Welcome back to our series about working online in a global marektplace, with the emphasis this week on oDesk. Before we start, allow me to apologise for the fact that it’s been a week since the last post but, if ever I needed justification that now is the time to be a professional writer, I only have to look at my inbox for the reassurance. So, forgive me for not waffling on as I usually do, but we’d better get straight into the first of three articles today:-
On oDesk, there are two types of job that you can bid for as a freelancer: fixed rate and hourly. Which is best? Well that’s a hotbed of contention between new and experienced contractors (freelancers), alike.
There is no definitive answer, but what every freelancer should bear in mind is that, whichever type of pay you decide (and just because you’ve chosen the fixed rate for one project doesn’t preclude you from simultaneously working on the clock for a second or third), you get to know exactly what is required of you from the client (employer) before you accept it and start work.
A word of warning before we proceed onto the next article, which looks at fixed rate work specifically from a writer’s point of view in more depth:
You will hear of horror stories from contractors and clients alike about fixed rate jobs. There are contractors who’ve paid full price up front and not had an ounce of work in return. Ever. There are also clients who have accepted jobs, done what is necessary to fulfil their half of the bargain, yet the clients have continually moved the goalposts, demanding more work before payment is made or claiming that your work does not fit the bill. This practise does happen but, thankfully, is the exception that proves the rule.
One thing that both clients and contractors agree on is that oDesk should mediate fixed rate jobs as it does with hourly-paid jobs. At the moment, you have to sign a disclaimer (tick the ‘conditions box’ that you are prompted to before you can proceed) that literally passes the onus of responsibility on to you for applying for, accepting and then completing the job. We’ll look at that a little more later today.
oDesk mediating fixed rate jobs is the only way irregular practise by both contractors and clients will be eradicated for good. Continual low awards by the other party should serve as a warning to others and will eventually restrict their usage, meaning that they have to change their ways or leave the site altogether. If you’ve not worked with a client before, it is always worth spending a couple of minutes checking their latest reviews before starting work for them.
Up in the next article, Fixed rate projects on oDesk – for and against, we look at some of the positives and negatives that surfaced from a thread on LinkedIn, which one contractor wondered if oDesk should keep the fixed rate project or just dispense with it and have hourly-paid jobs only. In the next couples of articles we’ll look at why, as a writer, you need the fixed rate job and how to ensure you’re working for you as well as your contractor. See you on the next page.