ODesk – Is The Granddaddy Of Them All Right For You?

freelanceOver recent years a number of different sites have arisen that seek to bring together those with work to do and those who are seeking work. This represents an opportunity for the virtual assistant and for those who are looking to outsource their work to the community.

ODesk is one of the more established portals. But is it the best? Each of the major sites has its own avid followers, along with its share of detractors. When looking at reviews online it’s important to remember that many times people are driven to write a more negative review far more easily than they are when they’re generally pleased. It’s more of a motivation to try and get it off your chest, after all.

ODesk implores us to “get the right freelancer, get the job done.” Within these pages you can find local designers, WordPress experts, website developers, SEOs, translators, article writers, mobile app developers and personal assistants. Determine the viability of the particular worker by looking at the number of hours that they have actually worked through ODesk; determine the feedback that they’ve received from previous clients.

This particular site is probably better known for those with creative skills rather than particularly technical ones. If you’re looking for somebody to help you with writing the code for a new website, then you might be better off looking at Rent A Coder or its replacement, for example.

There’s a Team Room, where you’ll be able to track the activity of the people who you contract with. You can see where they spent their time online as monitored by their keyboard and mouse activity. You also can see screenshots of their computer screen to make sure that the worker is in fact doing the job that you hired them for and not playing some online game.

You can choose to either contract with the individual based on the specific project and therefore the completion of a pre-determined task or you can pay them based on the number of hours they work towards the completion of the goal. Some have criticised the site due to the fact that there’s no formal arrangement for the management of milestones once the job is underway, nor to escrow payments at that time. Also it seems that the solution could provide you with more feedback or information when, for example, the deadline is approaching. This is particularly useful when you’re managing a number of different jobs with different contractors.

ODesk has also been criticised by some people when it comes to their private messaging system, which can be a bit cumbersome. It’s not as intuitive as it could be and remember that two-way communication should be as efficient and timely as possible whenever any job is underway.

So overall, although ODesk is probably the better known of all the sites in existence today and is used by a large number of contractors and contractees on a daily basis, it’s probably best to check out the features and functionality first to ensure that you can be happy with them when the heat is on.

Have you used a “freelance” site to hire extra help in the past?