oDesk – Project vs Hourly

outsourcing providersI’ve been really happy with my experiences outsourcing with oDesk so far. Their system of tracking hours and providing me with visibility into what my providers are doing is wonderful!

In the past 5 months I’ve posted about 6 different “jobs”. Each have been hourly based and while each were instigated by a specific need / project, they all had potential for longer term relationships.

Well, this changed. I had a VERY specific project that I don’t anticipate, at least not immediately, the need to employ someone long term or on an hourly bases. I needed a shopping cart created for one of my sites. Nothing fancy, just osCommerce installed with a few modifications and plugins. I’ve installed OSC a few times myself, but I’ve never really dove into modifying it or hiring anyone to do so. I didn’t want to pay someone hourly for something I had no idea how long would take.

Three (well actually two) options presented themselves:

RentACoder – Used them many times in the past for project based work. While I’ve had great success with them in the past, their system isn’t the most user friendly and payment to providers isn’t super straightforward. Their system is based on a per project system and they have a bunch of tools and policies in place to make sure a buyer gets what they were promised.

::oDesk(“a”):: – As mentioned above, I love their hourly platform but I haven’t tried their project based option. Payment for hourly projects is super easy and straightforward. Their per project system seems to still be in its infancy and seems to be lacking some of the tools / policies that RAC has developed over more years of experience

eLance – Well, I signed up a few months ago, posted a project, wasn’t terribly excited about the responses I received. Their UI looks really clean, but there wasn’t really anything that was there to pull me away from RAC or ::oDesk(“a”)::.

In the end I went with ::oDesk(“a”)::. Posting projects is pretty straight forward and I’m assuming that payment will be just as easy as they have been with hourly providers. I’ve already received about 25 project bids and have chosen a programmer. I’ll keep you posted with how things progress.

My questions for you:

Do you prefer hourly or project based pricing models? When and why?

10 Replies to “oDesk – Project vs Hourly”

  1. John, depends on if you want to go hourly or by project. By project I’d go with RAC, but hourly I’d absolutely go with oDesk.

  2. As long as you think of VAs as commodities, you’ll only get low-level task work from them.

    When I formalized the profession eleven years ago, Virtual Assistance was never intended to be the low-cost alternative to hiring administrative assistants. It was created to be the efficient, effective alternative to it, while not requiring a client to sacrifice the high-level talent, proactivity, insight, thoughtfulness, one-step-aheadness, or discernment skills that hallmark any terrific administrative professional.

    Perhaps I was short-sighted in not envisioning a time when people would try to commodotize this. But what I know for sure is that VAs really create their highest value possible when seen as partners (in the relationship sense, not the legal) for their clients’ successes, and allowed to contribute at very high levels.

  3. Stacy is absolutely correct, you should view the relationship with any outsourcer to be a business partner, it yields better results and gives you a more objective view that business parters are individuals or company’s with skills to offer your business.

  4. I have a serious issue with Odesk. I was concerned that I was getting robbed by a buyer. Understand that we need protection on website such as this. Not only don’t they take paypal that is safer for us, they want our credit card number, but also you allow payment in advance for buyers.

    I chatted with support. Understand that it was my first attempt at odesk. I typically use e-lance and rent a coder for my projects. I wanted to know if the provider was avoiding me by trying to know if they knew if he was aware that he was awarded the project. I paid 20% in advance. I’m a serious business owner with not much time on my hands so quality of service is important. Obviously they didn’t want to answer that question and have decided to refund me and close my account. I’m very disappointed of there attitude and we do not make business that way.

    Now that you took my credit card number, they act like this by not answering our questions and telling us to cancel if we don’t feel secure with there providers on there OWN web site. What do you do to protect your buyers??? Nothing it seems…

  5. Mark, thanks for your post. I’ve only used oDesk for fixed bit items a couple times and had good experiences. One required a small percent up front, but that was understandable.

    Did you contest this with oDesk? I’m not sure if their buyer protection on fixed basis is as good as RAC (I had to get the RAC mediation involved once and it went smoothly). oDesk seems to have good buyer controls for hourly projects and the ability to contest the time billed.

    Good luck with your efforts and keep us posted.

  6. I must say, I’ve had mixed results with oDesk. So long as things are running smoothly with your contractor, it’s great. But if you run into any difficulties, don’t expect any support from oDesk. Their position is “We’re just the market place; sort out your own disputes”

    We recently had a billing issue with oDesk where their notification system advised us that an amount was going to be charged to our card, but when the billing cycle ran, three times that amount was charged. Turns out another developer had logged hours unauthorized.

    The process of obtaining a refund was painful. oDesk’s position was/is that after payment is made, refunds must be requested directly from that developer. Again, they don’t really care so long as they get their 10%.

    RAC – have used as well. I thing we will use RAC for the foreseeable future until there is a more honest solution to oDesk.

  7. I’m agree with the Admin and all of you. Very strange, right? Yes!’m using oDesk as a provider. You people here may be good and also some may be victim by freelance providers. I have an issue with oDesk. On their policy they highly recommend all(provider and buyer) not to work a fixed price and they are not giving us guarantee for this kind of job. A odesk buyer did not pay my $300. I know I will not get it as that they already told me payment is not guaranteed to work on fixed price or do my own risk. My question if so, then why they are not cutting this (FIXED PROJECT) option as that many buyers and providers are cheating with each other. Moreover they have a very good Time Tracking and secured system (HOURLY) for both buyers and providers. I think for the hourly project oDesk is the best site and number 1 outsourcing site. No doubt on it.

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