Elance vs oDESK — another perspective

Outsourcing – Odesk Experiences vs. Elance

image After having a few bad freelance experiences (details here) with Elance.com I decided to look elsewhere for outsourcing certain web development tasks and research.

I have been using Odesk for a few weeks now and I can honestly say I like the service, the features, and the providers. The first thing I did when I created my account  was to sign up as a provider. I wanted to see what types of hoops a provider had to jump through in order to be listed.  The very first thing you must do is take a basic functionality and usability type of exam to ensure that you understand how Odesk functions. This was a painless although slightly annoying process but necessary in order to ensure basic understanding. Additionally, Odesk had other exams listed and recommended that I tak ea few in order to bolster confidence for my potential employer.


imageOdesk also offers internal testing and self evaluation for certain skills. Completing one of these exams adds ratings to your profile and I can tell you from experience that they aren’t a cake walk. Additionally, these are timed exams so you cant fake it by trying to Google the answers because you will likely run out of time. I consider myself knowledgeable in the network and systems security arena and I must say that the network security exam wasn’t easy. I expected it to have good questions but not tough ones and I would consider them to be a solid prescreening qualifier. However, there are those rare individuals that can pass any exam but have no practical experience and this is where the interview process and work portfolio comes into play.

Screening Candidates

imageAvoid the temptation to hire the candidate with the absolute lowest price. In my experience you will not be happy with the deliverable or perhaps an equally important factor, communication. Candidates with the lowest price may be trying to get a foot in the door and establish a reputation or they might just be cheap because they lack sufficient skills and you are paying them to learn. You can get good deals and find quality candidates at really low rates but it will be a gamble. Instead of price alone make sure you look at the cover letter, number of Odesk hours and feedback score. Now, regarding the feedback score, be sure to look at the total number of feedback entries vs. the score average. One or two entries may not be enough to provide the necessary assurances.


As a provider you will need to setup a credit card for automatic payment to your project providers. Payments for hourly services occur based upon the following schedule :


The work week begins at 12 a.m. GMT


The work week ends at 11:59 p.m. GMT

The provider receives his/her timelog for review and is responsible for making sure it is accurate.

Any offline time should be added

All non-work time should be removed


The deadline for the Work Dairy is Monday 12 p.m. (Noon) GMT. At that time, the final timelog is sent to the Buyer for review and the dispute period begins.

The Buyer sees $X in Pending Debit

The Provider sees $Y in Pending Credit


The review period ends Wednesday evening, PST


The Buyer’s invoice is now due.

Buyer will see a negative Balance in the “Your Balance” box on the top left of Provider Console

Buyer’s credit card is charged Thursday evening

Next Wednesday

The provider’s earnings become available.

Provider will see a positive Balance in “Your Balance” box on the top left of Provider Console

After Security Period has passed, provider can withdraw balance.


This post barely touches the surface of Odesk and the associated benefits as well as the vast number of features. So far I have enjoyed using the Odesk service and the detailed reporting features. I intend to continue documenting my experiences with Odesk as I learn more. Additionally, I will be reviewing other services as I become aware of them. If you have any service that you would recommend or any experience that you would like to share (positive or negative) along the lines of outsourcing services please feel free.

The On Demand Global Workforce - oDesk


About korput
Hi, I am Unal, an experienced web developer who professionally develops with PHP since 1998. My experience includes : * WORDPRESS — CUSTOM PLUG-IN WRITER for your needs ! E-commerce solutions, payment systems integration, product data entry. * JOOMLA — Even custom changes in extensions plugins Virtue Mart E-commerce solutions, payment systems integration, product data entry. * PHP – Mysql Custom Web Sites and User Interfaces * Php User Interfaces * Access VBA — Developing Access applications since 1997 * Excel VBA – Developing Custom Finance Programs with “Excel macros” * Google Adwords API Development ( Custom Tailor-Made Solutions for your Google Campaigns ) ( Web site advertisement system TURNKEY management ) * Google Adsense – Web site revenue system set up and management * UI Interfaces Developer – As your custom needs * DBA – Database Admin, Webmaster * Linux Debian Lenny Etch Expert * Web Site Paypal / Google Checkout integration I can work with you with a payment your PAYPAL Account. My oDESK profile is : http://www.odesk.com/users/~~c1022b209d6c18d4 ( it may require you to sign up or login to oDESK first ) I focus on Client Satisfaction and customer utilization is utmost value for us. I hope to work with you in every kind of work which you demand and we can supply. Regards, Ünal

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