Have you ever wondered which freelancer marketplace provides the best freelancer options? Many business owners have often wondered the same. In fact, the seeming lack of good options is part of what led the two founding entrepreneurs behind the FreeeUp Marketplace to create this hiring platform.
As a business owner, you want to hire only the best for your business. Sometimes this means hiring an in-house staff. Under different circumstances, this means hiring freelancer professionals. You might need full-time assistance or want to set up a group of part-time or project-based workers. Whichever the case, you need to first know where to go to find the people that you need. These people, your future hires, are going to be key in helping you make your business more successful – and of course, free up your time.
When you go remote, this means relying on a freelancer marketplace from which to source candidates. When you are trying to fill a position, there is a lot involved in the process – reaching out to them, identifying who best matches your time and expense requirements, and who has the most appropriate skill sets, experience and attitude. How well a freelancer marketplace deals with these aspects of the hiring process is vitally important in your choice. It will determine how convenient it will be for you to hire through them, and what kind of support you can expect to get throughout the process.
Below is a comparison of four of the leading platforms to help you find the best freelancer marketplace to use for your hiring needs:
Upwork is the combined platforms oDesk and Elance, making it the current biggest freelance marketplace in the world. It gets about 43 million hits per month from its estimated 5 million clients and the 12 million freelancers that they look through for their hiring needs. Upwork’s estimated annual revenue is over 1 billion US dollars.
The Hiring Process
Upwork allows you to browse a range of services by category. This allows you to identify the freelancers that closely match your needs. When posting a job, you are given options to invite recommended freelancers to submit bid proposals for. The search feature does not always give you the most relevant results, however, and you have to chat with the candidates to make sure that they can do the job.
You can also add descriptive text to your post to explain your requirements for each job. These requirements do not, however, limit potentially unqualified candidates from responding to your job posts. You can, however, propose your own terms and negotiate on projects with them.
You are solely responsible for sorting through proposals and interviewing candidates on this freelance marketplace. Upwork provides support only as far as billing goes, with options for escrow on payments. If you do not properly set up milestones and timeframes with a freelancer and monitor progress, however, you could end up paying for work that wasn’t done. Upwork provides a handy app that you can use for task and time tracking.
Upwork has one of the broadest ranges of skill sets and freelancer types. The price range for workers in and outside of the US is also broad. You can hire workers for as little as a few dollars an hour or post fixed-price jobs for the same amounts. Freelancers may charge higher rates on Upwork since the platform charges from 5% to 20% of their earnings, depending on how many dollars’ worth of projects they have completed there.
Delivery time is one of the most common client complaints regarding Upwork freelancers. Though there are many reliable workers on this freelance marketplace, you have to closely monitor workers to ensure that schedules are met.
Since June of 2016, clients are charged 2.75% of the cost of their projects. In addition, clients who are based in Australia, Canada, the U.S., the UK and some European countries may have the option to pay monthly fees of about $25 in lieu of the 2.75% cut. Moreover, fees for currency exchange have been noted as a common client complaint on this freelance marketplace.
Freelancer has over 14 million registered freelance users who have completed over 7 million projects through the site.
The Hiring Process
Like Upwork, Freelancer has one of the broadest ranges of skill sets and freelancer types available online. The price range for workers in and outside of the US is also broad, though the platform gives preference to their paid users. Many freelancers don’t want to pay fees to a freelance marketplace, so this can throw you off. You will be presented with premium candidates and could easily miss good workers who happen to be free users and have only 8 bids per month.
You can hire workers for as little as a few dollars on the site, but many of the member freelancers are from Australia and the US. Part of this is because of the high fees charged for premium freelancer accounts, causing many global freelancers to prefer other options. Freelancers may also tend to charge higher rates as a result.
The process of posting and sorting through candidates is the same as on Upwork. Freelancer also offers an escrow system for payment protection, but you have to set up your jobs and hires properly to make sure you are protected. Freelancer also has a similar app for task and time tracking.
Freelancer offers a broad range of skill sets and freelancer types, though they tend to charge more. As mentioned above, freelancers may charge higher rates on the site since the platform charges high fees for membership and takes 10% of their earnings for fixed price jobs with a 5 US dollar minimum. 10% of the total bid amount or project cost goes to the platform for hourly jobs.
Freelancers on this platform tend to be reliable although some clients have reported being scammed. This situation is not absent from any similarly structured job posting site, however.
Both the freelancer and the client pay fees on Freelancer. At entry level membership, Freelancer takes a 3% cut of the job price for fixed price jobs with a 3 US dollar minimum. 3% on the total bid amount or project cost is charged for hourly jobs. Standard and Premium members don’t pay project fees. Membership fees can go as high as about 200 dollars per month however.
FreeeUp is the youngest freelance marketplace on this list, having been in operation for only a couple of years. Consequently, and because of selective membership, the freelancer pool on this platform numbers in the hundreds compared to millions on other sites. This freelance marketplace also has fewer clients, only in the thousands, but is growing rapidly. The FreeeUp marketplace has filed about 1350 worker requests to date.
The Hiring Process
The FreeeUp process to find the worker you need is intentionally simple. Clients sign up for free on the platform and submit worker requests in lieu of the traditional job posts. There is a short form that you can fill up within minutes. You’ll receive an email introduction to the best fit for your project and you can do a 15-minute interview or hire on the spot.
The FreeeUp system allows you to cut down on the time you spend searching for and interviewing prospects. The request form identifies your specific needs so that FreeeUp can find the most suitable candidate to present to you. That’s right, you don’t do your own search. You can indicate, for example, if you want a worker from the US or outside of the US, if it’s a rush project, an ongoing gig, if you want the worker on a flexible or set schedule, and how many hours per week you need. Clients are typically introduced to a suitable candidate within hours.
The notable difference of FreeeUp from other platforms is the vetting process that allows only the best freelancers into the network. Clients may therefore run into situations where there is no one with the right skill set who is immediately available to take their project. In these cases, FreeeUp recruits for them specifically at no extra charge. The waiting time can be an issue, but the result is a prime candidate versus gambling with a freelancer who may not work out.
Anyone can join any of the other platforms mentioned here. FreeeUp stands out on this point since they pre-vet all the freelancers who wish to become part of this freelance marketplace. FreeeUp accepts and maintains only the freelancers who have shown outstanding professionalism, including exceptional communication skills and the ability to meet deadlines.
FreeeUp gets hundreds of freelancer applications every week, and only the top 1% of those who pass are allowed to enter the network. This freelancer marketplace has developed a 4-step interview process and a final test to vet candidates for tech capabilities, skills, attitude, communication, and experience. The workers in the network represent the top 1% of all applications that are received. Any client who is dissatisfied with a worker can get a replacement quite quickly, and FreeeUp will cover any replacement costs for a worker who quits.
The FreeeUp marketplace has a wide variety of workers available, though they specialize in eCommerce related tasks. Workers are available for hire from 5 dollars per hour on a first come, first served basis.
FreeeUp doesn’t take a cut from what freelancers make on projects. Instead, the marketplace charges those fees upfront so that it doesn’t cut into freelancers’ rates. There are no transaction fees for being introduced to a worker through the marketplace. Clients don’t pay monthly minimums, either. It’s free to sign up on FreeeUp, and clients aren’t required to meet any monthly minimums on worker requests or billable hours.
Fiverr has an estimated annual revenue of over is 5 million US dollars. It is one of the top 100 most popular sites in the US with about 35 million visits per month. About 1 million transactions are conducted on Fiverr every month.
The Hiring Process
Fiverr offers a very broad range of skill sets and freelancer types. It’s knows as the site where you can get almost anything done for 5 dollars. Amazon lashed out at them recently because a ton of Fiverr freelancers were offering to post fake reviews for sellers. It just goes to show that you can find almost any kind of job offer on this site. This can be great, but can also be exhausting when you are looking for a specific type of skill set. There is a search feature, however, which allows you to narrow down results by job type and also the freelancers’ rating.
You can find almost any kind of freelancer on Fiverr who is willing to do an odd job or two. The skill sets therefore vary widely from graphic design to dog walking – sort of like Craigslist. Fiverr hosts such a wide variety of users and does not have a support system, so you are completely responsible for making sure that you get what you need, and get it on time. There is no guarantee of reliability on the site, although clients can leave worker ratings that you can base your selections off of.
The site was popularized for 5-dollar jobs, but not all jobs are strictly 5 dollars. Freelancers post fixed-price offers on the site and clients can purchase these services. There is not much negotiation involved in these gigs since the freelancers provide the scopes. Freelancers tend to charge between 5 and 10 dollars per project, but the scopes can be deceptive and you can end up paying more for bits and pieces of larger projects.
These are just four of the many freelance marketplace options that are on the internet today. They are representative, however, of the three basic freelance marketplace types that you can expect to encounter. There’s the posting board type where anyone can offer services and get workers for jobs, the network type where clients can sign up to access a pool of workers, and the freelance marketplace type where clients can access pre-vetted workers. Since FreeeUp, the latter type has further split to offer a freelance marketplace where clients can forego the usual hiring process in favor of being offered pre-vetted candidates.
There’s no best freelance marketplace, strictly speaking, but only the best one for your needs. Using this comparison, you can spot the one that you think will work best for you.
Julia Valdez is a professional teacher and long-time lover of the art of words on paper and the stage. She spends most of her time doing freelance content writing and management, community volunteer work with the Philippine Advocates for Resilient Communities, adventuring with the Greenhouse Christian Fellowship, and sharing lots of laughs over little crazy things.