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Is a Job Bidding Site Membership Worth the Fee?

Jun 24, 2008
If you are trying to get a job as a freelance writer, virtual assistant, do data entry, get paid forum posting jobs or other freelance at home work, you might be pondering the idea of signing up for a membership based bidding site.

You might be wondering:

Is it worth my time?
Is it worth the cost?
Which site is right for me?

There are various types of sites out there aimed at different types of skills and there are sites that are more generalized. You might find some predominantly looking for website designers and coders while others aimed at writing, translating and editing services. Some bidding sites are a mixed bag. Some sites are more popular than others and it may take a bit of time to find the site that's right for you.

What are the pros and cons of using these kinds of services?

Pros: You can find a long list of jobs to suit your skills and bid on them. A job is presented with a chance for you to apply. You can apply and get freelance work assignments and some can create repeat business for you. Some bidding sites are very busy and many freelancers will get the majority of their work through those sites alone. By looking around a site you can often see how others are faring. In Elance for instance, you can see the amount of money the top freelancers have earned in the last six months as well as since they joined the site. These figures can be pretty impressive.

Pro: You can submit your portfolio to let buyers find you. This might be through samples or your CV or resume listing. You can set up a profile and have the buyers come to you.

Pro: Site owners do the promoting and in many cases will offer escrow services or collect money from the buyers for the freelancers, which reduces the risk of dealing with non-payers.

Pro: Some services like Odesk charge the buyer and not the provider. Virtual staffing agencies for instance will often charge a fee to the buyer, which is above and beyond the fee you earn. Sometimes you have to add that fee in so you need to remember that when using specific sites.

Con: Some services can often require that you pay. You might have to pay a flat fee for the service or you might have a membership fee. Some services like Elance will give you a specified number of bids you can make and if you choose to bid above and beyond that, you'll pay an extra fee. This fee might be in addition to paying a percentage of the overall cost of the assignment. On the plus side, as a freelancer you can write off the cost of these types of services at tax time and some bidding sites offer several packages so you can choose what type of membership you want.

Con: There might be a lot of others bidding on the same jobs so it can become a bit of a pricing war and you might feel you can't compete with others who are charging much less for their service. The plus to this is that you can start off bidding low and build your feedback bank which can elevate your profile on the bidding site. Frequent buyers get the idea that lowest price isn't always the best.

Conclusion:

Getting started in freelance work at home jobs is hard work but there are many online resources that can help you find work, get paid and build a niche for yourself so you can make money at home.
About the Author
You can make money at home. If you're interested in learning about getting freelance work at home, TheWebReviewer, offers plenty of advice and reviews of services such as Elance and others.
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