Elance.com, Guru.com, oDesk.com and RentACoder.com are the major online freelance/consulting sites. You can spend hours searching for and bidding on projects on all of these sites (leaving you little time to do the work if you actually win a project). As mentioned in oDesk, Guru, Elance and RentACoder – Are they worth it?, to a large degree all of these sites tend to provide the greatest benefit to businesses that are able to obtain work at lower costs than possible using local labor, and to developers in lower cost countries who are able to get access to what for them is high paid work. But U.S. workers who are smart, professional and keep their eyes open can find good opportunities as well.
In terms of choosing which site to focus on, the following table can help you get a sense of the key differences between them. Be sure to visit their online help systems for more details and the latest information. These refer to individual freelance membership only. Project counts are for today.
|Technical Writing projects||18||89||42||51|
|Sales & Marketing projects||302||127||No category||147|
|Alexa rank (lower is better)||4960||14833||13768||18859|
|Free option||Yes – limited bidding||Yes – higher fee on jobs||Yes||Yes|
|Fee||6.75% to 8.75% based on volume||10% for free membership level. 5% for premier level.||10%||15% or $3 minimum. Lower rates for direct payments and bonuses.|
|Premier Membership Fee||$9.95/Month. Up to 20 bids (up from 3). Up to 2% fee discount||$29.95-$99.95/quarter depending on field for each subject area (profile). 50% off for annual membership||None||None|
|Limit on bids||3 for free level/mo. 20 for premier. Fees for additional bids||10 for free level/mo. 100 for premier. Fees for additional bids||None||None|
|Dispute Resolution||When Escrow service is used||When Escrow service is used||Hourly jobs only||Yes|
|Escrow service||Yes||Yes||Hourly jobs only||Yes|
|Online tests & certifications||Yes||No||Yes||No|