What is Freelancer?
Freelancer.com is an all purpose hiring website that is defined exactly by its name. It’s a marketplace for Freelancers, people without dedicated employment, to do jobs for clients and employers for agreed upon payment.
The australian company was founded in 2009 but has expanded globally to include workers and clients from 247 countries. It primarily hosts remote work for computer and technology related issues, such as IT support, software development, graphic design, content writing and a number of miscellaneous areas.
How It Works
Once a project is set up, the client will wait for bids, or seek Freelancers out via their profiles and offer the jobs directly to them. Once the rates are agreed upon, the job begins and the project is completed once the work is delivered and confirmed by the client. In that way it’s very similar to other platforms. However, Freelancer offers other services those platforms don’t have which may be enticing for both employers and workers.
It has a built-in time tracking application to handle hourly pay rates on jobs that works on all major operating systems including mobile devices (for jobs where the work is expected to be done through a mobile environment). This application allows Freelancer.com to have reliable hourly pay-rate systems put into place by employers and will reliably track the time spent on long-term projects that require unexpected or unpredictable amounts of work to be done.
Because the app works so well, it’s become the standard way to track and pay for work on the website.
Freelancer also offers programs called Contests which can be set up that have different payment, including tiers of payment for different places where work is submitted, judged and then paid out in descending order of usefulness. Normally there’s only one winner and is often used in design-based projects such as business logos or website pages.
All payment, including fees, is automated with Paypal. Payment fees for hosting and offering services on Freelancer can be avoided by purchasing a Freelancer membership, which is a subscription to the website that unlocks more services and priority support as well as unlocks the number of jobs that can be posted or accepted and is for people looking to earn serious money using the website over time.
By default, the fees are 10% for regular jobs, or up to $5.00, whichever is higher for fixed projects. Hourly projects have a 10% total fee. This is less than other websites like Fiverr for the freelancers. Employers can also add extras like NDAs or boosted visibility for their projects that add onto the 3% or $3 service fee.
Pros and Cons
The website has several standout features that give it a distinct place in the marketplace of marketplaces. As a major player it has innovated to separate itself from the competition as all these websites continue to evolve, and has had mixed reaction to some of those improvements.
Freelancer has a wide range of potential products across different kinds of work, offering primarily online and remote work experience. However, it does have a section for local work as well, for people looking to do more manual labor related jobs. This program has started in Australia first as a testing site to see how well it can function in the rest of the world. These rates and positions are just as adjustable through Freelancer as if they were a temp agency.
The website generates a lot of traffic and has a high turnover rate of proposals and bids. There are some 25 million registered users who are capable of generating a hundred job leads a day each. There is always work to pick from and offer in any field.
Freelancer offers special benefits for certain members who are willing to place a portion of their funding towards the website itself. They will act as middlemen to vet and manage a hired freelancer for a project, check their work to make sure it matches the employer’s qualifications and update the project for the client. They tend to only go for members with a very positive work rating, assuring that key talent will be found for the job.
Freelancer functions on a paid tiered membership system. It’s a pro and a con because the people who pay for their memberships with a monthly subscription have more services, are given more visibility and can take on more jobs per month, thus increasing their revenue. It also effects their commission and fee rates for jobs they complete. However, it is money out of pocket to start up and without consistent turnaround can turn into a con for either employers or freelancers.
Many unfavorable reviews call Freelancer.com a scam site, when it isn’t. There is little barrier to entry for new accounts, both for clients and freelancers, so it’s highly possible for negligent or dishonest people to enter the website the same way normal people do. The tiered membership plans prevent any significant fraud.
Freelancer has many users, and therefore can fall behind on service requests. Unless it’s a problem that can be solved through the automated system, it may take needed time to fix.
Low Bidding Floor
Because the barrier to entry is low, many clients are looking for the lowest possible price for their projects and do not budge on them or negotiate with freelancers. This makes it hard to get started until a significant profile is built up, but it is deterring for new freelancers.
Freelancer is a very expansive and highly populated marketplace with a lot of extra tools and helpful services for employers, but has such a low bar for entry some of those projects may go to the wrong people. It is a service more than it is a straightforward platform. The extras that it offers for additional payments may be worth it for employers or businesses that want to outsource for fast turnaround on their projects.