Deciding you’re ready to take on freelance jobs is only half the battle. Next up? Figuring out how to actually find them. Enter the world of freelance job boards and platforms.
A quick Google search of “freelance platforms” can yield enough results to make your head spin. From the vantage point of Google, platforms can start blending together, which begs the question, is there really a difference between any of these?
In addition to freelance job board overload comes the very real truth of not getting paid for work completely—or on time. As you skim this article it’s plain to see that the internet is full of wonderful things. In addition to the good, it’s riddled with scams—and freelancers know better than most the gut-wrenching feeling of getting stiffed.
At AND CO, we’re all about saving you time so you can hustle harder on the things you actually care about: the work! As such, we took a close look at seven major freelance job platforms so you can make an informed decision about which to choose.
Upwork is a platform whose mission is to create economic and social value on a global scale by providing a trusted online workplace to connect, collaborate, and succeed.
- Variety of genres: Upwork caters to a wide-range of freelance types. Jobs are available for creatives/designers; developers; administrative support specialists; writers/translators; finance professionals; and sales and marketing professionals
- Seamless payment process: All invoices and payments occur within Upwork, securely, through a licensed escrow service. You can receive funds via whatever payment methods work best for you. Options include Direct Deposit / ACH, PayPal, Wire Transfer, Local Funds Transfer (LFT), Payoneer, or Skrill.
- Payment protection: When working on hourly projects, you’re eligible for Upwork Payment Protection that assures that an hour worked is an hour paid. On fixed-price contracts, pre-funded milestone payments from your clients are secure with Upwork Fixed-Price Protection.
- Ease of use: It’s easy to create your profile from the web or the Upwork app. You apply for jobs through proposals you create, and jobs are served to you based on their interests. Proposal credits are issued when you first log in.
- Project Fees: Upwork takes a cut of the fees its clients pay out:
20% for the first $500 billed with the client
10% for lifetime billings with the client between $500.01 and $10,000
5% for lifetime billings with the client that exceed $10,000
- Freelance Pro account fees: A basic account allows you 60 connects each month. Connects are used to apply for jobs, with each application requiring 1 to 5 Connects (0 if you’re invited or rehired.) Freelancer Pro is ($10/mo), with Pro you get 70 connects that rollover and the ability to see competitor bids. fixed price protection, earnings privacy, customizable URL
Loom is the first ever work-for-equity platform that connects entrepreneurs with developers to bring digital products to life.
- No project fees: If a business wants to hire you on Loom, they pay the fee to make an engagement with you happen.
- Easy to sign up and to bid for projects: Signing up is free. Simply visit a project page to submit a bid as a cash offer, equity offer or mix of both. Message the project owner directly with questions.
- You can get competitive: You can outbid the lowest bid submitted if you are looking to gain a competitive advantage to win the work. The current lowest bid is noted on the project page in the top details section.
- Client payments are not handled through Loom: Loom does not handle your compensation to freelancers. It is the client’s responsibility to request and fulfill payment in a timely manner.
- Website only: There is no mobile app at this time. That said, the website does have great functionality.
Toptal is an exclusive network of the top freelance software developers, designers, and finance experts in the world.
- Exclusivity: The selection process is arduous, but worth it if you can make it in. Toptal connects the top 3 percent of talent all over the world, with notable clients including Airbnb, Pfizer and Zendesk.
- No additional project fees: There are no application fees or fees involved in becoming part of elite talent network. No fees are charged on what is paid out.
- Long process: If you don’t have the time to go through a five-step screening process this might not be the platform for you. The steps include 1) language and personality 2) skill review 3) live screening 4) test projects and 5) continued excellence.
Guru is a platform that bills itself as the best place for employers and freelancers to connect, collaborate, and get work done.
- Variety: Guru caters to a wide range of freelance types, from web development and programming to writing and translation to professional services support in legal, finance and accounting. Creative types can find work here, as well.
- Payment options: Clients and their Guru freelancers have two transaction options as part of a mandatory billing & payment system: 1) paying invoices alone and 2) paying invoices via SafePay. SafePay provides more payment protection than the former option.
- Project fees: Gurus pay between a 4.95% to 8.95% in transaction fees, which are deducted from their earnings. That said, Gurus can purchase subscription-based memberships to get privileged access to jobs and employers.
Freelancer.com is the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace.
- Variety: Freelance.com offers a range projects, small to large, available across fixed price and hourly payment terms.
- Contests add an element of fun: Within Freelancer.com, you can enter contests for clients, adding a layer of excitement and gamification.
- Safe payments: Freelancers can receive payments through the site in the form of Milestone Payments, transferred funds, and invoices. Once payments are released by the employer, the funds will be transferred to the freelancer’s account balance on the site. Choose among several options: Express Withdrawal, PayPal, Skrill, Wire Transfer, and Freelancer Debit Card.
- Fees to use site: Fee structure varies based on how you utilize the site. Project fees provide a commission structure to benefit Freelancer.com. For a fixed-price project, the project fee of an employer is set to 3% or $3 (whichever is greater). On the other hand, it is 10% or $5 (whichever is greater) for the freelancers. If the employer subsequently pays more than the original bid amount of the freelancer, the project fee will be charged on any overage payments. Freelancers can join contests for free; however, the contest fee of 10% or $5 (whichever is greater) will apply once the freelancer is awarded the contest prize. Additionally, there are no fees for employers in a contest.
People Per Hour
People Per Hour is a platform that connects talented experts with savvy businesses to get a job done quickly, with no hassle.
- Strong user-base and global presence: More than 1 million people from 89 countries are using the platform daily to either find freelance work or find the best talent in the world.
- Project Fees: There’s a tiered Service Fee where you pay either a 3.5% or a 15% (both excl. VAT) fee on an invoice paid by your buyer depending on how much you have earned in total on PPH in that particular calendar month. How it works: On the first $560 earned in a calendar month, you will be charged 15% (excl. VAT) fee on all earnings after that point. In the same calendar month, the service fee drops to 3.5% (excl. VAT).
Project4Hire is a freelance marketplace that connects employers to freelance professionals and contractors all over the world.
- Variety: Project4Hire offers positions for freelance programmers, IT specialists, web developers, graphic artists, writers, translators, virtual assistants, HR consultants, bookkeepers, paralegals, engineers and more globally.
- Bid or give quotes: Contractors can give quotations or bids for the amount that they would typically charge. Clients can select the freelancers of their choice at any time to begin working with them.
- Upgrade for more added benefits: You may choose to register as a Basic Freelancer for free, or as a Premium Freelancer for $10/month. If you are a Basic Freelancer, you are required to pay a $5 fee to accept a project. If you are a Premium Freelancer, it’s free.
Bonus: If you’re a designer and looking for a specialized platform just for you, check out 99 Designs.