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My oDesk Review
Odysseas Tsatalos was in need of a world-class engineer for a project at his California start-up. A friend, Stratis Karamanlakis, was perfect for the job, but he was in Greece and had no intention to relocate. These two men developed technology to help monitor progress and collaborate remotely. Realizing the potential and value of their creation, in 2005, oDesk was born. Whether you are looking to hire someone or whether you are looking to be hired as a freelancer, all that is needed is an internet connection.
How Does oDesk Work?
oDesk is huge: in 2011 alone, over a million jobs were posted and oDesk contractors earned more than $220 million. If you are someone who needs an individual or a team of individuals, the technology makes it possible to post a job, field applications, and hire the best person or persons regardless of their location.
Freelance professionals who are looking for work are expected to complete a “cover letter” to the potential employer with an outline of their qualifications for job. This is like a bid. When an interested buyer requests an interview, you ask questions regarding the project and agree on the timeframe and the payment. oDesk provides technology that monitors hourly jobs to make certain that work done is paid for and that work paid for has been done. More than 250,000 businesses use oDesk, including companies like Microsoft and Hewlett Packard.
oDesk offers two things:
- Finding a contractor
- Finding a job
Is oDesk Worth it? – Key Features And Benefits
Here are a few reasons I think using oDesk is worth it
oDesk provides an oDesk Work Guarantee. You pay only for time that is verified as time spent working for you.
oDesk does not charge for posting jobs and interviewing contractors. When you hire, the rate you agree on is the rate you pay.
oDesk has over a million qualified contractors and over 250,000 employers hiring. Their listings allow you to select professionals based on their work history, their portfolio, feedback, and test scores. Here is a typical profile of a contractor:
oDesk offers healthcare and retirement benefits to U.S. based contractors. This can be the most important benefit for many free lance professionals.
- oDesk has an iPhone App. This is to give you visibility of your online team no matter where they may be.
The contractor loses 10% of their pay up front to oDesk which is quite high. This possibly makes some contractors increase their fees by that amount to make certain they are paid what they believe they are worth.
What Companies Might Be Better Than oDesk?
oDesk vs Elance vs Guru – How Do They Compare
I selected two companies to compare to oDesk.
The first company I looked at was Elance. Their report for the current year shows 650,000 new jobs posted and earnings set to surpass $500 million, clearly a larger company than oDesk. It is free to hire on Elance. They make their money from a fee of from 6.75% to 8.75% of the price of the job which Elance deducts when you pay the contractor. This is less than what oDesk charges. Clients are required to place the amount of the contract in an escrow account to insure that the contractor is paid.
Unlike oDesk membership which is free, on Elance the individual contractor may join as a Basic member for free but is able to make only 15 proposals each month. An upgrade to 30 proposals is $10 each month. A small business membership as a contractor is $20/month and for a large business, $40/mo. Payment is available in a variety of ways including to a bank account, via PayPal, and outside the U.S. via the Payoneer Prepaid Master Card and Moneybookers. These options are all available at oDesk, too, plus oDesk allows the use of checks. Like oDesk, Elance offers a Health Insurance Plan.
The second company I looked at was Guru.com. Guru is another of the online companies that connect those looking for work with those looking for workers. They began in their present form in 2004 and now claim over 400,000 Gurus in their global pool. Hiring begins with a client posting their project. Guru.com sends a list of gurus that match the qualifications. You can invite those you are interested in to submit quotes. After confirming the qualifications of the gurus who submitted quotes, you are encouraged to review their work history. After agreeing on terms, you set up a SafePay account by depositing funds for payments when pre-defined milestones are reached. Guru is free for freelancers but they take a lot of fees. One user reported that after the fees were deducted, a $100 project could pay as little as $88. Indeed, freelancers pay a 7.45% or 11.95% transaction fee. The 1099 tax paperwork associated with being a freelancer is taken care of by Guru.com. Unlike Elance and oDesk, Guru.com does not give its members access to any employment benefits.
While both Elance and Guru existed before oDesk appeared, today the latter is growing at a much faster rate. Elance and Guru are still bigger in terms of the amount of money workers are earning and that’s because they are more jobs posted on Elance and guru than on oDesk. In 2011 Q3 Elance free lancers earned $37.6 million. Still, oDesk may soon surpass both Elance and Guru.
What Is The Cost?
- To hire via oDesk: nothing
- To work via oDesk as a free lancer: 10% of payment
What Are Others Saying? Testimonials—Feedback– Comments
Most of oDesk users felt that the process was very easy and they were satisfied with the work they received. Some of the freelancers complained that the software that keeps up with hours worked on a project seemed a little too “big brother-ish” for them. Some suggested that it would be better to just bid for fixed price jobs not for hourly paid jobs. There are several very positive comments on oDesk to every negative one.
Any Promotional Coupons for oDesk? How to Buy at a Discount
As affiliates of oDesk, we regularly check for coupon codes and promotional deals that work so that you will get the best prices. If there are any oDesk coupon codes or discounts available today you will find them at the top of this page.