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Elance vs Odesk vs Freelancer

Elance, Odesk, Freelancer are recognized by freelancers as the top freelancing websites and by employers as the top outsourcing websites. No matter which website you opt for, there is plenty of work for both; the freelancer as well as the employer on all of the websites mentioned here.

Although the basic purpose of all of these websites is to outsource work to the freelancer, there are many differences among these sites. While some of these changes might only be on a technical level, you still need to take a few points into consideration before making the decision to make an account on either of the three accounts mentioned. In order to select or prioritize your choice for freelancing you need to know what are the pros and cons of these websites.

A comparison of these websites will help readers to identify what sort of freelancing services they would like to use.  In this article, we have presented a comparison of these top 3 freelance websites.

Here’s a simple table where you can clearly see what are the most popular freelance platforms and how they differ:







ESTABLISHED 1998 2003 2004
NUMBER OF FREELANCERS 2 Million (Approx) 3.2 Million (Approx) 7 Million (Approx)
TOTAL JOB POSTINGS 3 Million 3.6 Million 4.4 Million
CHARGES PER JOB 8.75% 10% 13%
TOTAL FREELANCERS EARNINGS 740 Million (Approx) 920 Million (Approx) 150 Million (Approx)
PAYMENT PROTECTION Payment guaranteed both for hourly as well as fixed price jobs using escrow Payment guaranteed only for hourly jobs Payment not guaranteed.
TOOLS Elance provides extensive tools such as private workrooms, messages, and file uploading systems. Tracker for hourly work and so on Tools are limited. A work diary is used to track the work. Limited Communication tools.
Number of Bids with free membership. 40 Bids/ Month 2 In the beginning.

Increased up to 25 after passing skill tests and ID Verification.

8 Bids/Month
Fee Structure 20% Depends on employer or employee’s membership level
Vetting Process Account has to be verified Anyone can make an account. Verification not necessary
Quality of work Due to Elance’s vetting process, higher quality freelancers on the platform Comparatively lower than elance
Additional Upgrades Elance Pro, Enterprise accounts Urgent or Featured projects
How to get jobs Feedback/Rating from clients matter a lot on Elance to get the next job Your portfolio is enough to grab your employer’s attention.
Range of projects All sorts of projects Short term+Entry level jobs
Billing options More options +Secure Less options+Susceptible


Each website has its own fair shares of high-end contracts as well as low-paying job contracts. But each of them has a base full of good service providers.

Elance has updated its fee structure which is highly argued upon. But that also means the elimination of extremely low paying jobs and improvement of job structure. One of the many perks of joining Elance is that it allows you to verify and secure payments.

Payment is guaranteed by using Escrow. Another upside of this website is that all the accounts are verified here. Unlike on Freelancer, not everyone can make an account here. Your credentials need to be verified and then you are on the list to apply or post for jobs.

Freelancer on the other side has a fixed model that allows the freelancer to choose whichever way they want to go. The only downside to this model is that a large amount of low-worth job contracts are also being added to the list of job searches. They have also increased their fee structure to suit this model.

Odesk charges its members with a 10% membership fee. One downside to this website is that the payment is not verified or guaranteed for fixed jobs. So the freelancer is given the choice to accept the fixed-job contracts or accept.

Different people have varied preferences, therefore it cannot be concluded which site is the best for freelancing, however, in my personal view, Elance seems most suitable with payment protection, communication tools, and the maximum number of bids with a free account.

In short, if you are a beginner looking for a job, then Freelancer is your first option. But if you are looking for a high-end job with great quality then you should most definitely go for UpWork/ Elance.

If you’d like to start as a freelance developer, it is better to choose from the best freelance programming sites before to set up as a professional freelancer.


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