Productivity enthusiasts and outsourcing fanatics love working with freelancers because they offer numerous competitive advantages, for example, on-demand expertise, impartialness, cost savings, and flexibility. I try to adopt a “work smarter, not harder, and outsource” philosophy whenever possible and have worked with freelancers on many occasions. I hired a graphic designer on Upwork to create t-shirt designs. Also, I’ve hired freelancers for other projects like e-book formatting and to create explainer videos.
Upwork is one the largest freelance marketplaces, and companies of every size use them from one-person startups to major corporations. Businesses can quickly find and hire freelancers while freelancers can search for work and submit proposals. Upwork’s platform simplifies contracts, time tracking, invoicing, payment, and more. They offer three service tiers including, standard, pro, and enterprise. Upwork pro, for instance, features personalized assistance to help employers find premium, pre-vetted talent.
Freelance projects are available in a range of categories including web and mobile development, marketing, sales, design, writing, virtual assistance, customer service, accounts, consultants, and more. Freelancers can do hourly and fixed-priced jobs and choose one of many methods to collect payment such as direct deposit, PayPal, wire transfer, and so on. Upwork charges freelancers a sliding fee based on the freelancer’s lifetime billings with a specific client:
- 20 percent for the first $500 billed with the client
- 10 percent for lifetime billings with the client between $500.01 and $10,000
- 5 percent for lifetime billings with the client that exceed $10,000
Freelancing and self-employment are on the rise as part of a shift from permanent and “secure” employment to gig economy, contract, and seasonal work opportunities. Millions of freelancers use Upwork, and many come from the pool of 57 million Americans who are freelancing. However, Upwork is only one of a few top freelancer marketplaces.
Top 6 Upwork Alternatives
Fiverr is arguably the most visited freelancer marketplace. The scope of their job market and even quirkiness goes beyond most marketplaces. Fiverr Pro is Fiverr’s batch of top quality, verified, and hand-picked professionals who are “trusted by the world’s biggest brands. These professionals undergo an extensive application process and only 1 percent of applicants are approved.
Top freelancer categories include graphic design, digital marketing, business, writing, translation, video and animation, music and audio, WordPress, programming, and tech. Additionally, there are over 100 subcategories like logo design, illustration, sales copy, product photography, voiceover, and celebrity impersonators. Freelancers get paid as soon as they complete orders and keep 80 percent of their revenues (Fiverr takes a 20 percent cut). Freelancers can charge anywhere from five dollars to thousands. Freelancers can upsell with extras before, during, and after an order. For example, you can charge an extra five dollars to complete an order with 24 hours. Also, freelancers can proactively send offers and promote their services to potential buyers.
Fiverr has evolved ever since I started using them years ago. It appears they’re on a mission to become a one-stop source for freelancers. Fiverr Elevate offers insights, tutorials, and exclusive discounts. AND CO is their free software for freelancers that competes with the likes of Bonsai and others.
Freelancer is the largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace by the total number of users, 30 million, and projects posted, over 14 million. A crowdsourcing “contest” features a project that freelancers compete for like a logo design competition. The freelancer with the winning proposal receives project amount/payment. Freelancer’s preferred program pools the best talent on the platform. Preferred freelancers receive exclusive invitations to work on high-value projects among other perks including fee deferral and badges on their profiles to help them stand out.
Freelance work is available in software development, writing, data entry, design, engineering, sales and marketing, accounting, administration, translation, legal services, and more. Like Upwork, hourly and fixed-priced jobs are available. Membership plans are available for freelancers and include Intro, Basic, Plus, Professional, and Premier. Memberships enable freelancers to bid on more projects, add more skills, and save on project listing upgrades. Plan pricing ranges from $0.99 to $89.95 monthly. Freelancer charges 10 to 20 percent depending on the type of work.
Guru makes it easy for employers and freelancers to connect, collaborate, and get work done flexibly and securely. Three million freelancers are registered on Guru and have completed over one million jobs for payments totaling 250 million dollars.
Featured job categories include programming, development, design, writing, translation, administration, secretarial, business, finance, sales and marketing, engineering, architecture, and legal. Freelancers can earn by the hour, task, milestone, and receive recurring payments. Guru has five membership plans, i.e., Basic, Basic+, Professional, Business, and Executive. The basic account is free, and the other accounts range from $8.95 to $39.95 a month. Guru charges 4.95 to 8.95 percent per service/project depending on the membership plan.
PPH strives to create a reliable and dynamic online job market to help people realize their dreams and live independently. One and a half million users across 89 countries have earned a total of 100 million dollars.
Freelancers are available in a cross-section of categories including design, writing, translation, video, photography, audio, business support, social media, software, web, and mobile development. PPH’s fees are confusing and hidden in their terms. There are several costs that buyers and sellers should understand before proceeding.
Toptal’s exclusive network attracts the very best including Ivey League grads, subject matter experts, professors, founders, high achievers, and people with proven track records. Toptal has a rigorous screening process in which 3 percent of applicants, or less, are accepted. The application process consists of five steps including language and personality, in-depth skill review, live screening, test projects, and ongoing evaluation.
Toptal targets developers, designers, finance experts, and project managers with work available in 60+ subcategories. For instance, finance experts can pursue blockchain, financial analysis, M&A, and fundraising assignments. iOS developers, front-end developers, UX/UI designers, and financial modeling consultants are highly sought. Fees are not available on the site. According to Toptal, “we do not disclose our margins by policy. Our undisclosed margin is what helps us offer such good service.” To get a sense of what you can earn, check out their pricing and payment section.
Truelancer is a community of freelancers from across the globe. They are a marketplace and crowdsourcing platform with half a million users. The Truelancer Prime program consists of hand-picked, top-rated freelancers from their database.
Featured categories include development, design, writing, blogging, SEO, translation, and marketing/sales. There are four membership plans including Free, Basic, Professional, and Plus. Membership prices range from $5 to $50 a month. Truelancer charges 8 to 10 percent per service/project depending on the membership plan.
Flexjobs and Craigslist list thousands of freelance jobs and gigs. If you like the crowdsourcing concept and competing for projects, check out 99Designs, CrowdSpring, DesignContest, DesignCrowd, and DesignHill.