It's not too often that I feel compelled to promote other businesses but I want to say a quick word about Elance. What an awesome idea. There are other similar services available; we just happened to use Elance.
We needed a professional looking logo and just didn't know where to go. There are plenty of local graphic designers - but how to choose?
It turns out there are many many thousands of graphic designers all around the world. Logo design is a huge business and designers are hungry for work. So we posted the job on Elance and within 24 hours we had a dozen top-rate bids. After reviewing them all, we chose one we liked - a competitive bid, impressive portfolio, and thoroughly laid out process. It's the ideal competitive process. The logo isn't done yet but based on what we've seen so far I'm sure we'll be very pleased with the result.
Elance takes immediate payment and then holds the funds in escrow until the job is done. Communication with the service provider is simple and secure and everything we need to manage the job is right there. I wouldn't use it for more complex jobs but little things like this is what these sites were designed for.
We come out of it knowing that we were getting a globally competitive deal on professional services, without all the complications of hunting around or worrying about international payments.