There are several instances where businesses, especially small businesses, require temporary assistance from professionals or experts. It could be clerical, office administrative assistance, programming, product design, internet research and so forth. For that, they may have to hire temporary professionals, which could be time consuming, expensive, and incur other overhead costs. Elance is a great solution in these kinds of situations.

eBay is to Products, Elance is to Services

The website is very similar to eBay. The buyers using eBay can be compared to the business entities, referred to as “clients” or “employers,” seeking professional help from skilled experts. The sellers can be compared to the professionals themselves, referred to as “providers,” who are experts in certain skills. The product in eBay is the service or “jobs” in Elance. The auction is the only thing that is contrasting between the two websites. In eBay, the buyers bid to win products, whereas in Elance, the providers bid to win jobs.

Employers Post Jobs and Providers Bid using Proposals

The employers can post a job with descriptions, requirements, and even attach appropriate documents. They can also state the amount they are willing to pay for the job upon completion, the required deadlines, and bid closing date. The providers can then review the requirements, submit a proposal and also quote the amount for which they can complete the job. The bidding is open for a certain number of days. Once the bidding is closed, the employers review the proposals as well as the providers’ background experience and finally award the job to the selected provider. An employer now becomes the client of the provider.

How the Process Works?

During the bidding process, the employers and potential providers can communicate using tools like chat rooms and public message boards. The providers can post questions for the employer to clarify job requirements or request for additional information. During the proposal selection process the employer can interview the provider using live chat rooms. Once a job is awarded to a provider the client and provider can communicate and collaborate to manage the work using Workroom messaging, live chat, sharing files, comments etc.

The steps involved in the process are:

  1. Employer posts a job in Elance. The job could be open for bidding or can be private, targeting specific providers.
  2. Providers submit proposals and bid for jobs.
  3. Employer reviews the bids and awards the job to the selected provider.
  4. Employer, now a client, and the provider collaborate to get the work done.
  5. The job undergoes a contract closure process, with revisions, or rework, final reviews, feedback, final payment settlements.

Elance Ties Loose Ends with Excellent Communication Channels

Elance provides a platform that makes the auction process smooth. It has a feedback and rating mechanism that encourages the providers to perform at their best. It offers job tracking where employers can track the progress based on agreed upon milestones, get status reports, and disburse payments according to agreed upon terms. The providers can also log hours worked using the site’s timesheet Tracker.

Elance charges providers on a monthly basis for each category of job that the provider wishes to bid except the Admin Support category. Elance makes money out of commissions from the payments made by employers to providers.

Employers Can Save Money and Professionals can Make Extra Cash

Elance is becoming popular worldwide as anybody from around the world with specific skills can work for anybody in the world. The service auction process is simple, convenient, and fast. Even big corporations are taking advantage of this great platform. Elance also takes great effort in protecting information using non-disclosure agreements. There are numerous entrepreneurs around the world starting small companies that are solely based on jobs from Elance. Elance business model is another example of how the Internet transforms the information era.