could do it in 3 days you hear the old excuse..

”This is for people who want to get their profile and portfolio up and running or for a collage student who wants to earn some cash”

Utter rubbish on both his and the person bidding on it.

For those students that think it’s ok to help give them some cash by putting in crazy cheap bids it’s not.
You have to take some responsibility for your actions. One day you’re going to be a professional and married and have kids and a mortgage and will want to be paid more money than the girl or guy at the burger bar.
Good luck with that when for the past few years these sites and those that pittance bid on them have promoted a world wide expectation that.. “Hey, don’t pay the guy in the high street those prices, go to a freelance web site, there are always some students or part timers willing to work for a lot less for some extra cash”. Trust me, I have seen that expectation grow and grow over the past couple of years.

Also, I don’t mean to sound harsh but I can’t feel sorry for any student (I have been one myself) when they talk about needing to earn some extra money to help pay the way. If you want to do that, work at a burger bar or at the local bar. Don’t trash bid your future profession into the stone age because there are people with real bills, you know mortgages, gas, electricity, young sons and daughters to take care of and frankly, all of that blows what ever ‘debts’ you may have when you only have yourself to worry about. Sorry if that sounds harsh but it’s true.

Here is an analogy, you have a job and work real hard doing it, I come along and tell your boss I will do it for peanuts or for free and he gets rid of you the next day and hires me. That is exactly what you are doing by pittance bidding. It’s one thing to bid against peers on the same level. It’s another to see your chances swept away by someone wanting to build a portfolio or grab themselves a quick 40 bucks for the weekend party.

If you want to raise your portfolio, do what I did, sit down and write out a list of fake jobs and companies and develop that job. Who in the freelance industry checks on work? If you can physically show them you can do the job that is all you need.

Ok, I haven’t finished ranting yet…

Now let’s get onto the subject of the job poster. Let’s just put aside the time wasters, the idiots and the other freelancers that have taken on a job (probably on the same freelance site) and want to put it out for someone else to do and take a wage for doing nothing.

It’s about time that people realised that this attitude of “I want the best service but I want it cheap” is unsustainable. We live in a get what you want for peanuts society and I should not be able to buy a DVD player for 15$.

There has been a growing trend to outsource work to countries with cheaper economies and it’s rife in the freelance sites. Cheap labour, that is all that is on their mind.

I have this mantra that I try and get through to every business I can in my own country. Pay extra and support your countries economy.

You see if you work in the same country as me and you hire my services I have money. If enough people do that to me and other like me I become busy. I then may need to hire staff and pay them money. I can then take on more of this work from my fellow countrymen and hire more people.
All the time I’m also spending money in stationary, my house, going out, my business and this money is also going to people in my own country.

When plenty of us are doing this, that business that you have, that also relies upon people in the same country having money to spend, will get that money back.

Because several local freelancers are doing well and have hired staff, so now the local bar is also busy and now wants to put some money back into their business and make a website. What that? Your company furnishes bars and restaurants? You’re a web designer? Oh look your money has come back to you.

Ok that is a very simplistic example but the example is sound, just on a more complex level. Invest in your economy and you do well. If we keep on having this outsourcing to other countries for the cheap solution that money has left the country and gone for good.

Ok I’m done now and feel a lot better for it.

March 6, 2009 at 4:02 am
(51) Fred says:

Oh, I just had to share this from another freelance site.

And I quote..

I think $50 is sufficient for this because of the short job and I can provide the current working model.

If you don’t have feedback, do not bid. I won’t even look at your bid without feedback.

I need this within 48/hours of accepting the job. If you’re late with submitting I will have to give negative feedback based on time lines. I’m telling you this upfront.

Very easy job…

Thank you.

Quite demanding hu? I mean your rating is in jeopardy if you’re little bit late. I love the way this guy knows how much I’m worth ($50 for 2 hours work). What I found most disgusting is that he works in the same field (he is just trying to offload some of his workload) and in his portfolio how much does he charge per hour?


Wow, he must be awesome compared to the rest of us. His time is so much more valuable.

March 15, 2009 at 11:08 am
(52) rowland says:

I agree with all the negatives that people say about the rates: it is voluntary slave labour. Also much of it is related to SEO, so you are NOT writing for people but for search engines: is there no market out there for quality writing


March 16, 2009 at 2:22 pm
(53) a says:

Well, I have been lurking around Elance for the past week as I have had a tough month during which I have lost a couple of well paying gigs. I have been quite demoralized and have been tempted to join Elance just so I can have some chance of landing something. I am a member of similar frelance site -www.ifreelance.com whose fees are more reasonable than Elance and I have actually landed some steady long term gigs from that site though there too there are gigs that pay the ridiculous $1 for a 500 word article.I am Indian but I live in US and know that I cant write for such rates. Moreover I am familiar with Indian writers but I dont know any quality writers based in urban India who are willing to work for these rates. Surprisingly when such projects are posted on ifreelance.com there are many US based American writers who bid on them. I really cant understand that.

April 16, 2009 at 7:56 am
(54) Steve says:

Hi Guys,

Honestly saying Elance is the worst company i have ever worked with. They don’t have any ethics, no customer service at all and they would never abide by what they say.
Their executives would promise you something and the next day their VP Policy team would take bribe and would decide on favor of the other company. Then they would give you silly reasons that they took it for because of their poor english….In todays electronic age they would ask you to send a mail to their physical address in US and then they would say that they have not received it…..

The fact i am saying is true…their VP policy team actually asks for bribe…we had all the proofs that we are genuine but he took bribe from the other company( see this its important : the other company has 3 accounts on elance but even then they are allowed ) …on complaining we got a reply from elance saying that the problem is in your account and not theirs…..i am in the process of setting up a web page with all the communications i had with elance so that you can decide for yourself whether they are genuine or not…..its time we shlould stand against such companies and tell the government about their unfair practices.


April 28, 2009 at 12:02 am
(55) Karl says:

I agree with you. As I said in my article Making freelance projects work with Elance, being a freelance contractor is hard. It takes time to find quality leads and even more time to develop those contacts into work. As your network and reputation build up, it becomes easier to find jobs. However, even with a good name and a strong contact list there are times when the resource pool is full and the projects are scarce. Just like your grandma told you, never have all of your eggs in one basket. In those lean times, it is good to have a second stream of project leads.

May 5, 2009 at 9:05 pm
(56) worker says:

I have used elance, but i have had a lot more success using oDesk.com, once I got setup I found I got paid quicker and more often and there were a lot more long term jobs offered.

June 21, 2009 at 11:13 pm
(57) RD says:

Question: If Elance has become a do more for nothing, then is there room for an “elite” type of service?

Same type of bidding, but for “higher end” work…

Would that even work in this economy?

If my question is not clear, then I will rephrase: If monster dot com is to ladders dot com, then elance dot com is to … what?

July 4, 2009 at 7:20 pm
(58) freelancewrite says:

Just checking back in with these comments, as I recently linked here. To #30 oldgreywolf– thats a BIG NO, don’t bother. I’m sorry, I don’t have the control over ads on this site.

Everyone else, ahhhh, elance. Honestly, I just hired a bunch of writers off elance myself for a huge project that my company (GardenWall Publications) got from a big publisher. I feel and think and hope I paid the writers well- I think it was a MINIMUM of about 30 an hour, depending on hoe fast they worked. The writers I hired there were able to follow directions and string sentences together just fine. THey were all beginners, from North America, well-versed in English….

I think it’s a good place to START. But I also thank #40 fred and others for their perspective, too.

July 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm
(59) CeeJay says:

There’s a guy on Elance who is currently offering to pay $355 PER ARTICLE at a rate of 15 articles per week. This is for a permanent position.
He’s asking for a trial run of 5 articles to be written – in two days. The “winner” will be compensated for the 5 articles that were written and will be given the permanent position.
By my calculations someone’s gonna be earning a SMACKload of dollars, if this guy is for real.
Would YOU trust this not to be a scam?

November 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm
(60) John Lyman says:

I would never do this. The people (contractors) who feel they’ve been ripped off and worked for free is because they fall to this kind of prey.. The way to beat this system? Become well versed in two or three subjects and write some really good samples that fit in. And here’s a great hint: Get a program that will allow you to save your work as protected .pdf files. By that I mean protect it from printing, editing, copy and pasting. Also put a watermark on the work. I found one that is quite good for about $20, I think. Then if someone wants you to do “trial articles,” you’ll already have them, and you can attach to a proposal and have a (reasonable) assurance that they can’t take your work and run. Sure, they can re-type it from the computer screen, but if they want to do that then more power to em’!

July 16, 2009 at 2:15 pm
(61) Mel says:

But a lot of “test” jobs are scammy, hey?

1. Post a high-income job.
2. Get 500+ quality “test” articles from applicants.
3. Remove the post and keep the articles.

I think that (in general) some people are unrealistic on both sides. Posters expect everything for free, and bidders feel entitled to good and fast pay using only a keyword search. I know quite a few freelancers that do not operate legally. Many work under the table, and the IRS is cracking down on legal freelancers like me because of it.

Robot-feeders will never pay more for articles. Their blogs are usually created to generate hits and be sold, much like flipping a house. Google “buy a blog” for more info. Quality wastes money; the blog just has to look full. There are writers in all countries using automatic article writing software to fill that demand. This is a closed cycle. If it is your business, good luck to you. If it is not, then why look at it? I am not a coder or designer or robot-feeder.

For jobs outside robot articles and gimmie-free posts, eLance may be perfect for some folks. It has never been cost-beneficial for me, but I have known others who built a rating history on cheap projects with the free account and are now bidding privately for recurring clients. I get most of my clients offline, by picking up the phone and asking if the company hires freelancers.

My last client asked me to raise my rate — her company links expense to proficiency. There are clients out there that want to pay for quality. You just have to have the confidence to ask your rates and ignore the bottom feeders.

September 21, 2009 at 3:16 pm
(62) Sam says:

Considering the many writers responding in the comments, I’m pretty shocked at all of the typos. the most glaring is post #35 by Nikki. She states that she doubts non-Americans can write as well as Americans, but says is much less artfully and then goes on to use the word “then” instead of “than”. Not to mention, her writing skills are based upon her reading so many books. To quote:

“..a non-native to write something better than a native. That would be the same as me claiming that I can write better content in India, even though I’ve spent all my life in Indian.”

What??? This is an example of the person who accepts the $5 per article jobs.

October 29, 2009 at 5:54 pm
(63) Kristine M Smith says:

I’ve been with Elance for two years and have become a Premier Provider in two categories (writing, sales and marketing). I’m listed as between #33 and #60 out of more than 25K service providers.

It took some time to get going, as I didn’t have a portfolio or feedback when I first started out but things are looking up now and my hourly minimum wage is up to $30/hour. (It should be higher, based on other Premier Provider minimums at Elance, but I’m not out to screw people, especially with the way the economy is right now — I’m just out to make a decent living for a work-at-home position.) I feel adequately compensated, especially when some of the fixed jobs I’ve bid on have been completed in just over an hour and the project paid $160! So I’m averaging well over $30/hour on some projects.

I wanted to post here to let you know that if the projects you bid on at Elance don’t get assigned to anyone, all you have to do it ask the person who listed it to please CANCEL the project listing, stating that if they do (it doesn’t cost them anything), you will get your connect back.

So those of you who feel “ripped off” by Elance are basically ripping yourselves off if you don’t stay in touch with your potential buyers and ask them to cancel the project if they aren’t going to award it.

I just learned this recently myself — and kicked myself across the room for not knowing it sooner. I’ve “thown away” literally thousands of connects in two years.

Don’t let it happen to you. I also think Elance is fair and the best site out there that I’ve seen; I would love to hear of others that are equally good or better from those of you who know and have used them. True, Elance takes 8.5% of every project, but that’s a write off on your taxes AND the company keeps track of everything so your accountant or you have a running record. That’s worth something.

I would love to hear back from anyone on these matters. You can reach me at kristine m smith AT m s n DOT com or via Elance. (And no, I’m not an Elance shill. I just think they get a bad rap a lot of the time that isn’t completely deserved.)

Blessings and best wishes to all!

October 30, 2009 at 2:30 am
(64) Clyde A. Lettsome, Ph.D., P.E. says:

We have used some of the freelance marketplace websites, and we would caution any true professionals from considering these websites as viable means of earning extra income despite the economic recession. I am not complaining at all about the websites’ business practices. I say this because when we signed up to use their services the terms of use are spelled out. Unfortunately, the terms are extensive, but they are there, and as professionals and entrepreneurs we are responsible for reading them. My problem is with most of the employers/buyers on the site. More often than not, you will encounter employers/buyers that will waste your time and, furthermore, do not have realistic expectations given the budget for their projects.

True enough, this happens in everyday business but not in this type of setting. When the government or professional businesses put out an RFP, more often than not, the contract is awarded to someone. In addition, when these entities select a winner, they consider experience and ability, as well as price. We spent 4 months on a few of these freelance marketplace websites. During that period more than 75% of the jobs we placed a bid on were never awarded to anyone. Of the jobs awarded, almost all went to the lowest bidder. Some of them actually went to bidders bidding below the employer’s/buy’s estimated budget range for the project. If you have been in business for any period of time you know that the employer/buyer estimate is almost always on the lower end of the estimated project cost.

For the most part, we believe that we did a good job of selecting the projects that we bided on. When we put a bid on projects, these were projects we were confident that we could do based on our experience, available personnel, and educational backgrounds. Furthermore, most of the times, we were not the highest bidder. In fact, we were usually a little above the average bid. Despite these facts, we had employers/buyers that had no background in technical writing, engineering, or technical management saying I did not understand their projects or saying my bid was unrealistic. Unrealistic? Did not understand?

Here is my background:
• I have worked in both industry (avionics, defense, and space companies) and in academia for more than 15 years.
• I have an M.S. in engineering management. If you are not aware of this degree, it is business degree focusing on a technology company’s needs and company needs in the area of technology.
• I have earned three engineering degrees (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.). My Ph.D. is from a top 5 graduate engineering university in the US according to US News and World Report.
• I have taught an electrical engineering class at that top 5 engineering school for more than 4 years as a graduate student ( it is rare for grad students to teach an actual class at this university) and was recognized as an outstanding student instructor one of those 4 years.
• I have a professional engineer (P.E.) license, which means it has been confirmed that: I have a minimum of 5 years of engineering experience, I have had 2 other licensed professional engineer and a previous manager confirm that I understand the fundamentals of engineering and my area of engineering practice and perform my duties to the highest ethical standards, and finally I passed two (not one, but two) eight hour engineering exams (both I passed the first time I took them).
• I have published technical papers. I have written technical articles for reputable engineering conferences, publications, and have given lectures at conferences and universities. All of these publications have been peer reviewed by other Ph.D.s, and the lectures have been before Ph.D.s and Ph.D. graduate students.

And this is just MY background. My business partner and our staff have their own impressive resumes in their respective areas and our company was chosen as a winner in the 2009 Office Depot “Survival of the Smartest” contest for our innovative cost savings methods we provide to our customers. These employers/buyers would be getting all of this at a little bit above the average bid, yet, believe it or not, we got only one employer/buyer willing to take our services at our price in over 50 bids on multiple sites.

In conclusion, recession or not, our company will not be using these sites in the future unless we are asked to by a legitimate employer/buyer. We have determined that the only way we can make money on these sites is if we placed the lowest bid every time and then compromised the quality of the work and provide little customer service on awarded projects. Needless to say, we are not willing to do that. My ethics will not allow me to lead our group to do this.

Calabrix Corporation

November 1, 2009 at 4:02 pm
(65) Philip Eki says:

There are ways to decrease the amount of unreasonable/laughable projects that get graced with my eyes on Elance. Whenever I browse the lists, I always drag the “budget” slider up to “More than $1000″ (We are developers).

I find this is to be an ideal budget altitude to soar and search for something relatively serious. Sometimes if I’m up for laughs, I go back down to the “less than $500″s, where we get to have a chuckle at someone that wants a “Facebook clone” complete with what facebook offers…and more…for less than $500.

The kicker?…”Serious bidders please”.

December 1, 2009 at 7:59 am
(66) Darlene says:

I started my freelance writing business a year ago. Elance has helped me build a portfolio and reputation. I refuse to bid on projects that pay ridiculously low. If I lose a bid because my “bid is too high”, oh well. I have some repeat customers, as well as customers from other sources. I only work part-time and that’s all I want. Elance is suitable for those purposes. I wouldn’t want to rely on Elance or any other freelance site for a full-time income.

December 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm
(67) Dino Demetriou says:

Has anyone heard or used http://www.ecopywriters.com?
Their business model is slightly different to that of eLance.

December 23, 2009 at 2:57 pm
(68) Albert says:

I was feeling a little hurt about dealing through Elance, and found myself trying to discover if I am not alone and was kind of gratified that I am not.
I actually posted a comment on this page about six months ago. What I wrote then still stands, Elance is OK as long as you are not dependent on it. During the current year, I have succeeded in adding three “private” clients who are giving me around 80% of what I want to earn, and am now anxiuosly looking for another one to make up the difference. Once I find that missing ingredient, its bye-bye Elance, at least till one of them dries up. Newbies take note, don’t lose heart and remember the biblical saying ” Men that go to whores are as guilty as the whores themselves”

January 11, 2010 at 12:08 am
(69) CopyKat says:

I am always amazed by the number of people who bad mouth Elance. I’ve been an award-winning copywriter (at top agencies in NY, Boston and FL) for over 20 years. Outside of Elance, my hourly rate is $75-$100. On Elance, I stay competitive at roughly $50/hr. Yes, there are a lot of “slave wage jobs” listed on there, so I don’t bid on a lot of projects! I only bid on ones that match my particular skill set and expertise. As a result, the jobs I get tend to turn into ongoing clients. For instance, I took a “discounted” 2 hour job for $88. The client was so pleased at her “deal”, she ended up spending over $750. I’ve had many “under $500″ jobs turn into high-paying long-term clients. The key to Elance success? Only bid on jobs with ongoing potential and know your own value! You don’t need a lot of jobs, just good ones!

January 26, 2010 at 11:18 am
(70) Kristi Patrice Carter says:

Great discussion. I have been an Elance provider for over 10 years and have completed over 700 projects for clients. About 90% of my projects have been extremely positive and Elance is still my favorite way to market.

Not only is Elance’s site easy to use but there are some great buyers on Elance and the projects are plentiful. I truly believe that qualified individuals with real talent can succeed at Elance if they follow these golden rules:

1. Scrutinize buyers carefully and concentrate on projects with long term potential.

2. Bid consistently with original bids only.

3. Know the value of your services and don’t lowball. Note: you may have to bid lower when you are initially starting out but don’t lowball.

4. Always, always, always exceed expectations. Do more than is requested and remember that you are building a reputation not just making quick cash.

By doing this, newbies and experienced providers can turn one-shot projects into repeat gigs and grow their freelancing businesses tremendously.

January 27, 2010 at 8:07 pm
(71) John says:

Elance is okay, but it can be very hard to find good jobs. It is better to go straight to different websites that hire writers.

Elance is very competitive, and although there are so many people on there offering article writing services, there are still a lot of jobs. The problem is that everybody is always under cutting each other.

These guys offer article writing services, and they are always hiring writers on a regular basis at very good rates.

April 3, 2010 at 7:47 pm
(72) Ted Bendixson says:

I basically launched my freelance writing career off of sites like Elance, RentACoder, and Odesk.

Here’s my take on it. There’s a lot of crap on these sites, but there are a few legitimate job postings as well. You just have to look for them, and you also have to work your way up the ranks. I’ve gotten $50/hr jobs before, and the more projects I complete, the more likely it is that I’ll get better projects.

People who have been working on these sites for years charge at least $40/hr, usually asking for much more. That’s pretty reasonable. They just gloss over the $1/article jobs and search for the real money.

Plus, a lot of people don’t hire based on price. They hire based on qualifications. I often get selected when my bid is way above everyone else’s. People just want someone to get the job done.

I often wish there were something like an “EliteLance” that restricts certain kinds of postings, invites only the highest quality buyers and providers, and sets a decent minimum hourly rate. As it is, the site is one big hodgepodge of crap with a few diamonds mixed in.

Having said that, the diamonds are nice, even though you have to wade through poop to get to them.

May 4, 2010 at 1:10 pm
(73) Matt Bertram says:

Good article. A word of caution, one must always be vigilant to find the projects that will pay. I am building a service to help freelancers locate the jobs that “will most likely convert into paying jobs”. I think this blog’s audience will find value in this post and not think it is spam.
I want to understand the frustrations of freelancers and at the end of the day make a service for them. If this touches a cord, please visit my site http://www.Kiysa.com and leave feedback telling me your story and how we can make your life easier. Also if you would be willing to have a 20 min phone conversation, please say so.

November 10, 2010 at 7:05 am
(74) Starter says:

i have one question…

as a newbie/starter what should be the Minimum Hourly rate.. any Idea?

November 13, 2010 at 4:06 pm
(75) freelancewrite says:

at the lowest lowest 20 an hour. and that’s brand newbie with little experience living in massive low COL area.

November 16, 2010 at 2:36 am
(76) tequila sunrise says:

Messrs E-Lance, you are awesome. Read comments above. Maybe you’re watch’n all. As long as you do not hit me on the knee and make me an invalid, that is okay. That shocks. Keep some money for you, and give me some, that’s enough. Fair share provided tht’s a fair share. Pleae repeat for all. How is your fair share, working for us. That’s the way it goes? or, else, I just want it the way it goes with me. “Sleep”!

January 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm
(77) Tasos says:

I came here looking for opinions on Elance. I’m not a writer, I’m thinking about using it for buying content. Unfortunately, reading through some of the poster’s comments here, I can’t believe anyone would pay them to write anything.

When complaining about not getting enough for your writing, it would help if your post was well written.

January 9, 2011 at 8:46 pm
(78) Mitchman says:

kcwriter – you do realize you give out your bank account number every time your write a check don’t you? I’d say you passed up a job on that one.

February 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm
(79) MyRemoteAid says:

Wow, I have yet to actually try Elance, I signed up with them but that is as far as I got…..I myself have had the most luck on vWorker, aka RentaCoder. I have landed many long-term employers, unfortunately there isn’t enough needed work on a consistent basis to make it work for full-time income. I honestly haven’t bid on a job there in quite some time, I guess I became bummed at the lack of quality jobs and did not want to sift through them all to find the good ones. I have however found a new bidding site I have had luck with so far. They recently launched so they are still working out a few tweaks here and there but I think they’re worth trying for awhile. It’s not like I don’t have the time to wait! http://www.a-task.com. They even have a live chat so if you have problems you can speak to someone on the spot instead of waiting for someone to email you. That reminds me, I must say I was quite shocked at how unprofessional some of the emails are that I have received from vWorker facilitators and the like…..shame shame

February 13, 2011 at 7:40 pm
(80) Donna says:

I haven’t tried Elance but I just looked at it because it was described in an article I was reading and I was curious. There is a job described as full-time, requesting someone who will be available 40 hours per week via Skype to write something like 10 articles. The pay is $75. For the WEEK. That’s $2.00 an hour!

February 17, 2011 at 2:52 am
(81) Jobsfor10$ says:

In today’s very dynamic and ever changing labor market, there is more than just the conventional 9 to 5 job. There are a lot of options to work at home, doing exactly what you like, at your own price. Some of these solutions are: Jobsfor$10, Elance, Odesk and others. I have tried them all, and I chose jobsfor10$. The main advantages that Jobsfor10$ provides, by comparison to the other similar options, are:
– you can find very specific services (example: 70 High Backlinks from sites with PR6-8, 35,000 Traffic Visitors To Your Website, submit your site to 230 Plus Search Engines, 2 ebook cover design, upload, install, and configure any script for your website, write a best 300 word above article on any subject , etc)
- The prices are low ($5 – $10 – $20)
- The work and payment are 100% guaranteed
- There is no negotiation, as the prices are fixed
- The signup process is very lean and easy
- The website has a very smart services ranking service, that allows the customer to make the best informed choice

March 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm
(82) Michael Mangalam says:

If you are looking to hire business consultant types, check out ParetoCentral.com, which is the “Global marketplace to find consultants”. It works similar to craigslist, except that each listing gets global exposure. At the same time, consultants tend to be from US.
- Michael

April 4, 2011 at 1:04 pm
(83) Jerry McFlash says:

So many idiot freelances writers out there. They can take low hours because they are living abroad… they speak english in india? No s…..

May 7, 2011 at 11:29 am
(84) cj says:

Actually in some parts, yes. Pay is lower in India.

April 18, 2011 at 6:11 pm
(85) Kristine M Smith says:

Elance’s newest policy change–to disallow buyers and providers to interact to clarify project descriptions so providers can determine whether they’re a good fit BEFORE they pay a connect fee–is Elance’s death knell. Elance is now a middleman that will not even allow the two parties to talk to each other unless a connect fee is extended.

This wouldn’t be a big deal IF Elance helped buyers write adequate, complete project descriptions, but they don’t, so MOST PDs lack essential details that a provider needs to know in order to bid reliably.

Elance is getting greedier while doing less than ever before. It takes forever to find decent PDs that are complete enough to bid on.

Elance needs a serious competitor. Any suggestions? Anybody want to take ‘em on and out-do them by actually providing a SERVICE, and not just a middleman’s money oasis?

If so, let me know. I’m ready to go with a grown up site that “gets” what it is they’re suppposed to be doing online.

The need exists. Elance is just shirking its responsibilities to both providers and buyers–and that’s a shame.

April 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm
(86) Mike says:

What is quck?

May 18, 2011 at 10:29 pm
(87) Nicole says:

I’ve been writing for Demand Media, and it’s great so far! You do have to apply, but if you are accepted as a writer or editor, you can do as many articles as your time allows. http://www.demandstudios.com

June 4, 2011 at 5:56 am
(88) Niladri says:

Elance has made me a “content laborer”, and not a content writer. To have any realistic chance of making a living, I have to bid really low, and take on at least 3-4 projects every week. Unless I have bulk jobs, I cannot earn enough to live decently at those prices. Of course, I cannot write all that myself. So, I have to hire others. Now, since I am not getting paid well, I can’t pay well too, and so, I have to settle for lower-quality writers. But strangely, even though the clients are paying low money, they still expect high-quality work. And thus, I end up spending 20 hours a day editing, writing, or re-writing. All I do is work – there’s not much anything else in my life. And I don’t even earn enough money. I don’t know where I am heading.

August 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm
(89) Taylor says:

After getting laid off in 2009, I started freelancing on elance and it has been awesome for me and my family.

I have tried odesk and vworker, but I tend the best clients on elance.

September 16, 2011 at 10:24 am
(90) Sue says:

I am a retired English teacher, and I am interested in bidding for jobs as a line editior on elance. What pay rate would you suggest for such a job?

Thank you so much for your help.

September 18, 2011 at 3:36 pm
(91) Annie's not my real name says:

Hate, hate, hate Elance.

I foolishly signed up in the early days of my freelance career as I wasn’t sure how much regular work I’d get from my contacts.

Turns out I got plenty of work from my contacts and nothing but poorly-paid slave labor from Elance.

Now I’m stuck with an Elance profile I can’t remove – yes I tried “cancelling my account” but all the information is still there. Now my repuatation is, I feel, tarnished by the association with this cheap quality, labor mill. Avoid with a barge-pole if you intend to have a long-term career.

September 24, 2011 at 11:40 am
(92) freelancewrite says:

Annie- I highly doubt your reputation is tarnished by an old profile. Writers often start fro the bottom and work their way up. I can’t see it any other way. IF I Googled you and saw a print publication credit and an elance profile I would note your positive upward arc. Perfect.

September 23, 2011 at 7:19 pm
(93) Don says:

I fell into Elance for supplementary income to my regular job. The ‘real’ consulting firm I’d been working with and the day job began having too many conflicts of interest. I’m not a writer. Went in for architecture, urban design and GIS work. I landed several jobs out of the gate, at unappealing but acceptable rates.

After a month or so, the rates plummeted almost overnight. As with other posters’ experiences, rates were hitting 10% or less of market. After checking around, the most plausible explanation was overseas labor-houses. In GIS specifically, there was an Indian company that began undercutting all bids significantly, and landing a ton of work. I can only imagine a warehouse loaded with techs working for a couple bucks a day.

The Elance model is, IMHO, the future of workforces, sad to say. I can easily foresee careers and full-time employment give way to job parceling and global auctioning. Without systemic economic leveling mechanisms, our expensive North American talents may become the novelty or worse, the last resort.

The last decent paying work ended up being French-English translations; where one needs a human being that is fluent in order to understand syntax.

September 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm
(94) FormosaHoney says:

I am an linguist, translating from Mandarin into English and have searches set-up from ‘Indeed’ and ‘Simply Hired’ for translation opportunities. Initially, I was excited by the ‘project’ offered by Elance but then time after time they prove to offer wages only sustainable if you lived in a 3rd world country where the cost of living is a fraction of that of any 1st world economy.

I have since added to my search clause -NOT ELANCE to stop receiving junk offers from them.

Since Elance is a ‘all play’ system with low barrier of entry, the quality of the ‘bidders’ or the ‘offeree’ is not a consideration. This creates a unregulated sub-standard service environment.

If you are a seasoned writer at your prime, your time will be better served pursing work through a more regulated or better standard channel.

October 7, 2011 at 7:47 pm
(95) freelancewrite says:

excellent comment, thanks so much for your input.

October 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm
(96) John says:

Elance is crap.

I am telling you this, a well known provider in Elance that earned lots of money from it and been there for more than 5 years.

Guys working there are virtual labors with no life (because they get paid 50 $ for a project and have to work 2 weeks on it because the stupid client expects a pro job from the louzy 50 $ he will sometime pay.

This is crap.

Someone needs to pay them a lesson because they disserve it.

By the way when we filled a “want to cancel my cooperation with elance” NDA they almost kiss our big fat asses because only from us in 5 years they took 25.000.


They suck.

I said it.

October 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm
(97) Nuwan says:


I’m a video producer. Many of my friends working on local jobs. But I’m not. I started to work as a freelancer on e lance. Right know I earn my friends monthly salary within one or two weeks from home.

Because I’m from developing country. Elance is a great job platform for us. And also good for buyers from developed countries. They can get created a video for the few dollars. But It’s enough for us to live a week.

Elance is not for beginners many professionals work in elance from developing countries. Because we can earn more than our local job. But start is little bit hard.

It depends on the place you are living. Good or Bad!

October 26, 2011 at 6:50 pm
(98) sara says:

This company is a total SCAM. Elance promotes FREE LABOR!
Even though Elance guarantees the payment for jobs to its providers, it actually does nothing to protect its providers.
We had a client whom we designed a website and at the end he canceled the job on us, refused to pay us, and Elance has done nothing to protect us. We haven’t even been paid for the hours we spent on this project. I want a justice and I ‘ll do everything to get my money back!
I have every proof to show and prove everything I said here. I have no idea why no one tries to sue this company.

November 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm
(99) John Lyman says:

I forgot to add something to my previous post. If you’re an Elance contractor, save yourself pain by checking out the profile of the person hiring. Check to see if they’ve ever awarded any projects that they actually paid on. Check to see if they are actually an “employer” or really just a contractor posing as an employer. There’s a lot of people on Elance posting jobs that they really don’t have. In other words, they’re a contractor hoping to make a small commission by winning jobs then hiring someone else to do it, while they make (literally) a few bucks commission.
By all means check people out. If they’ve posted a ton of jobs and actually awarded or paid for one or two, that’s a bad sign. And make sure they’ve proven through Elance that they have the “escrow” or payment set up. If they don’t, they’re probably a waste of your time.

November 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm
(100) freelancewrite says:

I actually hire through elance myself and NEVER have the escrow set up, as MY clients don’t pay me until 30 or 60 days after the work. So yes, I’m hiring subcontractors, but I’m very legitimate- publishers love to give me bulk work that I simply cannot handle by myself.

December 17, 2011 at 4:08 am
(101) God Administrator says:

These fuck!ng site suck and they are scams cause i started the web design library 2 of them teaching people free knowledge including programers who use my shit all over the net for profit but its all open source.

dont waste ur time do some real life freelance so u can get paid,

January 10, 2012 at 9:17 am
(102) freelancewrite says:

Why are you teaching people how to do it themselves, instead of entering into a contract and getting paid to do it FOR them?

December 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm
(103) Steven Therualt says:

Elance is a great source of income, you just have to know your value and stick too it. I know most of you are on there for writing. I myself am a graphic artist. The key is numbers putting out a lot of bids. You will get a lot of regection. But realize that most people on there are unaware of true rates for quality work. And are just looking for someone to work on there project since they dont have access to professionals. It is your job as the provider to educate your client and give them an idea of the time involved and any cost to you to the project. I charge between $50-$75 per hour for my services and will not work for less. Of course the odd time there are large scope projects where I may work for say $40 per hour. But that is only in the case of volume. I charge a minimum of $50 for my time weither it is a 10 minute project or an hour. Just as a plumber charges a $50 minimum. So good luck everyone and just know your value dont let the bad experience and poor sales techniques of jaded providers sway you from success. Besides when you get good clients on elance you often get great referrals from outside the network. So even if you discounted slightly to compete and win your contract you can charge full rates to them.

December 23, 2011 at 8:57 pm
(104) freelancewrite says:

i had this same kind of luck and experience myself Steven. 1) Volume is key on those sites and 2) Stick to your rates.

March 8, 2012 at 5:56 pm
(105) roz says:

I have been told to apply on elance what i want to do .. publishing company advertise a lot of these sites esp for beginners .. BUT we are told to ensure that many of those who do this work r from poor back grounds & so our $ offer should be more than the monthly average . I f you are bidding for a job make it known to the person who is looking that you are not from a poor background in india & ask for what is your true value .Its 1 thing to say you are worth $60 a hr .. but is your work really that good … there are ghost writers who earn $60,000 per book … but they r excellent writers .. & considering that 80% of best sellers are ghost written not every one is in this position … you have to start somewhere & that often means at a lower rate .. if you don’t like the price .. then don’t accept the job .. the decision is entirely yours.

March 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm
(106) Lynn says:

I am new to Elance and have bid on jobs for Ghostwriting, Editing, and writing on heath-related subjects. However, I am finding that writing jobs are going to people less qualified than me, as they low bid jobs. I have a BS in Natural Health and Wellness, I write and teach self-emprovement workshops, and I am also a Certified Life Coach. I am a published Author, whose first novel was selected “book of the month,” in Woman’s Day Magazine just nine months after it was published. As far as people wanting help writing their book, fiction or non-fiction I would suggest they hire someone like me who really understands the writing and publishing game, not someone who apparently does it for a hobby or writes in other fields. Writing and editing a book is an emotional journey, not a business plan or writing a few articles for a blog, creating brochures for companies and writing copy. It’s hard work! I had a professional editor for my novel and it cost me $450.00, and I am glad I spent it because my book did not come out looking like a high school essay. He taught me everything I know. I just want to caution people who need a ghostwriter to hire someone who has actually written and published a book!

April 8, 2012 at 11:44 pm
(107) Ryan says:

ELANCE is a SCAM. The way in which they handle disputes is shameful. They work in collusion with an online arbitrator “Net-Arb” to give the appearance that issues are being handled fairly and unbiased. Unfortunately Net-Arb works directly for Elance. They are not a real company. They do not have a physical address and their decisions are made by one person, not a board or panel that they claim reviews the case. The decision is purposefully biased in favor of the programmer so that Elance can avoid having to refund money in escrow and retain their fee.

April 10, 2012 at 12:14 am
(108) freelancewrite says:

Isn’t there a mechanism whereby you can avoid releasing the fee if you’re not happy with the programmer? Then you wouldn’t get to arbitration point?

April 25, 2012 at 6:33 am
(109) Moi says:

Very informative! Check out staff.com – works like elance, too!

May 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm
(110) Roy says:

I am a website designer based in San Antonio,Texas. When I first heard of E-lance, I thought the idea was great. In theory you could build a couple of websites for less than you would normally charge and build up your portfolio. But after browsing through some of the offers, it was ridiculous what they wanted for the money.

It seemed that despite what they said, no one wanted what I would consider a simple website. Most of the job posters must not understand the technology and programming that was required for their “simple website” . $500 hundred dollars to create an e-commerce website with over 100 products is just way to low considering the amount of time this would take to program. In short it seemed everyone wanted the equivalent of a bespoke custom tailored suit for a WalMart price.

What I ended up doing and would recommend to other web designers who are starting out is to find a charity or worthwhile cause that either does not have a website, or has a poor website. Tell them that you are just starting out, offer to design them a website for free. Then people will know you as a ‘good guy who donated his skills to a local charity or non-profit’ I think you have a better chance of getting a referral from them than you do working for slave wages from someone you never met and most likely lives far removed from you.

Pick a local charity or an animal shelter something small and local. You will get bigger projects later on, but right now you need actual experience in dealing with clients, not just website designing. It helped me tremendously. Finding out how people prefer to get billed, what was important to them, etc.

If they do not have a website you should charge them around $20/month for hosting. You will end up spending around $5 a month, but it is worth it.
This is not a long term business model, this is just so a budding website designer can approach a ‘real’ client and have something to show.

Just my two cents, though.

May 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm
(111) Sajid says:

I am writing this, because to tell the users, what elance has done with me, I had elance id from last 5 years, with good ranking and 100% recommended profile, I have earned almost 10000$ in these years, and one day elance has suspended my account , by saying that my performance is less than 5% of the elance provider, while this was never been the case, as my ranking was 7, feedback was 4.9 more than 30 jobs completed, 100% recommended by all of my clients.

I have also contacted the elance support, but they said they can’t do any thing now, as your account is permanently suspended. I sent question to elance to to proof me how my account is less than 5%, because i can see more than 50% elance provider has less ranking/rating than me, and they are still active, but i did not receive any response from them.

Fortunately, I have taken the screen shots, before elance expired my account to access more, So I can also show that as my proof.

So my advise to all the service providers, who are using the elance or going to use the elance, do consider my case. As elance cheated with me and took my all earned money. So, i am in a nothing to do situation now, as my earned money as well as earned name to get work both has gone in vane.


May 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm
(112) Sajid says:

I am writing this, because to tell the users, what elance has done with me, I had elance id from last 5 years, with good ranking and 100% recommended profile, I have earned almost 10000$ in these years, and one day elance has suspended my account , by saying that my performance is less than 5% of the elance provider, while this was never been the case, as my ranking was 7, feedback was 4.9 more than 30 jobs completed, 100% recommended by all of my clients.

I have also contacted the elance support, but they said they can’t do any thing now, as your account is permanently suspended. I sent question to elance to to proof me how my account is less than 5%, because i can see more than 50% elance provider has less ranking/rating than me, and they are still active, but i did not receive any response from them.

Fortunately, I have taken the screen shots, before elance expired my account to access more, So I can show that as proof of my case.

So my advise to all the service providers, who are using the elance or going to use the elance, do consider my case. As elance cheated with me and took my all earned money. So, i am in a nothing to do situation now, as my earned money as well as earned name to get work both has gone in vane.


May 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm
(113) Waheed says:

After reading above comments, I would like to share my experience. I have done successful work on Elance and evantually started my own company based on Elance work.

Basically you are mixing two things here
1- Freelancing
2- Offshore development

Mostly buyers choose Elance for off shore development to get cost effectetive work. Otherwise Buyers can give an ad on any local Job site to get a local contractor.

I recomment that if you are US/UK freelancer then you should target only your local buyers. because no one else can pay you at your cost. You have to pay taxes, w9 forms etc. and that raises your costs.

For example if US writer is doing a work $60/hr then a off-shore writer can do that work on $20/hr. So it works for buyer and they keep posting work.

A US develoeper will make a simple website in $1000, While I can do that in $500 with nearly 40% profit for myself. because $1= Rs 90

Besides all this, even then you can get BIG and real BIG projects on Elance. BUT for that you must have 5/5 rating and a lot of experience on Elance. STAY in the system to REACH on top.

Don’t throw it out. Just keep doing possible projects with your current 8 hr job. One day a good project will make you to kick your Job, like I did.

I worked for 2 years with small projects on elance. Now I am having ratings 5/5 and 9th Level. I recive nearly 4-5 project invitations daily. No need to find job.

I hope it hepled you to understand Elance working.

June 12, 2012 at 11:08 am
(114) Rabia says:

Hey my account has been suspended because according to elance i violated some terms so how long will it to activate my account?

June 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm
(115) freelancewrite says:

Not sure, but they did that to me once and I was confused, so I wrote them. Turns out it was a mistake. Might wanna write them.

June 29, 2012 at 11:26 pm
(116) Shahinul Islam says:

Elance – a bad experience working, they suspend providers account without warn them about any policy violation ! So called Policy violation – takes serious action -Terminate Freelancer’s account when a freelancer works hard to make his/her profile better by all his/her hard work.

My advice – today or tomorrow you will get this experience, so try some other freelance website as a Plan B, and stop dependency on Elance.

July 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm
(117) freelancewrite says:

Hi Shahinul, I once had my Elance account suspended based on something I’d done accidentally, and they were very kind and fast in working with me to get it taken care of…. Have you tried communicating with them? What other sites do you recommend other than Elance? Any good experiences?

October 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm
(118) forElance says:

North America is having problems keeping people employed. The market is saturated with off shore services killing our local and smaller economies. Many industries are losing to sites such as Elance. There are many industries that are being hurt because of Internet networking via off shore services. Should sites like Elance be allowed to exist without regulations? Are you tired of sites such as and or like Elance. I shouldn’t have to tell you that Elance isn’t isn’t helping North America’s economies, right? I personally don’t know how to combat sites like Elance, maybe someone out there does? North Americans need to band together and take a stand against Elance and sites alike.
If you want to take a stand, if you want start a coalition that demands a higher ethical practice for business online, then email me, lets band together and undo this monster before its too late.

October 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm
(119) freelancewrite says:

Interesting thoughts Johnny Thunder. But I feel as if fighting against a global economy is likely a losing battle. Recent updates to Google’s algorithm that punish crappy site content might help even out the playing field, as often the ESL writers- despite a lot of practice- aren’t providing the high-end work needed for websites these days.

October 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm
(120) ForElance says:

I made a whopping 40$ from Elance, after posting 55 bids. My bids were very competitive and actually embarrasing considering I am an educated professional and have ten years of experience. I spent hours setting up my profile and bidding in jobs, I spent 20$ for 40 bid credits. It costs the contractor 25$ for out of country wire transfers, so this means I spent 20$, and made 40$ and in order to get it out if escrow I must spend 25$, so I really only made 15$, minus the amount of time i put into seeking work and setting up the profile im in the hole for a few hundred dollars. My Hrly rate was an embarrassing $16.00. I had one of the two clients I had tell me my rate was too high. This client which hired me to copy someone’s work (that was the job). I told this particular client I would do the job for free in order to secure a future working relationship. Of course the client agreed (after telling me they chose somone else with a lower rate). Its been almost two weeks since that job, do you think ive heard from that client again? Nope. The other job was only awarded because I did the job before it was awarded and presented it to the potential client and they bought it, again it was a simple project that required me to copy another persons work and modify it. As I neared the end of my 55 bid credits I was awarded a job from a Canadian client, as soon as I could I asked him if we could do business outside if Elance, thankfully he agreed. I’m in the midst of deleting my account with Elance, in my experience its nothing but a bunch of cheap skates looking to exploit people. Elance and the majority of employers posting jobs on Elance are nothing more than theives. I wouldn’t be surprised if its operated by a crime ring. People who sign up their are only hurting themselves and local industry. Unfortunately I didn’t realise this until after my experience on Elance.

October 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm
(121) bernard says:

Hi, i am developing a website and one section will have freelancers. I have some very interesting comments here, so need your sound advice?

My first tough is a payment system where no gets con out of their money, escrow, or if you guys know of better service? Should i have minimum of 10usd on fixed price projects? What do both contractors and clients want on such a site?

So any help at all would be very grateful, and this is only one section of my job site.

December 23, 2012 at 9:10 pm
(122) lydia says:

Yeah, i should say everybody gets his own point of view, for those who hold prejudice on freelance, they may think money is low and have respectabiltiy problem.So just quit it! why still care about that since you dont like freelance? But for those who dont live on freelance and just get a pittance by freelance, i think its a smart choice to try on freelance websites when you have time and got interesting job.Elance is not the best site and neither for other same sites. But people always find their favorite.Like me , i prefer Witmart.

December 27, 2012 at 3:58 am
(123) Raymon says:

I always emailed this weblog post page to all my friends, for the reason
that if like to read it next my friends will too.

January 16, 2013 at 6:44 pm
(124) Tsumig says:

Elance is a company who tries to control freelancers all over the world; they do not have live phone support for most issues. We had a project which we have completed and Elance put a hold on to our account to withdraw money until we completed another project while we are on holidays. Aren’t this Elance’s hands on our business? How come they ask us to employ people while we are on holidays, and holding the money for a completed project?
Elance is a place where you can go to kill your whole reputation within hours. They have policies only to protect their commission but not the interest of the Freelancers. They do not think that their survival is completely dependent on freelancers work. If there are no freelancers, they won’t be there to control our businesses.
On the other hand there are so many buyers who do not pay and vanish. E lance do not have a control over them to settle our money. We have lost more than $30000 worth of work which has never been paid by the buyer.
This is a disaster for any Freelancing business.

January 17, 2013 at 11:26 am
(125) freelancewrite says:

I appreciate your perspective on elance, and certainly understand how you feel.

February 19, 2013 at 8:39 am
(126) Dave says:

As someone looking to hire professional help, for financial survival reasons I am looking for skills at a good value. It’s difficult to tell if someone can (and actually will) deliver what they promise. The challenge is to find a balance between a working wage for the service provider at a cost that leaves room for profit (or at least will not break the budget).

I’ve been burned before hiring work at at an hourly rate and I’ve been promised skills the provider couldn’t deliver. Some people are great talkers with no self-discipline, stamina or follow-through. As an professor once told a group of dilitante would-be painters in his class, “Painters paint, writers write and dancers dance.” What I took from that is: even artists and nerds have to produce regardless of the trendy job label they adorn themselves with.

The work ethic is in doubt which is why I’m reluctant to offer more money. I believe some of this may be because the well is clouded by fast talking and unethical operators from developing countries. Perhaps it is desperation or perhaps is a language barrier (I suspect the latter is often used to conceal the former). Regardless, it sounds like there is room in the market for a competitor to eLance and oDesk – one that is more proactive in screening out the riffraff.

February 19, 2013 at 10:23 am
(127) freelancewrite says:

Hmm, I know both platforms have several smaller competitors. But they seem to attract MORE lowball contractors. I appreciate your perspective, too, as an employer on bid platforms. Thank you for commenting.

February 19, 2013 at 9:02 am
(128) Steve says:

I’m coming off a bewildering week of trying to hire a programmer to help my organization with our website. I’ve gotten tons of cut-and-paste “proposals” from outfits on eLance.com that obviously haven’t even taken time to read the job posting.

This project is going to take quite a bit of back and forth dialogue to achieve our goals so communication is important. Yet the English is choppy and I’m less than comforted by the prospect of entering into ANY agreement with shifty operators. At the same time, there are those too who seem to want to retire on one project. Doesn’t anyone think past the next paycheck such as in building a portfolio of relationships?

Can a balance to be found?

February 19, 2013 at 10:21 am
(129) freelancewrite says:

What a wonderful perspective for us contractors, to hear about this from your POV. I do tell people to always put together a unique proposal. At the same time, I believe that what you see in the mass-produced proposals is a result of the need to apply to jobs in volume. If you’re finding work via elance, I’ve found maybe a 2%-7% success rate in getting awarded jobs.

February 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm
(130) John says:

Elance is excellent opportunity but have one lethal problem: they always take client side when a dispute arise…. there are bad clients that want “free” work and there always be so knowing that I got protection against those clients is vital so at the end there is no “real” guarantee payment on elance if the client want to skip payment he/she simply can !!!

February 25, 2013 at 11:06 am
(131) freelancewrite says:

I’m sorry to hear that, John. It seems to me that if you could try to work with companies and organizations, versus individuals, you may have a better experience, as companies need to keep their reputation clean and would not (hopefully) put it in jeopardy by nonpayment.

February 26, 2013 at 8:33 am
(132) Bob says:

Elance is taking the professional services industry wage ranges to the poverty level. The sad thing is there are people willing to work for nearly nothing. Elance creates an environment that takes advantage of those desperately in need of work, which in itself is a needed service, but not one to that is economically sustainable for those providing the services.

February 28, 2013 at 10:54 am
(133) freelancewrite says:

I hear you, Bob!

February 26, 2013 at 9:33 am
(134) wewew says:

I have been working with elance and I love it very much.
However, My elance account has been suspended and I don’t know why.
I am afraid they won’t reactivate it and I have already been paid some cash.
I am unable to withdraw.
I am also afraid to continue with other projects since they might suspend it permanetly.
Does anyone has an idea how long it can take for them to reactivate it?

February 28, 2013 at 10:53 am
(135) freelancewrite says:

I’m sorry to hear that. Have you tried their help page and contacting them?

February 26, 2013 at 10:57 am
(136) Piotr says:

Dear All,
I am a student making mine project from the course related to ICT consultancy.
Mine task now is to:
–find out what are the leading software development platforms for implementing mobile phone based services
–estimate the costs of implementing a relatively complex mobile phone based service

I would like to ask people like you, to help me with collecting some information for it.

Could you please send me a message containing proposed platforms for implementing mobile phone based services and estimated cost for such service ?
Maybe you can tell price for an hour in such project or general price for whole project.
If you decide to give a job like this where would you post your offer ?
Where should I look for the best programers and where for the cheapest developer ?

All information will be collected together and presented during class talk. Names and other information will be not shown, therefore all of you will stay anonymous. Collected data will be not transferred or send for some public services.

More information about implemented system :
The system has a relatively complex graphical user interface, including business reports that contain various types of graphs (pie charts, line charts etc).

The system needs to have the following capabilities:
- Login view
- View for listing documents (the documents are fetched from a server)
- View for opening documents (fetched from a server) from the list
- View for showing graphical reports that contain some business graphs,
such as pie charts and line charts (all the necessary information is
generated on a server, the mobile application has to only be able to
show the reports, not generate them)

Thank you very much for your help !
Best Regards !
Piotr Nord

February 28, 2013 at 10:53 am
(137) freelancewrite says:

1) No, I cannot do your work for you.
2) I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about.
3) The only reason I didn’t spam your comment is because I don’t want you banned from About.com comments

March 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm
(138) Paunovic says:

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.

April 3, 2013 at 4:55 pm
(139) freelancewrite says:

Would you mind if I turned your story into a blog post about Elance? it might get their attention a bit.

April 21, 2013 at 5:40 am
(140) Doreen says:

Just FYI:

I just tried the site “Interviewhelper” and got a message saying that it was a known attack page.

June 4, 2013 at 10:25 pm
(141) Crystal Yorker says:

I am a college student, and I use freelance work as a way to help pay for my expenses. There are never any jobs available for students at my school, so I had to be creative. I wasn’t particularly impressed with sites like odesk because it takes forever to get work and the fees are kinda rediculous. I’ve been able to easily make an extra $100 to $200 a week just in my spare time between classes at http://www.workersoncall.com. For me, its the perfect way to be productive and help reduce my student loans! I defnitely recommend them!

June 13, 2013 at 3:21 am
(142) Ryan Peter says:

I think the biggest problem with Elance and sites like it are the sub-contractors. Ultimately, it’s them pulling the pricing down, because they’re acting as middle-men on a middle-man platform. It gets even worse when someone acts as a middle-man for a middle-man on the middle-man platform – the cost is diluted several times!

I’ve made it a general rule that I will not work for sub-contractors. Unless the pricing is good, which is a very rare case.

June 17, 2013 at 11:42 pm
(143) WebEminence says:

I’ve used many providers on Elance and while Elance can’t guarantee the performance of it’s providers, they give people all the tools to evaluate providers and make payments safe with their escrow services.

I created a video walkthrough of posting a project on elance if anyone is interested. You can find it here: http://webeminence.com/outsource-web-design-elance/

July 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm
(144) Nermeen says:

Yeah I do agree, Elance fills up my free time and you can earn some money and just work in your free time. My experience with elance is good, I have been working there for a couple of month now and its nice. Although I do think hourly rate is getting lower and lower, I am still managing to make a good amount of money on Elance.

I have written my experience and some tips for Elance jobs.Please check it, I would love to hear different experiences.

July 30, 2013 at 8:09 am
(145) Hilllary says:

I’ve found a few well paying gigs from Elance. For some reason though, it goes in spurts. I go a month without winning any proposals, then all of a sudden I get three at once. It’s hard not to get discouraged sometimes, yet the gigs I’ve gotten from Elance are the ones that pay the bills!

July 31, 2013 at 9:16 pm
(146) Lee says:

Elance is only slightly related to a true bid posting site. In reality they act as a general contractor at best, and a temporary employment agency at worst. They allow private comments from the buyers, with no recourse for the providers, assign an arbitrary rating system that controls the recommendations they make, exert control over most everything you do, and take a 9% cut of any wages for doing it on top of their connect fees. If a job doesn’t have hours reported each week or the milestones are extending past the delivery date they ding your rating for it, even if its the buyers doing. They stay just far enough out of actually controlling the work product and hiring to avoid paying U.S. taxes. It’s legal, but barely. There are some good paying gigs on there but they are few and far between.

August 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm
(147) freelancewrite says:

So interesting. I admit I’ve not used Elance in quite a while, so I have the following questions/thoughts:
1) What do you mean by “private comments” from the employer? As in, the writer can’t SEE them, or?
2) Re: the arbitrary rating system- don’t the ratings come from the buyers? Not from elance?
3) “they ding your rating”- again, I thought the rating comes from the buyer?

August 3, 2013 at 4:38 am
(148) Fahad says:

Well Elance is one of the most pathetic freelancing portal I have ever come across,,, It seemd like few bunch of wankers are trying to steal money form people..

Hit Odesk Guys …. Elance is just Shittttttttttttttt.

August 6, 2013 at 12:42 pm
(149) freelancewrite says:

You do have to be choosy re: the projects/people you take on. When I used it at the beginning of my career I would concentrate on taking work only from companies as opposed to individuals.

September 27, 2013 at 2:49 pm
(150) The Banker says:

I was a Marketing Director for a medium sized company with a tiny marketing department and an even smaller budget. Elance was a fantastic resource for us in getting large volumes of work done for cheap.

Now I work as an independent contractor through Elance. One of the first jobs I secured as a contractor was blog writing for $200 a week. This only took me two weeks to find.

From being on both sides of Elance maybe I can be of some help. As an employer the more tedious the work, the more time it takes. Usually this work isn’t complicated and we aren’t willing to shell out much money to have it completed. However, when something requires expertise or is complex “paying for what you get” matters.

To put it simply, you’re never going to beat out the guy who wants to do the simple work for pennies. Even if you think this work is complex and he’s low balling the offer which gets accepted; look at the situation. A) did you want to do the work that cheap? No. B) if that employer paid that much for the work did you wanna work for them anyway? No. C) the contractor is probably going to provide shit work for cheap, even if it’s good he’s undervaluing himself which is something you, as a self respecting contractor, won’t do!

So get a skill, learn something complicated that provides immense value. Even if you’re just out of college get a good skill under your belt and DON’T SETTLE FOR CRAPPY RATES. Someone out there will pay good market value for your work if you show them you can deliver value. They will be willing to pay for quality and you’ll be willing to work at that rate. These relationships exist, you just can’t settle for anything less or it’s a slippery slope.


April 6, 2014 at 6:51 am
(151) _______________ says:

Wow, this post is good, my sister is analyzing these things, therefore I
am going to tell her.

My website: <a href=”http://www.dome999.com”>_______________</a>

April 23, 2014 at 10:52 pm
(152) Pasquale Procell says:

It really is just wonderful how ladies of today like Beth Harwell are dedicated in the direction of their profession and become successful within their discipline of expertise.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.