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I have a start-up project and I found a freelancer on oDesk.com. The freelancer agreed to my terms and conditions that she would work on commission base. All communication went well and when I requested that she can start making sales of my product she sent me an email saying that she is an agency and she can get me right candidates or team for my project.

Does anyone has any experience with this? Is there any risk to use an agency instead of a freelancer?

  • 1
    Did the terms and conditions you have state that it must be a person and not an agency? – corsiKa Dec 12 '14 at 20:44
  • what kind of jib did you planned to do? – user5580 Dec 13 '14 at 12:17
  • I was looking for a sale person – Grasper Dec 19 '14 at 15:51
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I personally avoid agencies for multiple reasons:

  1. You work with 3rd party person

  2. you never know how experienced person will be given your project

  3. They state one price, and then say higher price for senior worker

  4. I had bad experiences with them and like one-on-one approach

Now, there are other people who do not mind agencies so I suggest you ask for a direct contact with this person who will work on your project (skype, phone, etc.). This will speed up communication.

In case you do not like that person, IMMEDIATELY ask for another person. Don't wait too long. Agency has dozens of workers on disposal, and you should get the best one for your money.

I think odesk offers you to see agency members so simply find the guy with the best rating and most experience, and ask agency "how much for this guy".

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6

I have not had this specific experience, but I think there is an even broader question here.

When the freelancer "sent me an email saying that she is an agency", was that the first indication you had that she was an agency ? If so, in my view, this person misrepresented themselves in the initial posting/selection process.

Do you really want to do business with someone who operates that way? Can you trust them on any other important issues?

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  • It may be that the person misrepresented himself. But odesk does indeed indicate if a person applied is agency or individual contractor. So the only way to know if he lied is to see if he applied as agency or individual contractor. – Peter MV Dec 12 '14 at 17:29
  • I may have read too much into OPs question, but "she sent me an email saying that she is an agency" made me think she hadn't disclosed that earlier. If she had, then my advice would not apply. I'll clarify. – cdkMoose Dec 12 '14 at 17:31
  • No, you may be right. I often say "no agencies", but they still apply as individuals. I quickly decline them as I have experience, but new users will be confused by this. Thou I am not sure if you can switch work to agency worker if you applied as individual :S. But I am sure they found a solution to this as well. – Peter MV Dec 12 '14 at 17:33
  • I was talking to her individually and then she sent me official email telling me she is an employment agency and can get me people. You are right, doesn't sound very honest. – Grasper Dec 12 '14 at 18:57
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I can't admit that I prefer agencies over freelancers but not so long time ago I was having trouble with freelancers till I found an agency. It was a smart girl that has helped me with the projects brief, asked good questions, then recommended me an excellent developer. The developer was solid as rock but wasn't as good at selling himself. I guess I wouldn't hire him if it was one-on-one approach. The girl was always close to my project, have a bird eye view and monitored the quality of work and if I am satisfied. Same happened for the next 3 projects.

Probably hiring someone from agency can't guarantee that you will be out of trouble but at least the quality of work will be above the line.

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  • how was she charging you? I agreed on commission only and she agreed. How an agency can work on commission only? – Grasper Dec 17 '14 at 14:43
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It really would depend on the agency and their ability. You could find that the agency would be a match given the nature of start-ups and how quickly things can scale.You may feel comfortable working with one person for control, but ultimately they will need to cope with a varying workload. If it goes your way, it could prove too much for one freelancer anyhow.

Although its clear some people have had bad experiences, it usually is a case of managing expectations. A 1on1 with the team you will be working with will give you a better feel and ultimately it would depend on how you see your requirements in the future - an agency to grow with can be a God send, especially as a start-up and the network it can expose you too on the marketing side.

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  • I'm worried about the expense associated with the agency. Paying agency plus paying their employee would strike my budget. – Grasper Dec 15 '14 at 14:36

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