Freelancer.com review: hire good freelancers from all over the world
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As a small business or start-up owner, you frequently need help to complete a critical piece of work that will help you move to the next stage. But your business can’t take the overhead of having someone permanently on the payroll.
This is where, if you hire a freelancer who has the right skills, you can grow your business by getting access to expertise just at the point where you need it.
The arrival of internet-based freelance marketplaces, the most well-known being Freelancer.com, has enabled smaller businesses to get exactly this focused, task-oriented help.
Freelancer.com is reported to have seven million users worldwide.
But what can the small business owner expect from the site?
Access to the full range of online skills with Freelancer.com
For most businesses, online presence is the key to growth. But while business owners are well aware of this, they cannot possibly carry out the range of functions needed to get a business operating efficiently online.
The complexity of the internet as a marketing tool means that web hosting, website design, search engine optimisation, content writing, graphics and email management are needed to get the simplest webpage up.
Yet one of the key challenges for smaller businesses is to look bigger than they are.
They need to compete with more established enterprises and until they are bigger, they need to act bigger.
This means that home-made websites and content written by the proprietor are not gong to hack it.
The business has to make a professional impression.
Hiring a specialist freelancer is the obvious way to create an effective online presence, and it’s a route that increasing numbers of businesses are taking.
Freelancer.com describes itself as the number one place to find a freelancer online, so let’s take a look at how it works for smaller businesses and start-ups.
Freelancer.com – initial impressions
Most users are immediately struck by the simplicity of the Freelancer.com business model.
Once you’ve signed up and picked the level of membership you want, you can put your project up on the board, get some quotes and hire a freelancer to do it.
Selecting the person is reasonably easy because each freelancer is listed with their job title, a star rating and the rate for which they will do your job.
Some judgement is required here – if it’s a job that doesn’t need much skill, selecting the cheapest offer may work.
But some people are cheap because they have a lower star rating and the star rating is based on feedback from people who have used them.
If you’ve posted a project for which expertise and a quality result are key factors, consider employing some of the higher paid freelancers.
Remember, people tend to know their worth and in a competitive marketplace, the rates are likely to be reasonable.
You can also access a list of the top ten freelancers in any work area and this may helpful when you have a project in which the result needs to be seen to be among the best, or where crucial deadlines must be met.
Fee structure and charging arrangements
Freelancer.com makes its money by charging a fee to the freelancer.
Fees vary according to the membership levels but freelancers can put in eight bids a month before they have to start paying.
The “employer” who is posting the job, puts milestone payments into an account held by Freelancer.com to show that they are capable of paying for the job.
The freelancer can’t touch these payments though, until the employer approves the work they have done.
This removes a lot of the risk for the employer, if they are a small business.
Tools for managing projects
Freelancer has some useful tools for managing projects and tracking the freelancer’s work on your project.
You can download an app for your tablet / desktop or mobile which allows you to message your freelancer online.
If you have agreed an hourly rate, there’s a handy time-tracking feature within Freelancer.com which at intervals takes a screenshot of what the freelancer is doing.
Freelancer.com review – what users think
As with all internet reviews, the people who are unhappy are more likely to post reviews than those who are satisfied.
The massive number of active users tends to counterbalance those who are critical.
However, one of the bugbears from freelancers is that they have to verify their identity to get paid and this process seems prone to hiccups.
Freelance life before the internet always had a lot of ups and downs, as older freelancers will attest.
So it’s hard to say whether internet marketplaces have made it more difficult for freelancers – on balance one would say not because far more work is available.
It’s certainly true that the more experienced freelancers tailor their bids to the needs of business people, making their pitch succinct and easy for the business owner to understand.
As for businesses, on the whole, they seem to like the flexibility of Freelancer’s business model.
They can pay by the hour, ask for bids for a whole project, or simply post an ad.
This marketplace is now truly global which means a small business on one continent can use a freelancer on another continent who has the exact skills to help grow the business.