Elance - Fees
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Some regular Elance users jokingly refer to the company as FeeLance. That’s probably a little unfair, but as with most sarcastic quips, there is a kernel of truth underlying it. Elance is a large marketplace and provides plenty of valuable services, but as a freelancer you should expect to pay rather handsomely for what you get: Elance has more types of fees than any other large freelancing site, and its cost can be quite significant, depending on how you use it. That said, the site does become more economical to use at higher project volumes, and on the whole, it is not egregiously more costly than its competition.
Most of the fees in Elance are borne by the provider. There are some costs that are directly charged to clients, such as those who choose to post featured projects, but this is not commonly selected when a project is created. As we’ll discuss below, it is also in some cases possible for a provider to “indirectly” charge the transaction fee to the client, but this becomes largely a matter of semantics.
Participating in Elance requires that you become a member of the site. There are four membership types, consisting of a limited free membership and three levels of full memberships geared to different organization sizes:
As with most sites, if you are a serious freelancer you will not want to use the basic membership. The main problem with it is the inability to buy more connects, which limits you to submitting at most 10 proposals per month.
However, it’s worth noting that for a new user, Elance’s free membership is actually less restricting than free accounts on competing sites such as Guru. You still have full access to most site features, and that makes the basic membership a reasonable choice for those just getting their feet wet in the freelancing world.
Your Elance membership entitles you to bid in only one of the eight Elance work categories: Admin Support, Design & Multimedia, Engineering & Manufacturing, Finance & Management, Legal, Sales & Marketing, Web & Programming and Writing & Translation. This is enough for specialists, but those who have a more multidisciplinary career will need to add categories to their membership. This costs $5 per category per month.
As mentioned above, you cannot add categories to a basic membership.
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Last Site Update: October 21, 2011
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