Benefits for Businesses that Need Freelancers

Like the Business & Industrial area, eLance brings businesspeople together. In this case, services such as writing, design, accounting, and consulting are being traded rather than tools, photocopiers, or other objects. Businesses that have projects they need done by outsiders make those projects available on eLance. On the other side of the equation, freelancers who are looking for work market themselves and bid on projects.

Suppose, for instance, you need to have a logo designed for your company. (Web page creation and graphic design are, in fact, two of the most popular services "sold" on eLance.) Here's how the system would work for you:

1. Open an eLance account so you can send payments to service providers or pay transaction fees. 13

2. Post a description of your project online (see Figure 13-5). You either solicit bids or offer the project at a fixed "Buy Now" price.

3. Freelance service providers post bids—sometimes, within hours or even minutes of the project going online. You review the bids and check on the providers' bids, feedback ratings, and sample work.

4. You can ask bidders questions by posting messages on eLance's private message boards. You then choose the freelancer you want based on the individual's qualifications and the amount of the bid.

5. The service provider does the work; when the work is done eLance charges the selected freelancer a transaction fee of 8.75 percent of either the invoiced amount of the job or the original bid amount (whichever is greater). You use eLance's billing and payment services to complete the transaction.

Only invited service Select Level Project providers can place bids

Only invited service Select Level Project providers can place bids

Basic Level Project

Only employer and Select Service Provider can view details

FIGURE 13-5

eLance projects are posted on lists organized by the type of service needed.

Basic Level Project

Only employer and Select Service Provider can view details

FIGURE 13-5

eLance projects are posted on lists organized by the type of service needed.

6. Once the project has been completed to your satisfaction, you post feedback about the quality of the work and of the freelancer. Your feedback then becomes part of the freelancer's overall feedback rating.

For employers, one of the big advantages of using eLance is the fact that you can draw upon a large pool of freelance service providers, and get competitive prices for the project you need done. You don't have to go out and seek professionals yourselves; rather, they come to you. Simply posting a job on eLance is free. When the bids come in, you don't need to pick anyone at all; you can decide not to use anyone's freelance services.

You can pay an extra listing fee to have your project listed at a Select Level rather than the plain old Basic Level listing. A Select Level listing can be bid on only by providers whose credentials have been verified by one of two third parties, US Search or Square Trade, so you're more likely to find someone who's reliable. You gain the opportunity to "pre-screen" providers by asking them three questions before a provider can bid on a job. However, you must place a refundable deposit of $25 in order to place a Select Level bid, and projects at the Select Level are subject to minimum bid requirements—$300for a graphic design job, $550for Web design and development, and so on. See the eLance Help files for more specific information.

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