One of the most common places people go to outsource work are freelance websites like eLance or oDesk. These places have thousands of freelancers ready and waiting to do exactly the kinds of projects you’re looking to outsource. That said however, there are some major benefits and some major drawbacks to using eLance and/or oDesk.
Here are some of the main pros and cons of using freelancer marketplaces.
==> Con: Most True A Players Aren’t On There
You won’t find the world’s best writers or the world’s best programmers on these sites.
Instead, you’ll tend to get people who’re at the beginning of their careers or are doing projects as their side job. You may also find a lot of outsourcers from developing countries.
If you’re looking to hire the best, these sites may not be the best place to look.
==> Pro: Escrow & Security Systems
These sites all have feedback systems so you can figure out which freelancers have a strong reputation.
They also all have escrow systems, which allow you to protect your money from fraud.
==> Con: Lower Commitment to Professionalism
If you’re dealing with someone you met from a business networking event, you may very well (correctly) expect a certain level of professional conduct.
On the other hand, on freelancer websites it’s not uncommon for freelancers to be late on projects, to miss milestones or to take a long time to get back to you.
==> Pro: Easy to Use Systems
If you had to go out into the world to find freelancers without these kinds of boards, you’d probably have to do quite a lot of work.
Perhaps you’d meet them in person. Perhaps you’d do it through your network. Perhaps you’d do it through websites you find on Google.
Whatever the case is, you’ll simply have to put in a lot more work. With freelancer marketplaces, they’re all in one place.
==> Con: Communication Gaps
Freelancer websites don’t allow you to trade phone numbers, Skype contacts or any other means of contact. They want to make sure freelancers don’t make private payment agreements offline.
As a result, it can sometimes be quite difficult to co-ordinate complex projects on these kinds of sites.
Note that eLance does have their own video / voice chat system on their system now.
==> Pro: Inexpensive
Hiring a freelancer on eLance or oDesk is usually quite affordable. The primary reason is competition.
In order to win a job on these sites, freelancers have to bid against other freelancers. Therefore, they try to put in the most competitive bid they possibly can.
These are some of the main pros and cons to using freelancer marketplaces. If you’re willing to put in more work and want to hire the best, you’re better off seeking them out on your own. On the other hand, if you want ease and affordability, then these systems are a great resource.