Freelance Face-Off: You vs. India
Sluggish economy got you down? Can’t find work to (perhaps literally) save your life? Have you ever tried bidding on a project on an online freelancer site?
Freelanceswitch.com has a monstrosity of a monstrous list, which they call the Monster List (no idea why), which is packed with sites where you can post or bid on a job in the Internatz:
The list also has some traditional sites that traditionally list more traditional job offers:
Looking for an expert in Unreal Engine 3, PERL, Corel Draw 3 (NOT version 3.2), with seven years experience in iPhone development. Candidates interested in banjo will be given strong consideration.
The Boon and Bane of Knowledge Work
But what’s with this e-lancer stuff? i admit that in my darkest moments, i’ve looked into it. Here’s how it works: you sign up with the site for the privilege of bidding on a list of projects. A typical project would be
Wanted: 4-page photography website. Home, Gallery, About Us, Contact. Fast turn-around. Project cannot drag on longer than 6 weeks.
So you think “okay- i could do that.” And you reason it out. Let’s use Toronto freelancer numbers. The project will last 3 days (what’s this 6 week nonsense?). Maybe we’ll pad one extra day for changes and Acts of God. A decent and fair web builder rate is around $20-30/hr. Seven hours a day times four days, times $25/hr is $700. So of you go to post your estimate.
Then you read other people’s estimates, and a sense of horror creeps upon you. India has happened.
India says “We can give you five weeks at $43.” And you think “$43? Isn’t that a little high for India?” And then you realize that’s not the hourly. They’re quoting $43 TOTAL for five weeks on the project.
Ganesha’s extra arms help him code faster than you.
And then Also India comes in and undercuts India saying “we’ll do it for $17.” And then Yet More India jumps in with “We’ll do it for free if you send us four cotton T-shirts and a yo-yo” And you realize that you’re likely not in the right league to bid on this, or any other e-lance project on any e-lance site anywhere, ever.
And then you get this unnerving feeling that the Zombie Apocalypse is already upon us, except instead of slow-moving re-animated corpses murmering “brraaaaains”, it’s polite and extremely well-educated Indians working for peanuts and pointing at their heads, bragging “brraaaaains!”
i bet India could make that costume for a third of the price.
i was never one of these ass-scratching Nascar-loving heartland types griping about how all the “foreigners are takin’ our jobs away and marryin’ our wimmin.” But it’s a hard fact to argue when you hop onto e-lancer sites and see the dizzying discrepancy between what you call a living, and what India can get by on.
So what’s the solution?
- Get by on less. (But i’m a spoiled, fat Westerner! And i love STUFF! That’s no gonna happen.)
- Move to India. (Eww – no. i saw Slumdog Millionaire and it was all, like, gross and junk.)
- Change careers. (i hear car manufacturing is very promising.)
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