Hi community, a bit of history: I've been running an agencie here at odesk for the past 5+ years. It started really well, we created a very nice group of friends and collegues, I did all the sales, I my self am a developer and never sold something without knowing exactly the skills involved and never sold something I could not code my self if required (sometimes I had to do damage control and this proved very effective).
Now, since about 2 years ago I notice no one, and by that I mean 70% or more of the customers, wishes to work with agencies at all. This started happening when oDesk allowed the customers to specify if they wanted agencies' contractors or not.
This begs the question: why is oDesk encouraging customers not to work with agencies and encouraging contractors to create agencies?
does someone else have a problem with that?
Looking forward to hear your comments people.
I don't know much about what has gone on with agencies, but logically speaking, I'd have to say clients aren't happy that someone is taking advantage of their work to profit themselves.
I'll give you $50 to do this - you then delegate that for $20 and make $30 for a copy and paste and a hire. Although that's what agencies do, I think clients aren't happy with the work ethic (total speculation btw).
I also think adding a 'middleman' into a job compromises the quality. Instead of a client interacting with a worker for quicker responses, there's a "chain" that has to be followed, and with this chain has the potential to cause Chinese whispers which can damage the end-result.
Overall, I think it's difficult to achieve a functional, decent agency. It’s too much of a workload for one person to properly contact, communicate and delegate work with freelancers.
I think what you are saying applies to many (if not most) small and simple projects, where just one developer can carry on most of the tasks and does not need to collaborate with others and very few technologies are involved. So much fun working on those back in my Junior days.
There are other types of projects where more people is involved and you do need to plan who does what, delegate, make sure each small step is achieved, act when there are problems to enforce the deadlines, ie: management.
But leaving that aside, what I am not understanding is the Business Model here.
If Agencies are actually a problem, like oDesk seems to signal allowing customers NOT TO WORK WITH THEM, why have them at all? Why encourage people to form Agencies if you are going to fight them later?
To me the problem is they were not able to find a Business Model as Elance did where Companies are actually an important piece of the puzzle. I really wish oDesk changes for good now that they have 'merged' with Elance, so much to learn.
I am sorry you have felt like oDesk recommends clients not work with agencies, as it is not our intention at all. We encourage clients to hire any freelancers that have appropriate skills and are able to complete the work professionally. If a freelancer is a part of an agency, it is not a problem at all.
In the list of applicants clients do see whether or not a certain freelancer is associated with an agency or not because we believe that this information has to be visible and clear for clients.