Here are the best-in-class freelance platforms preferred by both employers and gig workers alike.
Freelance is getting popular each day. In current circumstances, remote work is not only about freedom, but it also helps to slow spreading of the pandemic.
Although the short-term implications of COVID-19 on the Gig Economy seemed gloomy, the overall future of the freelancers globally is quite optimistic. Judging from the lockdown roller coaster, self-employment can eventually become more stable than 9-to-5 office jobs.
About 32% of freelancers surveyed by Payoneer in May 2020 experienced a significant decrease in demand for their services. However, the impact depended on the region. For instance, freelancers from Ukraine, which is currently one of the fastest-growing outsourcing locations, mostly saw no changes in project number from both North American and European customers.
Moreover, as Micha Kaufman, the founder and CEO of Fiverr – one of the world’s largest freelance services marketplaces – stated:
While the development of the COVID-19 pandemic is uncertain and far from being over, we were encouraged to see that our marketplace was able to quickly rebound and resume growth.
A similar situation took place in other prominent freelance platforms that give various professionals a fair chance to earn money on their own conditions. Freelancers possess the unique ability to choose the clients they work with, a number of projects they handle simultaneously, convenient and flexible working hours, inspiring personal workplaces. What’s probably most important – freelancers can concentrate solely on the type of work they find meaningful and rewarding.
Since the industry is booming, plenty of marketplace platforms that connect businesses with talented contractors are out there to help. Here are the best-in-class freelance hubs preferred by both employers and gig workers alike.
5 best freelance platforms
This global talent marketplace is the largest online talent solution, as measured by gross services volume (GSV). It offers businesses a huge list of top-rated professionals, pre-packaged projects, assembled dedicated teams of experts, and qualified HRs that provide employers with a shortlist of the best candidates according to their budget and business goals.
Both sides can use Upwork to chat or video call, share files, and track project milestones from their desktop or mobile. Hourly or fixed-rate payments are made through an escrow scheme enhancing mutual trust. With Upwork Enterprise, organisations can handle talent management, compliance, and payroll, grow distributed teams and manage complex remote work strategies through their on-demand remote talent platform.
The hiring categories include IT and software development, translation and writing, data science and analytics, design and creative services, engineering and architecture, legal services, admin support, customer service, sales and marketing, accounting, and different types of consulting.
The platform charges set fees to both freelancers and clients/employers.
Specifically, Upwork charges freelancers/agencies a fee of:
- 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.
Business owners can get access to Upwork’s talent pool of quality talent and agencies for:
- Free – basic account features;
- $49.99 per month – “plus” upgraded account;
- $849 a month – business package;
- A personalized offer of Upwork Enterprise is calculated individually.
The world’s largest freelance services marketplace Fiverr connects businesses with freelancers offering digital services in more than 300 categories. Graphics and design, digital marketing, music and audio, programming and tech, e-commerce management, branding services, lifestyle advice, and even cooking lessons – whatever remote services you wish – can be found in one place.
The list of their clients is even more impressive. Google, MIT, Netflix, Facebook, P&G, and PayPal are all hiring there.
The marketplace unites individual professionals and ready-made teams, offers logo creation powered by AI, step-by-step business guides, fully-managed content creation, on-demand professional courses, and more. Their dedicated AND.CO ecosystem helps manage finances with ease. Clients can connect their bank accounts, accept credit cards, ACH and PayPal, support multicurrency, collect billing info upfront, and get paid automatically with recurring payments.
Fiverr charges businesses a processing fee of $1.00 for gig purchases up to $20.00. More expensive projects cost you 5% of the total order sum. On the freelancer’s side, it’s free to join Fiverr. There is no subscription required or fees to list their services. However, you keep only 80% of each transaction. 20% goes to the marketplace as a service intermediary. Moreover, you’ll pay a standard transaction fee when you receive money through PayPal.
Feedback and reputation are essential to the Fiverr marketplace. With seller ratings, levels and buyer feedback, it is simple to review, compare, and purchase the services businesses need. Fiverr Pro rating grades about 1% of top professionals that show the highest level of quality and service. As for financial protection, the platform uses the latest high tech anti-fraud and data security measures to keep your transactions and data safe.
This freelancing, outsourcing, and crowdsourcing platform gives employers the ability to either post their projects in order to receive bids from the registered freelancers or browse through the talent available on the website and make a direct offer to a chosen freelancer. It connects over 45 million employers and freelancers from 247 countries, regions, and territories. The work project can be posted in over 1350 different categories.
If you need work done offline (i.e. gardening, babysitting), you can also post Local projects. The platform Recruiters can also connect clients to the best freelancer for their project, and invite bids from Preferred Freelancers. After choosing a freelancer to work with, you can hire a Project Manager who can monitor your project’s progress.
It offers Bidding, Hire me, and Contest options to gig workers. The Hire Me Program allows freelancers to use a reputation badge that can be easily installed on a website as a widget or on an email as a signature. This will help freelancers show off their reputation, feedback, and skills to attract customers outside of the platform. The desktop and mobile apps help to track progress, monitor working hours, communicate in real-time, share files and drafts, etc.
Employers and customers can pay safely using the Milestone Payment system. It enables the release of partial payments, according to a schedule of set project goals, or pay only upon full completion. All transactions are secured with DigiCert 4096-bit SSL encryption.
It is free to sign up, post projects, place bids, and discuss the project requirements. Once an awarded freelancer accepts to work on a project, there’s a project fee which is 3% for an employer and 10% for a freelancer.
This talent pool differs from the other competitors by the smart use of AI algorithms. When a client posts a job-to-do, the artificial intelligence system does the hard work — matching and contacting the best freelancers suitable for this particular project. Each freelancer then responds with their own tailored proposal. The employees then review proposals, pick a freelancer and pay a deposit to start the project. Once the project has been completed to the customer’s full satisfaction, they pay the freelancer through the protected payments system.
Freelancers can search for projects manually as well, or save automatic searches to notify of new projects. They can also offer pre-set service bundles for a low fee that will help clients to test out ideas and build lasting relationships with these professionals. Those who enjoy initial cooperation may request a follow-on project.
Project streams help a customer manage all the fulfillment process: messages, attachments, feedback, payment and a lot more functions will come in handy. PeoplePerHour account keeps your money safe (in escrow) while customer support helps to resolve any arising disputes (for a certain fee).
There is no registration / sign-up fee, fees to search for Projects or even to post an Offer. However, PeoplePerHour charges the freelancer a service fee on earnings as follows:
- Over £5000 | $7000 | € 6000-lifetime billing per Buyer: 3.5% (excl. VAT)
- Between £250 | $350 | €300 and £5000 | $7000 | €6000 lifetime billing per Buyer: 7.5% (excl. VAT)
- Below £250 | $350 | € 300-lifetime billing per Buyer: 20% (excl. VAT)
- The minimum payment made using Auto Pay or Per Hour Contracts is £6| €7 | $10 (excl. VAT).
- The minimum Service Fee per invoice is £2.50 | €3 | $3.5 (excl. VAT).
Buyers are also charged a payment transaction fee of £0.6 + 5% and a service fee of 5% for the credit card, debit card, or electronic payment gateway transactions. However, loyal customers can participate in Premium Programme and eventually get their transactions free of charge.
FlexJobs is the leading job search site specializing in the best remote, telecommuting, part-time, freelance, and flexible jobs available. Their premium service includes personalized support, curated and trusted learning resources, and guiding tools.
Each of the 24,594 jobs and 5,394 companies currently available at this site has been manually screened for legitimacy, professionalism, and work flexibility. Also, FlexJobs offers members the opportunity for one-on-one Career Coaching, Resume Review, or both services bundled together at a discounted rate.
The subscription fees are quite fair starting from $6.95 for a week to give it a try to $49.95 per year.
The only drawback is that FlexJobs don’t typically have one-time “gig jobs” in their professional database.