Whether you are a small business or big business if you aren’t using an online, freelance market-place to find/hire at least some of your freelance talent these days then you are seriously behind the times. The online freelance market-place has now fully matured, meaning that not only can you quickly find resources to help your team you, you could if you wish find staff and run an entire project or small business, just using the dedicated and conscientious and highly skilled pool of freelancers inhabiting these online marketplaces.
There are quite a few on-line market-places to choose from, such as: guru, freelancer, elance, o-desk, and Fiverr.com. With elance having merged with o-desk to create upwork, the online market-place has narrowed a bit, but there is still plenty of choice. I am sure there is nothing wrong with freelancer and guru, but I have never really gotten on well with these systems and I tend to work with either elance or fiverr.com. So, here’s my user review and comparison of elance and Fiverr.com. It’s not super scientific, it’s just the view of someone who has regularly used both systems for buying and selling.
Contracting a freelancer
Both systems are incredibly easy to use. You can login and set up a profile and be buying services within minutes. They both have very powerful search interfaces, making it easy to quickly pull up a short-list of candidates to complete your job. Both systems enable you to immediately approach that freelancer in an attempt to engage them in your work. Here is where the systems deviate slightly.
In elance having prepared your short-list you can invite one more of these short-listed freelancers to bid on your job. You can then contract the candidate who puts together the best value bid for what is offered. Also, if you don’t want to go around searching for candidates and inviting them, just use it like a jobs board and post your advert and if you price it sensibly you’ll get plenty of bids.
Fiverr works differently in that the freelancers bids are pre-prepared and more modular. Most freelancers offer a basic gig for a fiver (5 USD) which acts as kind of hook. For example, they might offer to design you a logo for $5, but if you want it within 24 hours you can buy a 24 hour delivery add on, and if you want it in a certain format, you might also need an add on, etc… The fiverr process sounds cheap, but in the end you will probably end up paying the same prices as you would for a job on elance when you consider the add-ons.
Type of work assignments
There are pro and cons to these different approaches. The Fiverr approach promises to be cheaper, e.g. you can get a core, basic job done for a $5, but the modular add on approach can encourage the freelancers to be more rigid and inflexible than providers on elance who are not shackled by the modular job booking system. That’s why I think it is clear that fiver is probably better for small, well defined, jobs like logos, videos, ebook cover design etc… rather than larger more complicated projects which require more discussion, negotiation and flexibility.
Responsiveness, Turnaround and Quality
Both elance and fiverr have a service provider rating system which means you can easily spot high quality freelancers and avoid poor quality freelancers by following the rating system. Fiverr.com displays the average turnaround time for each provider on the profile, which is something that elance doesn’t do, which is very useful. Fiverr also tells you how many people the provider has in the queue which can give you an idea of how in demand/overloaded they might be. Elance also houses this information but you have to dig around for it.
However, the modular, structured bidding system of fiverr makes it more suited to small value, well defined tasks like logos, video animations, article writing etc. Also, if you want it in a hurry, like in 24 hours, then I think Fiverr.com is probably the better alternative.
But, if you have a longer term project with milestones, reviews and iterations and which needs quite a bit of discussion and negotiation, then elance is the better option in my opinion.
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