My favorite outsourcing service discourages outsourcing cheap jobs out of fear of the employees underpricing each other. Specifically, posting jobs and hiring people for under $5 (for fixed price jobs) or 3$/hour is not possible anymore nowadays.
Bad method: Try not to get caught
You still can get your work done at a lower rate than 3$/hour by asking your providers to work more than what was agreed upon. You could do it and hope that you don’t get caught.
But if you repeat it often, it is possible that your account gets banned and then you will have to open a new account. For that, you will probably need another Visa or Master credit card. And if they find out that your real name is of the same guy that got banned, perhaps you cannot use Odesk ever again.
And since it has merged with Elance (as I discussed before their merger), then you lose access to the biggest outsourcing platform out there.
Outsourcing Cheap Jobs Done Right
The second possibility to do your work done in just $3 is to create an hourly job at the rate of $3 per hour and limit the work load per week to 1 hour. My virtual assistant himself has had a contract with a limit of 2 hrs/week with another employer.
If 1 hour/week limit is not available you can ask you provider:
“OK, I expect this job done in an hour. If you take longer, after 1 hours the work limit will be reached and I will assume that you are not successful and you I will provide you a bad feedback.”
In this case the provider will be motivated to do it in one hour. And it also is perfectly within Odesk’s terms of services.
If it is moral, is of course another question.
But if the task is really worth only $3, e.g. something really simple where you have to just
- click 5 links,
- download 5 links
- and send us the results,
then perhaps it’s OK.
You should think about the ethical aspects of outsourcing cheap jobs. I did the “bad method” of outsourcing cheap fixed jobs for 1$ at that time myself (that was possible a few years ago), without knowing that the TOS of Odesk had changed. I got my warning, but also was worried if what I did was immoral.
I asked my VA for his personal opinion on this matter.
Opinion from my Virtual Assistant:
Sometimes there are more elements more important than money. I think you are sort of not satisfied with yourself for hiring a person at $1 because this money is very nominal, but in my opinion the work we got from these providers did not take over an hour or so.
Now here I have another question: is it ethical that you get a lot of work done by a provider which demands 10 hours or so for just $5? In this case you are paying according to Odesk TOS, but is it really ethical to pay such amount for a fairly long quantity work?
Here I would also like to quote my personal example:
I worked for around 2 days (More than 15 hours) and downloaded and converted around 3200 excel files into another format. The job was fairly simple but it took at least 15 hours to get completed and I did all this for $5.
As I said earlier: something is more important than money. For me my first feedback was more important than $5 because I know that employers even don’t consider a person without having any feedback.
Still, I don’t have any grudges to that employer. In fact, I have a lot of respect for him because he provided me with the very first opportunity, the base of my freelancing career and I regard him a lot. If today he asks me to do the same job at the same rate, I would work for him on a priority.
Another general example to support this discussion: A fresh graduate who just completed his graduation and looking for a job usually gets up to 3 months of internship program even if he is not getting any stipend.
Why he is doing this?
Just to build his profile!