Odesk vs. Elance – Where should you oursource?

Published On January 25, 2014 | By Morten Storgaard | Working online

Odesk vs. Elance – Outsource your work

A good way to get more time and free some resources is to outsource some of your workload. A good place to start is Elance and Odesk.

The two sites are very similar, but lets try and sum up the similarities and differences, to make it easier to get an overview.

Elance vs. Odesk - What's the difference?

Elance vs. Odesk – What’s the difference?

Feature list comparison

Start feeNoNo
Fee pr project10%8,75%
Can the Odesk / Elance fee be refunded if contract is terminated?NoNo
Hour-based projectsYesYes
Fixed-price projectsYesYes
Dispute assistanceYesYes
Pre InterviewYesYes
Freelancers payment delay for hour-based projects30 days
(Less than $100: 6 months)
Freelancers payment delay for fixed-price projects30 days30 days
Can freelancers Subcontract other freelancers for a job?NoNo
Can freelancers quit during a hour-based project?Yes, and client must pay for hours spent.Only if client agrees.

Click here to read more over at Elance and Odesk.

4 Tips on how to get success with Elance and Odesk

We have tried to gather some of the common mistakes people make, when starting to outsource their work to Odesk and Elance.

1) Be specific and get help

When trying to hire the perfect programmer for your website, be sure to prepare well and communicate clearly.

If you are defining a task for a programmer, you need to be as specific as possible. Include screenshots, examples, links etc. to help the other part really understand, what you are looking for.

And try to see if you can find a person, who can help you define the project. Preferably someone with expertise in the field, but if you can’t find that a good friend will do.

Just do your best to avoid any confusion, the clearer you define the task, the better and more serious offers you will get.

2) Be aware of cultural differences

This part is very important. I have personally hired graphical designers and programmers in both Eastern Europe and Asia, and I have learned a lot about cultural differences the hard way.

Tips for outsourcing your work

Tips for outsourcing your work

Some eastern countries have an unwritten law about not saying the word “No” to strangers and especially people above you in an organization.

This means e.g. that you might ask a guy from Pakistan something like: “Can you finish this task in 1-2 weeks?” – and he will feel obligated to say yes, simply because to him it would be very impolite to say no.

Instead you should rephrase your question into something you cannot answer with a Yes/No. The former question could be rephrased to: “How long do you think this task will take?” and he will give you a much more usefull answer.

A great guide here is a small App called “Cultural Compass“. It will compare your two countries, and show you what to be aware of. Great tool I wish I had discovered before starting to hire freelancers around the world!

You can get it here for Android, and just search for “Culture Compass” in Apple Appstore to get it on your iPhone / iPad.

Elance - working freelance oDesk - Frelancer


3) Don’t set the price too low

Try setting a realistic price. If you price the project too low you might end up with a result you cannot use. If the other person feel like you are too stingy, he/she might not do his/her best.

4) Start with simple tasks

A lot of people go wrong here and try to develop the new facebook with a guy you have never met. It is much better to start with simple tasks, and maybe try several freelancers before deciding who to use for a big project.

Spend some time developing an understanding for the process, and be aware that sites like Elance and Odesk have a lot of very good freelancers, as well as some less talented – or maybe just not a very good fit for you.

Want more tips for working on the road? Check our Resource Page.

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