In a phrase, Elance is a strong choice of marketplace for programmers, designers and writers. I recommend Elance for small and medium businesses who need specialised design or development work.
Before you choose Elance, here are the key things you need to know.
First, Elance is good for IT/Programming, Design and Writing tasks. It has a strong community of skilled freelancers who have a good track record. I particularly recommend Elance for these types of work.
Second, consider the type of work. Particularly if you are seeking unskilled workers (like data entry, data categorisation/tagging, audio/video transcription), you’ll find much larger marketplaces for workers elsewhere.
Third, I really like Elance’s collaboration model. You share a workspace with your freelancers, which can be used to communicate, collaborate and share work. It also comes with 2GB of data storage. This is much better than the email/skype/instant messaging used by other crowdsourcing providers.
Finally, the escrow system with Elance is very good. You pay upfront, and the money is held in trust by Elance. When milestones are met, and you’re happy with the work, these funds are released to the freelancer. This works well to minimise risk for everybody.
In summary, I recommend Elance for small/medium businesses and entrepreneurs who need specialised freelance work.
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Freelancer profiles, Shared Workroom, Escrow service - pay for work only when milestones are met, Financial controls (work authorisation, user permissions, contract management), Legal protection (intellectual property and ownership rights), Compliance with tax and labor laws (VAT compliance, Tax filing options, Insurance), Spend analytics
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