Working through the 80/20 Foundation has afforded me the unique opportunity to use a number of outsourcing platforms such as Task Rabbit, oDesk, and most recently elance. With my insight as a baseline I look to offer a quick guide to each of these three platforms so that other e-Samaritans can weigh the options while looking for personnel.  The following table are things to consider from an employee perspective, though many of these markers should be considered from the employer perspective.

Task Rabbit

oDesk

Elance

Cost to Employee

20.00%

10.00%

8.75%

Work Tracker

NO

YES

YES

Payroll Services

YES

YES

YES

Total Payroll Fees

26%

20%

20%

Payment Options

Paypal

ACH/Direct Deposit, PayPal, Payoneer Debit MasterCard, Skril, Local Fund and Wire Transfers

ACH/ Direct Deposit, Bank Check, PayPal, Payoneer Debit MasterCard, Skril

 

Cost to Employee: This is the amount that is charged to the employer and deducted from the employee’s compensation. For an illustration of how this works each website (Task Rabbit, oDesk, and elance) offer their own description. From my experience, elance allows employees to keep more money from their work than does oDesk or Task Rabbit. This is important from an employer perspective when considering how much you pay versus what the employee gets to keep – if an employer pays $20/hr through Task Rabbit the employee will only be taking $16/hr home whereas an employee through elance will take home $18.75/hr. As the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for,” would you rather have $16 work or $19 work?

Work Tracker: Both oDesk and elance offer a way to track a workers progress and ensure that the worker is actually completing their task as opposed to checking Facebook. Task Rabbit currently does not offer this type of service, however this is probably related to the fact that Task Rabbit is meant for jobs that require more manual labor rather than analytical work. All three platforms allow the employee to report hours manually but the employer always has the option to dispute a workers claim if there is a discrepancy.

Payroll Services: Each platform seems to be moving towards becoming a viable option for contractor and employee payroll management. What this means for the employer is you can finally hire a worker through each platform and they will handle reporting tax information to the government and employee(W-2). This helps eliminate potential tax complications that can spawn from improper classification of a worker, i.e. the employer-employee relationship versus the employer-contractor relationship. Task Rabbit most recently rolled out this service while oDesk and elance have offered these services a little longer.

Total Payroll Fees:  Including the previously mentioned cost to employee, if you elect to use payroll services the percentage deduction will increase to 26%, 20%, and 20% respectively.

Payment Options: These are the options that are available for the employee to withdraw payment from the outsourcing platform.

Overall: Each service caters to a different audience and offers different strengths. The above comparison should help you to ask better questions when making outsourcing decisions but the only way to truly decipher the best option for your needs is to test each service yourself.

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