As a general overview, Elance is free to join and there are no charges to post jobs, submit job proposals or work on jobs.
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.
This is the only required cost of using Elance. There are optional costs for clients and freelancers looking to enhance their success on the platform, but they are voluntary fees. See Membership Plan options for freelancers.