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Great Freelancing Websites to Find a Freelancer

video editor freelancer hired from freelancing website

A lot of freelancing projects can be done on a computer—projects like building a website, editing a video, coding an app, writing an article, or making a logo. These projects are perfect for using a freelancer. And you can find one through one of the popular freelancing websites where freelancers from all over the world gather.

Below we’ll take a look at five of the most popular freelancing websites. We’ll discuss what kind of freelancers you can find on these websites, how you can hire one, and the fees involved in using these platforms.

By the end of the article, you should have enough information to hire your first freelancer through one of these freelancing platforms.

Which are the Top Five Freelancing Websites?

There are quite a few freelancing websites right now. But freelancers talk, and the three most mentioned freelancing platforms are:

There are two content marketing platforms that help larger companies market their goods and services over the internet. They’re a little pricey to use, but you’d then get access to their network of freelancers who’ve been vetted to do great work. These platforms are:

Other freelancing websites that we don’t have room to cover in this article include:

  • PeoplePerHour

How Freelancing Platforms Work

Most freelancing websites work more or less the same way. They let you post jobs and match freelancers to these jobs. Depending on the website or how much you pay, the matching can be automated or be with the help of live recruiters.

Step 1: Post a Job and Review Freelancer Profiles and/or Bids

Once you post a job, you can browse freelancers that match your job’s requirements. Freelancers can also see the posted job and decide whether or not to bid for the job.

Before you contact a freelancer or after you receive a bid, you can review the freelancer’s profile and user ratings. Often, you can also conduct a written, audio, or video interview before making the hiring decision.

Step 2: Pick a Freelancer and Pay into the Escrow Account

Once you pick a freelancer and you both agree on a price and how the freelancer is to be paid (at the end of the job, by milestone, or hourly), the work can start. You have to first pay the agreed-upon amount to the freelancing platform. The platform holds the money and tells the freelancer that they can start working.

Step 3: Review Work and Release Payment

Once the work is completed or reaches a payment milestone, you get to review the freelancer’s work. If you’re satisfied with the job, the freelancing platform releases the payment to the freelancer. If you’re not satisfied, the freelancer typically has to fix the work to your satisfaction before the platform releases the money.

Both You and the Freelancer Usually Pay a Fee to the Freelancing Website for Each Job

The freelancing platforms typically charge both you and the freelancer a fee for using the platform. Some charge a membership fee, others charge per job matched and completed. You can upgrade from the basic service, but the platforms will charge extra, usually for each added service.

If You Wish to Rehire the Freelancer, You Usually Have to Use the Same Freelancing Website

If you found a freelancer you like through a freelancing website, you can continue to hire the freelancer for more projects. But, usually, the Terms of Service for the freelancing website requires you to hire the freelance through the platform instead of outside the platform.  

This exclusivity usually lasts for quite a few months. With some platforms, the freelancer can bring clients to the platform. In that case, the exclusivity doesn’t usually apply. But some sort of user fee usually does apply.

Can You Find Great Freelancers on These Freelancing Websites?

You absolutely can find on all these freelancing platforms freelancers who do great work. But, with some platforms, you’d have to invest a little more time to find them.

It’s Easier to Find Great Freelancers on Vetted Platforms or Vetted Service Tiers

Naturally, if the freelancing platforms vet the freelancers, you’d have better luck finding a good hire. Such is the case with Contently and Skyword.

Contently and Skyword technically offer content advertising project management software. They each have a large network of freelancers, and, depending on your needs, they can suggest a few freelancers to you. (You can also search through their network yourself.)

These platforms require a minimum level of work experience or portfolio size for freelancers to qualify into their network. They also pay well. That’s why you’re more likely to find great freelancers through these platforms.

As to platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer, it’s more difficult to find experienced freelancers on these platforms. One reason is that many folks with little to no experience start on these platforms. They’re willing to take jobs for low pay to build experience. Other freelancers are based in countries with lower cost of living. They’re able to take lower pay and still live well. This is why many experienced freelancers graduate from these freelancing websites.

However, these platforms also let their freelancers showcase their work portfolio and sell different tiers of service for different prices. So, if you’re willing to spend some time searching and looking through different experience-level badges (earned by the freelancer through different types of qualifications), you should be able to find great freelancers too.

Attracting Great Freelancers Often Depend on Your Project Description and Target Price

One common complaint from hiring businesses on these freelancing websites is that they either get too many proposals or no proposals for their job postings. Sometimes, the number of bids doesn’t correlate with the amount offered for the job. Easy jobs like “write 100 social media posts for $5” can get hundreds of responses within hours of posting, but other more complicated jobs offering $1,000 can get no bid after many days.

Often, this is because the higher paying job descriptions are too vague. An experienced freelancer knows right away that the client probably doesn’t know what they want. This usually ends unhappily, with the business not getting what it wants and the freelancer losing much time on a project that pays too little. So, the experienced freelancer stays away from even bidding for the job.

To avoid such disasters, be sure to review our How to Hire a Freelancer or Contractor and Live Happily Ever After article for tips on how to scope out a project. Write a good project description and offer a fair price, and you’ll have plenty of freelancers bidding for your project.

Now, let’s take a more detailed look at each of these five freelancing websites.

How Upwork Works as a Freelancing Platform

Upwork is a publicly traded company founded through the merger of Elance (founded 1999) and oDesk (founded 2003). You can find freelancers from all over the world on Upwork. It claims to be the largest freelancing website in the world.

A hiring business can pick from two tiers of Upwork’s service:

  • Basic tier: free
  • Plus tier: $49/month and 3% of agreed-upon contract price for every completed contract

The Basic tier allows you to post jobs and search through freelancer listings and ratings, interview freelancers, and use the Upwork’s escrow service to guarantee work for the money you paid. The Plus tier gives you everything in the Basic tier plus a dedicated account manager who can help you recruit freelancers to apply for the job.

Upwork claims to have a freelancer for anything that can be done through a computer. The areas include:

  • Development and IT
  • Finance and accounting
  • Writing and translation
  • Admin and customer support
  • Design and creative
  • Sales and marketing
  • Engineering and architecture
  • HR and training
  • Legal

When using Upwork, keep in mind that Upwork mainly gets paid by the freelancers. The platform takes a 20% cut from each job paid to a freelancer. The fee gradually lowers to 5% if the client spends $10,000+ to continue to hire the freelancer for additional jobs.

So, if you’re only willing to pay $10 for a job that takes a couple of hours to do, understand that whoever takes the job would be paid far below the US minimum wage. You might not be getting an experienced freelancer for the price.

How Fiverr Works as a Freelancing Platform

Fiverr is a freelancing platform started in 2010. It is a publicly traded company with its stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Fiverr is based in Israel.

Initially, all Fiverr’s gigs cost only $5. This was changed later, and freelancers can now charge higher fees for gigs.

For hiring businesses, Fiverr has two tiers of service:

  • Free
  • Fiver Business

With Fiverr Business, you’ll get a dedicated account manager who can help you find the various freelancers you need to build your business. The service ordinarily costs $149/year, but right now, your first year is free and you can cancel at any time.

Fiver offers freelancers in the following categories:

  • Graphics and design
  • Digital marketing
  • Writing and translation
  • Video and animation
  • Music and audio
  • Programming and tech
  • Data
  • Business
  • Lifestyle

Fiverr seems to make most of its money from taking a cut from the freelancer gigs. They take 20% from the freelancer’s payment per job. Most freelancers can price their services from $5-$995. However, a Fiverr Pro freelancer seems to be able to price a lot higher.

Fiverr encourages their freelancers to price in tiers and upsell with additional products or services. For instance, maybe a writer offers to write a 1,000 word article for $100. Then they upsell you by saying they’ll include two outbound links for an additional $10 and two photos for $20 more.

Be careful on this type of pricing. If you do more research, you’ll find that links and photos are typically included as a standard part of a writing assignment, so writers don’t usually charge extra for them.

How Freelancer Works as a Freelancing Platform

Freelancer is a freelancing website based in Sydney, Australia. It is publicly traded on the Australian Securities Exchange. It was founded in 2009 and has offices in several countries around the world.

Freelancer is free to sign up. Once you find a freelancer and have agreed on a project and fees, you’ll send the fee to Freelancer to hold until the freelancer finishes the job to your satisfaction. You have to pay Freelancer a usage fee of 3% (or $3, whichever is greater) of the agreed-upon price.

If you wish for additional services such as having a recruiter look for freelancers that could do the work for you, you can pay additional to that. If you wish to know the details, here’s their schedule of fees.

Like the other freelancing websites, you can find freelancers with many types of skills and skill levels on Freelancer. They’re separated into the following categories:

  • Website design
  • Mobile
  • Graphic design
  • Logo design
  • 3D modeling
  • Illustration
  • Branding
  • Product design
  • Package design
  • WordPress

Freelancer also charges each freelancer a fee from each job’s payment. There are small exceptions and the freelancer can purchase additional services, but the basic fee is 10% of the project payment or $5, whichever is greater.

How Contently Works as a Freelancing Platform

Contently isn’t a pure freelancing website. It’s a project management platform for content marketing projects. However, they have a large network of freelancers for the hiring business to pick from, if the business decides to use freelancers.

Contently started in 2011 and has Fortune 500 clients who use their platform. They’re based in New York City.

If you use Contently’s platform, you’d have the help of Contently editors and content strategists to help you design a campaign. At the very least, they can help you pick a great freelancer qualified to help you with your project.

Contently doesn’t disclose their pricing on their website. You’d have to contact them for a customized sales pitch. However, a quick internet search reveals Contently charges on a per-month basis, and it could cost several thousand dollars per month to access their platform. This does not include additional fees you’d have to pay to the freelancers to do the work.

While Contently does have a great reputation among freelancers for well-paying jobs (which attracts great freelancers), they’re probably not suited for most small startup businesses.

How Skyword Works as a Freelancing Platform

Skyword is another content marketing company similar to Contently. The company is primarily located in Boston, MA, and Washington D.C.

Skyword’s clients use its project management software to keep track of content marketing projects. Within that software, you can set a project timeline, hire writers, videographers, graphic artists, and similar. Skyword also has a team of project managers/editors and content strategists to help you design a content marketing plan. They’ll also help you pick the freelancers you might need, if you decide you need a freelancer’s help.

There’s no pricing for Skyword’s software on its website, and there’s very little information elsewhere on how much Skyword charges. Depending on your type of business and how well-funded you are, Skyword may or may not be the right place for you to find freelancers.

Skyword does have a good reputation among freelancers. One reason is that they do not take a cut of the fees from the freelancers, so professional freelancers (as opposed to college students who want to make pizza money) are happy to work with them.

Finding a Great Freelancer is Hard Work, Even with the Help of Freelancing Websites

Looking through this article, you’ll see that there are several types of freelancing websites where you can hire freelancers for many types of work. Finding a great freelancer is just like finding an employee, except you can use the freelancer on a per-job basis.

So, just like finding a great employee, you’ll have to work at finding a great freelancer. You might also have to try a few before you find the person you like. And, like with everything, the more money you’re willing to pay (to the freelancer or to the platform), the greater the chance for you to land that person you need.

Don’t forget that you’re free to try several freelancers before deciding on the one you like. But once you find the person you need, keep going back to them for different work to continue the working relationship. This way, you’ll always have access to the great help you need, when you need it.

Interested in starting and running a small business? Here’s the beginning of our step-by-step guide: What to do right after getting that great business idea.

Questions? Comments?