Elance: A First-Timer’s Take

I recently started a new series on yourlifeforless called Ripoff Alert, which appears every Friday. These posts alert you to ripoffs and scams that are growing and trying to take advantage of your wallet. As part of these posts, I wanted a logo that would differentiate them from my posts on other topics.

As somebody with zero background in graphic and logo design, I had no idea where to start. The idea of designing an appealing logo myself sounded like a daunting task. I started thinking about outsourcing this task to an expert, and this is when I discovered Elance.

Elance is an online community of experts in several fields and people who wish to hire these experts for hourly or project work. Programming, design, writing and legal work are some of their most popular areas.

After signing up, you’re able to post your job including the specifications and time frame you’re looking for. Then, you wait for contractors to submit proposals for your job, including their price (which is usually negotiable). You can also choose to invite up to 30 people to submit proposals. Some will even submit samples to give you a taste of their work.

After you’ve hired a contractor, a virtual workroom is set up where you can send messages back and forth and where the contractor can post files for your review. Most contractors will make unlimited revisions until you’re satisfied.

I especially like the details you have access to for each contractor. These include what country they’re from, how many jobs they’ve completed, the percent of prior customers who would recommend them, and even the percent of their clients who are repeat customers. These statistics reduce the guesswork and help you make an informed decision about which contractor to hire.

The payment system is very simple. After verifying your bank or credit card account, you make a payment to an escrow account which is held by Elance. The contractor only gets paid when you’re satisfied with the work and you release the money to them. You can choose to set up “milestones”, which are due dates by which certain steps of the project must be completed. After each milestone is completed you release that portion of the escrow account.

My overall experience with Elance was overwhelmingly positive. I recommend them if you need help designing a website or blog, or even just a small logo like I needed.

Who do you turn to for freelance or design work? Do you do it yourself, or do you outsource it?

I was not compensated in any way for writing this review. Image by blog.logodesignguru.com

4 thoughts on “Elance: A First-Timer’s Take

  1. I have a some elementary skill with Photoshop, but can only do basic things. I haven’t needed much design work yet, but I’ve been contemplating having a new header logo done and hiring some sort of service to do it.

  2. My outsourcing experience was terrible with elance and I wish I had done it somewhere else, in companies like odesk, guru or staff.com. Recently, I hired a programmer and he does not know what he was doing. I had to stop the contract and look for someone else. I am looking into outsourcing from staff.com now because I heard they have amasing recruiters who can shortlist the best contractor for me.

    • Hi Rose, thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear about your negative experience with Elance. With any online community of experts, you’re always going to have a few bad apples who slip through the cracks and try to ruin it for everyone else. While you did have a bad experience, I have to believe it was more of an exception rather than the rule. If not, it would be hard for a company like Elance to stay in business.

      I hope you are able to find success with one of the competing websites. And again, thanks for stopping by.

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