Information - eLance

eLance is a freelance outsource website based in the United States. Their site structure is based around site memberships and end of job fees. Membership fees are paid up front and end of job fees are added to the amount the employer posts to the site. Similar to Rent a vWorker and the former vWorker (Rent-a-Coder) site, eLance offers escrow, although their escrow and mediation process is fee based and operates differently.

eLance allows employers to escrow or pre-fund milestone or full job payments, though their dispute and mediation service has a fee attached and is only available when the project meets certain criteria. The fees charged for such mediation is between $399-$799. Each party involved, the employer, worker and eLance all share one-third of the arbitration fee up to the first $750, after this, the remaining cost of the arbitration is split between the employer and worker. If either party fails to pay their portion of the escrow fee they automatically forfeit arbitration and lose any monies invested or expected as payment for the project. Such dispute resolution is available only IF there are funds remaining in escrow, which is optional on eLance.

Being subscription based, eLance users are limited on the number of bids that they can post each month, as well as the number of skillsets or keywords that they can post within their portfolio. Such limitations make it difficult for users to adequately portray their skillsets and/or needs.

Most jobs posted on eLance depict the icon "guaranteed by eLance escrow", regardless of whether the user or their payment source is verified, so often workers find this deceiving.



Basic - Free
Small Business
Large Business
Membership Fee:



Why does this matter?    Freelance workers generally provide their services and work for lower rates than large corporations, as they are individuals working out of a home office or a small group of vWorkers working within an office. They are able to offer lower pricing because their overhead is lower. Adding the burden of a membership fee, in addition to an end of job project fee brings their costs up, which in turn costs the employer more money. Membership fees are also a deterrent to many freelancers, who will take their talents to sites that do not impose membership fees.
End of Job Fees:
reduced to 6.75% on jobs over $10,000
Bids allowed per month:



Why does this matter?    The number of bids allowed per month is significant because freelancing websites designed for companies to hire outsourced labor generally have thousands of workers on them, and because of this, each worker that is actively looking for work must place a lot of bids before their bids are accepted. Limiting a worker's bids means that they cannot bid on all the projects that they are qualified for, which in turn deprives employers from seeing all qualified freelancers.
Skillsets and Keywords Allowed:



Why does this matter?    Limiting a worker's skillsets in his resume, or an employers needed talent areas and/or keywords while posting a job, causes an undue hinderance on the job for both parties. Employers may need several skillsets or keywords to properly describe their project so they get qualified bidders, limiting these areas can pose difficulty for the employer while describing what is needed. Additionally, many employers post a part of their project, knowing further work will follow, in hope to establish a relationship with a worker for the future work. Limiting the skillsets and keywords that a worker is allowed can detour an employer from selecting that particular bidder, thinking he isn't qualified. Many vWorkers have talents in many areas, but with limitations in place they cannot accurately portray their skills.
Money Back Guarantee for Employers & Payment Guarantee for Workers:& Operation

eLance does offer an escrow, but not using the same manner of which Rent a vWorker does. For basic mediation they will assist in communication between the employer and worker for free. However, if true arbitration/negotiation is necessary, or the opposite party formally requests arbitration, you MUST pay a fee for it, which ranges from $399-$750; the fee is split 1/3 between eLance, the employer and worker, up to the first $750, any costs above the first $750 are split between the employer and worker. And, if either party fails to pay their portion of the arbitration fee they automatically forfeit the arbitration and lose any money or payment expected on the project. Additionally, their arbitration is extended for periods as long as 10 working days, which freezes your funds, and do not disclose who or how their arbitration process is handled.


Why does this matter?   A guarantee or money placed into an unbiased escrow account is an absolute must for people trading services online. You are working with people that you have never and will likely never meet face to face. In fact, at times you might work with someone that is on the other side of the world. Employers do not want to lose their money by paying up front and not getting their project delivered, getting unacceptable deliveries or receiving their deliveries past their deadline. Just the same, workers do not want to invest in a project and deliver it without getting paid.

The only way in which an online venue can ensure that each party is protected is by instituting an escrow that is held until the project is complete. This way the employer knows that he will get his money back if the worker doesn't deliver, and likewise, the worker knows he will get his payment when he does deliver. And should something go wrong, both parties know that a third party will step in and help mediate and/or settle the dispute.


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