Posting a job is free, and you’re allowed to add up to five skills. For example, if you’re looking for a writer, you can specify SEO, blogging, technical writing – pretty much whatever you’re looking for. Next, you describe your project and set a price (fixed or hourly). Freelancers apply, but you can also browse and contact freelancers directly. Another popular option is crowdsourcing. With this option, you begin a “contest” where various freelancers submit to your project and you simply choose the best one and pay that person.
Although freelancer is free to join, post jobs, and apply to them, there are many pay-based features. For example, employers can pay to increase their success rate so freelancer reviews the job applicants for you, feature your job listing, or list your project as urgent to get your project started within 24 hours. You can also pay extra to hide your contests and jobs from search engines.
As for freelancers, when they sign up they are given 8 free bids per month (each project may require varying numbers of bids), but can pay extra to get more bids, get featured when applying to jobs, sponsor a bid, take skills tests to demonstrate their abilities and much more.
When it comes to commission, Freelancer takes a 10 percent on hourly projects and 10 percent or $5.00 (whichever is greater) on fixed price projects from freelancers and 3 percent on hourly projects and 3 percent or $3.00 (whichever is greater) on fixed price projects from employers.
Payments are made through Freelancer’s secure system (which you can link to your bank account, PayPal, or credit card), and employers can release the funds only after they are satisfied. For hourly projects, employers can track what their freelancer is doing using the Freelancer Desktop App, which documents screenshots of their computer.
Freelancer is a good tool for any employer or freelancer to browse or post literally thousands of projects. Finding quality freelancers and weeding through job applications from people who live all over the world might be challenging given the large user base, but there is a lot of quality talent just waiting to be discovered.
Freelancer seems a bit complicated when you first sign up – there are tons of search features and filters, but after a few minutes it’s not hard to get the hang of it. They also have an FAQ section to help answer basic questions, and communicate via email for customer support.
The major drawback of Freelancer are commission fees that apply to both employees and employers, but they’re actually lower than or comparable to other top freelancing sites, so it’s hard to complain too much. The real issue comes in when you want to add on simple services and find yourself forking out hundreds of dollars to Freelancer. For employers, that might mean paying for privacy, NDAs or other extra features. As a struggling freelancer trying to make it on your own, you might find yourself paying nearly $10 for every skill test and paying for a monthly membership to bid on more projects. Messages asking if you want to upgrade or give over more money seem to pop up pretty often as well.
From an employer and freelancer perspective, the crowdsourcing option sounds a bit insecure. An employer can “guarantee” a payment to encourage more people to apply, but if they don’t end up liking any of the submissions they won’t be able to get back the funds. Conversely, if a crowdsourcing job isn’t guaranteed, an employer could easily walk away, and even use or tweak a freelancer’s submitted project without the freelancer ever knowing.
Another issue with job applications is that freelancers can pay to highlight them, sponsor them, or make them more visible to an employer. Instead of being able to sort through them and just go off of talent, there’s an automatic push for freelancer’s who have more financial means.
Freelancer is the world’s largest freelancing and outsourcing site, with over 19 million registered clients and freelancers who offer and work on diverse projects.
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- Huge employee and freelance user base
- Complex search and filters
- Low commission charges
- Time-tracking tools
- Good online customer support
Freelancer is a great site for anyone considering freelance work or outsourcing their projects. Although Freelancer does everything it can to act as a secure platform for both parties, you should always be careful and use your best judgment when hiring or accepting jobs. There’s a lot of information and a lot to see on Freelancer which might make it appear busy, but if you can get past the noise and ignore prompts to pay more, it has a wealth of opportunities. Overall, it’s definitely worth a visit.
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