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How does Elance work, and how much does it cost?

posted this on June 22, 2011 08:45 AM

Date Updated: Aug. 26th, 2013

Elance is where people Work Differently™.  We're an online workplace where businesses go to find, hire, manage and collaborate with skilled online freelancers. Elance has over 500,000 businesses posting 100,000+ jobs each month.

If you are a business hiring on Elance you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re in control, working safely and only paying for what you expect. Plus, we’re there with you every step of the way. 

If you are a freelancer providing services on Elance you’ll have the opportunity to work with businesses in more than 170 countries – from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. In using Elance, you'll have the confidence and assurance you will get paid for the work you deliver.

Learn more about working on Elance by clicking the links below.

How does Elance work?

Registered clients create and post a job on Elance, outlining work needed and providing details of the project. 

Freelancers can find well-suited jobs by searching our marketplace. Elance will also notify freelancers about jobs that match their skills. To find potential candidates, clients can use a variety of Elance search tools and invite the most promising ones to submit a job proposal. Elance will also suggest freelancers who match the job post.

Registered freelancers then submit job proposals, explaining how they will tackle the project.Clients review job proposals to choose the best candidate and award the job. To help make decisions, clients can view freelancer’s profile pages (which include work history, portfolios, ratings and reviews and other information).

Once a freelancer is chosen, a shared workroom is created where the client and freelancer can communicate and collaborate on the job. Work deliverables are uploaded to the Workroom and payment is managed there as well.

Projects can be arranged as either hourly jobs or fixed price jobs. Freelancers can qualify and ensure protection on hourly jobs via Work View Payment Protection. Screenshots of the freelancer’s desktop are taken at random and documented in the workroom for the client to review. Fixed price jobs can be managed with confidence by using Elance's Escrow Payment Protection so that freelancers are assured that funds are available to them in escrow and both client and freelancer are protected before the job begins.

For Clients

For Freelancers

How much does Elance cost?

It is free to post a job on Elance.

Elance deducts an 8.75% service fee to all invoices submitted by freelancers. To help freelancers understand the final payment amount they will receive on their invoices, the service fee will show to freelancers as they calculate their bid. So, a client will receive a bid of $547.95 ($500 + 8.75% fee of 47.95) if the freelancer is aiming to receive $500 for their work. When work is completed and approved by the client, Elance collects the $547.95 payment from the client and passes $500 on to the freelancer.

Freelancers may also choose to subscribe to one of Elance's premium membership plans. For a monthly fee, these membership plans allow for further access to submitting proposals for open jobs and other benefits. Read more about these membership plans below.

What are the membership plans?

Clients can create an Elance account and post jobs for free. Click here to learn more about creating your Elance Client Account.


Freelancers who join Elance select one of four membership plans that best fits their needs ranging from free (ideal for getting started) to plans suited for freelancers who are active in seeking clients and submitting proposals.



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