Is ContractIQ an alternative to Odesk & eLance?

We often get asked if we are a better alternative to Odesk and eLance! We often struggle to answer that question, because we love what Odesk & eLance stand for. They are great businesses, but meant for a very well-defined segment that we don’t focus on.

First and foremost, we are building a developer community (specifically for mobile developers). The matchmaking we do is a nice complementary side project that allows us to put food on the plates.

Let’s start with why someone would need an alternative to Odesk or eLance:
There are several cases where Odesk or eLance would be a great platform to get something done. For instance if you have to install a wordpress blog or put up a small website with a couple of static page or run a small script these marketplaces are just perfect. You’d get a handful of responses, great price and perhaps finish the whole selection process in under a day and finish your project in a week.
However, not all requirements are commodity work that could be delivered in a week at the lowest possible price points.
Let’s take the opposite –  Complex or Critical projects, that take months to implement even if experienced hands work on it. Price is important here too, but only after you know you have a vendor that is capable and likable.
It’s in these situations you need an alternative to odesk or other such freelance marketplaces (or rather, you need to stop lamenting that Odesk or eLance is not working for you):
5 Reasons why you need an alternative to Odesk and eLance:
1. Some times you need limited warm conversations than multiple fleeting bids
When you post a job in these marketplaces, you are essentially doing the equivalent of standing in a crowded china market and shouting that you are ready to buy something within the next “x” hours. You’d get a virtual stampede of vendors showcasing their wares. That’s interesting when you are buying a knock-off Rolex for 50$. There is a market for it and you need someone to regulate it.
What if you were actually in for a hand-crafted time piece? You’d like to read about the artisans, their work and prefer that you build relationships with some of them before drifting off to price. The vendor is as important as the price. So, there are times where you need to decide who deserves to bid for your project and invite just them into a lounge for a coffee.
2. Your needs change. You need vendors who would accept that as a way of life
When you have good, one-to-one conversations with a pre-selected set of qualified vendors, they start delivering value from the word ‘Go’! Your requirements evolve with each such conversation. At the end your job looks much different from where you started, in a good way. How else would you know if you like a vendor or not, if they can’t influence your business in a way that adds value?
Try this in odesk or eLance – Change your project requirement a couple of times and with each iteration you’d get lesser and lesser responses from the older shortlist and more & more new responses from contractors you’ve not spoken to. It’s because you are not the ideal customer of these marketplaces. The fundamental premise is that you know what you need and it’s so trivial that you don’t need vendor conversations to shape your need. In other words, your requirement is set in stone. When has that ever happened, expect if you are buying weekly grocery (even there, we rethink)! (Answer: A million times. That’s why these marketplaces exist. Just that you and I are not meant to be in that cohort!)
3. You need expert help and not FAQs!
Remember that feeling of getting quotes $50 to $5000 for the same job? Even worse – How about three bids each in both ends of that spectrum? How much have you missed the comfort of an expert walking in to make sense of those bids and picking the right one for you? You don’t get that in Odesk or eLance, because they assume that you are good at evaluation because you wrote the job requirement. More often than not, buyers don’t know how to evaluate vendors. They need help.
Moreover if every bid seems to fall short of your expectations (stated or unstated), the marketplaces stand to lose out on revenue. It’s hard to shut down a revenue opportunity, even if it means you lose out on your purpose! I’ve a bit of a grouse over the freelance marketplaces, on this part. It would be a good idea to do a Net Promoter Score on them.
4. Reputation is not what happens inside the marketplace. At least that’s not where it ends!
What does it mean if you get a bid from a contractor who has done 100 projects and has a 4 star rating? It just means he/she is good at what s/he does. But does that give you enough context on what their reputation is, when they take up a project that’s comparable to yours (in terms of complexity, subject matter etc.)? How do you know if their learning curve is shorter or longer for your specific project? Again, you need help to ‘contextualize’ this fuzzy thing called ‘Reputation’.
5. You  don’t need a broker. You need a confidante, counselor, interlocutor, a## kicker all rolled into one!
How much does a freelance marketplace cost you? Zero. That’s what you believe. However anywhere between 6% to 20% of the money you pay, is taken by the marketplace because they introduce you to a lot of vendors! Do you get a guarantee that the finished work would meet your expectations? No! All you get is, a guarantee (in some cases) that the effort was made (in terms of hours with bums in the seat). Would you like to pay a vendor who says “But I tried!”? You don’t want to, but you do, when you use freelance sites! I understand why this is the way it is, for most freelance sites. They are venture invested firms with stakeholders that need returns. They’ve to be in the path of a transaction. Every feature is built to ensure that they justify being in that path. But I am not a fan of “manufactured” value.
If someone is so valuable that you pay them 10% of the project cost (though indirectly, it lands on your bill), what’s their skin in the game?
So, is ContractIQ an alternative to Odesk and eLance? No! We are serving different markets. They find freelancers for simple tasks where price & effort expended are key metrics to track. They (implicitly) guarantee a great price and prove that a pre-agreed number of hours were spent on your job. If that’s what you need, they offer incredible value.
If you instead see yourself as someone who agrees to all five reasons above, here’s how ContractIQ makes sense:
1. At ContractIQ, there are no bids. You get a recommended set of vendors for your requirement and you start elaborate conversations with each one of them, right off the bat!
2. You could change your requirement several times, drop vendors from your conversations, bring them back later and do a whole set of activities that lets you decide the course of your evaluation!
3. If you need help in evaluation vendor proposals, you’ve an expert team on call!
4. For contextual evaluation of a vendor’s reputation, you’ve a team from ContractIQ that talks to the ‘customers’ of vendors, who are similar to you.
5. The best is reserved for the last – You have access to information about over 2000 companies that build mobile, web and cloud products. You can contact them for free. Should you choose to use our offline services to discover and evaluate teams, that comes for free too. In such cases alone, we charge the development teams a fee that’s proportionate to the project value. Once you start working with a development team that we introduce, for the duration of that relationship, we help make decisions, resolve issues if  our being there, helps the case (though we don’t take project ownership or liabilities). As I write this, we are resolving a messy situation caused by complex negotiation in a substantially large deal. We don’t do it for fee. We do it because we simply like good partners to succeed.
Sounds like we’d solve your problem? Try ContractIQ today or set up a meeting with us. We love talking to our customers!

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  • Now a days so many people blame to odesk. Yes something going on so bad there . Especially, i dislike their price range . Any one can bid with low and low price. so new contractor try to bid with very low price for get the early jobs and doing low quality work.
    I thing comparatively is the best.