Elance Complaints – Are They Warranted?

If you’ve researched Elance at all, you’ve probably found blog posts or comments from individuals complaining about Elance. Some state that they’ve never received their money, etc. Are those complaints warranted, or is something else going on?

Elance vs. Project Posters – One thing you have to consider is that Elance makes regular, faithful payments to its freelancers (writers, programmers, designers, administrative assistants, etc). In fact, once you receive your money from the project poster, you can transfer it to PayPal, or you can utilize your Elance debit card, or even transfer the money to your personal bank account. If an individual hasn’t been paid, they’re more likely speaking of payment from the actual project poster, not Elance. This is an issue, but it’s not Elance’s fault if a project provider refuses to pay. They do have a conflict resolution system, but a company as large as Elance can’t force their clients to pay a freelancer if the project poster doesn’t put the money in the provider’s account. Using Elance escrow can help solve this problem. With Elance’s escrow system, clients put the contracted funds directly into their Escrow account and once the provider has successfully completed the project, they release the funds to the provider.

Angry Freelancers – If a freelancer turns in a project and the client isn’t happy with the project, he or she may refuse to pay. Of course, the freelancer is going to be very angry and upset, and maybe some of that anger will be directed at Elance, since the company can’t actually make the project poster pay. This may in turn lead to complaints against Elance that aren’t actually warranted.

If you come across complaints about Elance, it might naturally make you want to avoid the freelancing site, but in truth, it’s a great place to find honest work. As a matter of fact, most freelancers are quite happy with their accounts and the work they have. So, look rather closely at any complaints before making your decision about Elance. You may be passing up a great opportunity because of a simple misunderstanding.

Photo: Penywise

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Do You Need a Freelance Contract?

As a freelancer, you have to be sure that your rights are protected, including your right to get paid what you deserve for work that you do.  Many freelancers utilize contracts to ensure that this happens, but there are times when a contract is really unnecessary. Which are those times and how do you know if you need a contract or not?

Creating a Contract – Every freelancer should have a pre-written contract ready to send to a potential client if they should have need of it.  The contract should state important information, such as the type of project to be done, exactly what is involved with the creation of the project, the agreed price of the project as well as the beginning date and the deadline.

This helps protect both the project poster and the freelancer, as everything is very clear and it’s legally binding.  There are a number of resources online that can help freelancers create quick contracts that are legally binding.  A few places to look include All Freelance Directory, and Elance.  These contracts are standard ones that will have all the necessary information included.

When is a Contract Not Needed?

So, how do you know when you don’t really need one?  Below are some situations in which a contract is probably not needed.

–          You’re working for a client you’ve worked for many, many times in the past and the job is very small.

–          The job is through a bidding site and is extremely small – less than $30.

–          The client is paying in advance for the services to be rendered.

You may still feel safer by having the client sign a contract, but in some cases, clients will be reluctant to sign contracts for such small amounts of work and will consider it a waste of time. Use your own best judgment to determine whether a contract is necessary for a particular job, but remember, jobs that will take a long time or that are worth a lot of money should probably have one.

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