One of oDesk's main competitors is Elance.com. Employers who use Elance must pay a one-time fee of $10.00. In addition, employers who use Elance must choose a membership plan to get started. Employers can chose from on of four membership plans. Elance does offer a free plan, but the free plan is very limited. The plans range in price from $10-$40 per month. oDesk does not charge employers any money to use any of oDesk's services.
Like oDesk, Elance earns the majority of its revenues directly from employees who are hired. Elance takes less of a cut from an employee earnings than oDesk. Elance only takes anywhere from 6.75% and 8.75% of payments made to employees. Whereas, oDesk takes 10%. The Sevice Fee Elance charges is based on how much relationships generate. The standard service fee for relationships less than $10,000 is 8.75% and the discounted service fee for relationships that exceed $10,000 is 6.75%.
Clearly, the employee is not going to part with as much of his or her money if he or she secures a job through Elance.com. Whereas, employers will pay more by using Elance.com. In comparison, employers do not have to spend any money to use any of oDesk's features or post a job. Even if employers opt to create a free membership on Elance.com, they will still have to pay a one-time fee of $10.00. In addition, if employers ever need to upgrade their membership level on Elance they will wind up paying anywhere from $10-$40.00 USD per month. Employers will save more money using oDesk.
Freelancer.com is oDesk's other competitor. Freelancer.com charges a little bit less than Elance for its memberships. As stated earlier, oDesk does not charge employers. Like oDesk, Freelancer charges employees 10% of their total earnings. Employees only pay after getting paid.
When comparing to oDesk to Elance.com and Freelancer.com, it is clear that oDesk provides a superior service for less money to employers.
By creating an account, employees will be able to find work and earn money. Companies and service firms that are looking to find work for a team of contractors can also create an account. Creating an account is easy to do and just requires an e-mail address. oDesk sends an e-mail to your registered e-mail account requesting that you verify that the e-mail address is yours. Once you click on a link in the e-mail you can proceed to the next step.
Contractors have the option of watching a 1:35 minute long video of how to create a profile. In addition, there are many frequently asked questions that contractors can review if they have any initial questions.
How It Works
From the home page of the website, there is a link to the How It Works page. The How It Works page can be viewed by both employers and contractors, but it is written for employers who are interested in hiring contractors. Contractors may find the How It Works page useful, but the page was not written for contractors. There are three pages linked to the How It Works page. Both employers and contractors can read the In a Nutshell page. The In a Nutshell page provides a brief summary of how oDesk can be used by employers. Like the How It Works page, the In a Nutshell page was not written for contractors. Links to other pages with additional information can be accessed from the In a Nutshell page. All of the additional pages were written to provide information to employers not contractors.
Employers can access information on oDesk's unique Work Diary System and its Automated Billing and Payment System from the In a Nutshell page. Who Uses oDesk, The oConomy and FAQ can be accessed from the How It Works page. These pages were written for employers not contractors.
oDesk Work Diary System
oDesk provides a solution called a Work Diary System that allows employers to remotely monitor their workers as they work, so they only pay for the time that contractors are actually working on the project they have been hired for. Employers do not have to pay for the use of this service. With oDesk's centralized Work Diary System, employers can monitor contractors working on their project as they work. Employers can monitor each contractor's activity level and status messages from the Team Room. In addition, employers can provide feedback to contractors in real-time.
Employers can use the oDesk Work Diary System to monitor all of their contractors. Employers do not have to hire contractors from oDesk to use its system. Employers can monitor the day-to-day activities of contractors without being obvious. In addition, employers are also guaranteed that they are only paying for time that contractors are actively working on their projects. In addition, the oDesk Work Diary System is also an excellent resource for contractors because it automatically keeps track of time working on a project.
Automated Billing and Payment
What is terrific about oDesk's website is that employers can use the automated payment feature to pay contractors. Everything down to the time spent on the project and the details of who needs to be paid is provided automatically to the employer, so there can be no mistake as to who has to be paid and how much. All of the work perfromed by each contractor is time verified through the Work Diary System.
Who Uses oDesk?
This page can be accessed by both employers and contractors. However, it was written to for employers and not contractors. Employers can read testimonials of other employers who have used oDesk. Employers have written very positive reviews about oDesk.
The oConomy page provides very specific logistical and earnings information. The overall earnings was up to $242, 584,710 and continued to increase while I was on that page. In addition, there were a total of 1,720 workers online and a total of 2,363 jobs posted in the past 24 hours.
Employers have access to vast amounts of information, including but not limited to the going rate for contractors and links to the best contractors in a variety of specialties. Employers can access information on freelance designers, freelance software developers, freelance writers, top ranked agencies and top ranked countries. In addition, there are links to all the featured countries where work is outsourced to. Currently, work is outsourced to Canada, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia and the Ukraine. Work to contractors located in the United States is homeshored. The oConomy page provides useful information to both employers and contractors.
POST A JOB and FIND A JOB Buttons
Post a job and find a job buttons are located on the oConomy. These buttos make it easy for employers to get started and create an account. In addition, there are sign in and create an account buttons throughout. The How It Works Page provides links to the Frequently Asked Questions page with a list of questions that both employers and contractors may have.
From The Main Menu
Employers interested in hiring contractors should visit the Hire page. Employers can automatically browse through the profiles of thousands of contractors by category or skills. Employers can select contractors in the following categories: web development, writing & translation, customer service, software developers, administrative support, sales, marketing and customer service. Employers can also select contractors by selecting from different skill sets. The skill sets listed are: programming, databases, mobile, systems administrator, application servicers, platforms, design/graphics, concepts and other categories. When an employer searches by other categories or by skills, oDesk specifies how many contractors are available in any particular category. Out of curiosity, I selected the .net contractors under the programming and found profiles to 22,838 contractors. Employers also have the option of searching for contractors by entering key words into a box at the top right corner of the website.
The "Find Work" Page
Contractors can use the Find Work page to search for jobs in the same way that employers can search for contractors. Contractors looking for work can choose to search for jobs by category or skills. I performed a search for programming jobs under .net and found 362 available jobs for that skill set.
Both employers and contractors can use the filter results boxes to sort through search resuls and pinpoint what they are looking for.
Filter Results Box - Employers
Employers searching for qualified contractors can filter through thousands of results simply by checking off what they are looking for. Employers can search by category, by rating (contractor ratings), feedback score for contractors, hourly rates and minimum number of billed hours. Employers can also pinpoint contractors they are interested in hiring by reviewing tests contractors have taken, what country or countries contractors are from, contractor type, last activity and English level.
Filter Results Box - Contractors
The filter results box for contractors is much different than the filter results box for employers. Contractors can filter results by either searching for jobs that pay by the hour or offer a fixed rate. Contractors can also sort through jobs and search for part-time and full-time work. Contractors can also search for jobs postings that are on an as-needed basis (less than 10 hours per week) or by duration. In addition, contractors can also review employers ratings and learn how many people have been hired for a particular job.
"Odesk is definitely a great opportunity to work from home temporarily after you just lost your job or just looking to supplement your income. I like this company because freelancers are paid hourly and can work according to their availablity. I post work from home opportunities regularly on my site and highly recommend Odesk to all of my readers."
There are plenty of places to find people to outsource your web development tasks (or become a freelancer yourself), but Odesk is one of my favorites...