With all that has happened in 2020, from the pandemic to turbulent economies and huge job losses around the world, freelancing has seen a massive boom. The world took a shift and businesses had to virtualize their setups to thrive in these unpredictable circumstances.
According to the International Labor Organization, around 400 million people lost their jobs worldwide during the pandemic. In response to this huge fallout, about 2 million Americans shifted towards freelancing and the ratio has been increasing ever since then.
Until 2019, 28% of people were working as freelancers out of their own choices because it offered flexibility and variety, but the statistics have changed and the percentage has increased to 38% in 2020.
At present, there is a plethora of freelancing platforms out there, offering a marketplace for businesses to scale and providing work opportunities to freelancers at the same time.
However, it is challenging to decide which platform you should opt for since there are lots of critical factors you need to consider. More importantly, it is not possible to check out every platform to see if it meets your criteria and budget.
To help businesses and freelancers alike to opt for the right platform, we have examined a list of freelancing platforms and cherry-picked the best ones after critical evaluation.
Top Factors That Make a Reliable and Best Freelance Marketplace
A commission is an amount a freelance platform charges from its freelancers for providing a roof for selling their services. All renowned freelancing sites charge a project-based commission from the registered freelancers on their site.
Commission fees can range from 5% to 30%, which can be prohibitively expensive for those who rely exclusively on freelancing. A high commission rate means higher project rates which increase competition and ultimately turn off potential clients.
Thus, an ideal freelance site would be the one that offers unpaid membership and charges the lowest commission rates.
Projects/ Offers You Can Create
Any freelancing site follows one of the two options; Either the client posts a project to bid upon or the freelancer creates his/her customized offers.
There are some portals that are employer-centric in a way that the client posts a project with a job description, and the freelancers would then bid on the projects by pitching appealing proposals. This can be an exasperating and time-consuming task.
While on the other hand, there are freelance platforms that allow its members to introduce their relevant portfolio and create their own offers. This is more of an employee-centric feature since you won't need to beg for projects anymore.
Amount of Bids/ Free or Paid
Freelancing sites offer an option for free and paid bids. When a client posts a project, freelancers bid on that project and send proposals to win the task. But there's a limitation to the number of free bids a freelancer can make. Your bid limit is the number of bids you can use every day or month to bid on different projects.
For example, Freelancer.com offers 8 free bids per month. That means you can bid on 8 different projects in one month but once the limit is reached, you can bid no further. For that, you would have to go for the paid bids.
No business succeeds without strong customer service. A flawless interaction with your employees and customers serves to maintain their professionalism and integrity.
If you want your customers to do their best, you must treat them with respect and appreciation. Only then can they be intrinsically driven to do a good job and serve well, resulting in higher customer retention.
Therefore, look for a freelancing platform that offers 24/7 live support to its freelancers and clients.
Number of Services
All freelancing sites provide a wide range of services to connect businesses with freelancers. A site that provides comparatively more services owns a greater pool of freelancers who work in different industries.
The offered services may include Graphics Design, Marketing, Project Management, Social Media Handling, Web Design/Development, and Writing /Editing, to name a few.
The Best Freelance Platforms in 2021
TaskShift is the rising star in the freelance industry which aims at providing an unparalleled freelance marketplace with a square deal for freelancers and businesses all at the same time.
TaskShift charges only 3% from each finished project, allowing the freelancers to retain 97% of their earnings. For instance, if you earn $10 from a project, TaskShift will only charge $0.3 out of the total amount that leaves you with $9.7.
At TaskShift, you can offer your services in a wide range of industries, including but not limited to graphic design, digital marketing, web or app development, custom software development, video editing, photo editing, voice editing, content writing, and copywriting, to name a few.
Clients can post their projects under the 'Project Board' menu where freelancers can bid on those projects. The good news for freelancers is that TaskShift doesn't limit the number of times you can bid per day.
TaskShift also has a Dispute Resolution board that intervenes when the client and freelancer have any dispute and they fail to come to any settlement.
To check out offers from freelancers or to post an offer, browse TaskShift marketplace.
Freelancer.com is an Australian freelance platform that allows clients to post jobs on which freelancers can bid. The site also offers an opportunity to host and enter contests for which prize money is offered as a reward.
Members of the forum are given a limited number of bids to use on the site, which are refreshed on a regular basis. There are many account types available, ranging from free accounts to professional subscriptions.
The service charges for the freelancers on freelancer.com are as following:
- Hourly projects: 10% of the total payment is charged as a fee
- Fixed-rate projects: 10% fee is deducted from the winning bid when a freelancer accepts a
The fee for projects is non-refundable. These payments can only be refunded or adjusted if they are paid incorrectly due to technical issues.
Fiverr works the other way round as compared to the conventional freelance platforms. Rather than businesses posting positions for freelancers to apply for, freelancers build their own jobs based on their skills.
They market their services to businesses and organize their gigs into categories using keywords that appear in various searches.
Fiverr deducts $1 from each $5 you earn or let's say 20% of the amount earned. This means you earn $4 as soon as a $5 transaction is made. Similarly, you make $8 if your gig is bought in for $10, and so on.
After Fiverr takes their share, you'll have to wait two weeks from the gig completion date to withdraw your funds. When you do so, you would pay a fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 to PayPal. Let's look at the numbers for a $5 gig:
$5 for the initial gig - $1 for the Fiverr commission - $0.42 for PayPal fees = $3.58. But you cannot withdraw cash without meeting the threshold which is a minimum of $100
4. People Per Hour
A client puts in the essential details of a project at the start. This information is then fed into an artificial intelligence application, which analyses it and matches the client with freelancers who would be a good fit.
Targeted at web projects for marketers, SEO specialists, and software engineers, PeoplePerHour strives for a more streamlined operation, matching freelancers and clients.
This is how PPH charges its users:
- Over Pound 5000 | $7000 | €6000 - lifetime billing per Buyer: 3.5% (excl. VAT) service fee
- Between Pound 250 | $350 | €300 and Pound 5000 | $7000 | €6000 lifetime billing per Buyer: 7.5% (excl. VAT) service fee
- Below Pound 250 | $350 | € 300-lifetime billing per Buyer: 20% (excl. VAT) service fee
The almost endless stream of job openings is updated on a regular basis. Many small and large companies hit up the site in search of developers, freelance designers, and writers.
You'd need to learn the art of writing successful proposals, and many times you may need to bid lower than to win a bid.
Upwork has a lot of freelancers, and so as the competition. Bidding on a project of 30 proposals is typically not worth it unless you're an Upwork superstar.
You're charged a sliding fee as a freelancer contingent upon your lifetime billings with each non-Enterprise customer. The service rates remain the same for hourly or fixed-price contracts.
- $0-$500: 20%
- $500.01-$10,000: 10%
- $10,000.01 or more: 5%
For instance, a freelancer's service fee on a $600 project with a new client will be 20% on the first $500 and 10% on the remaining $100. After deductions, their earnings will be $490.
Guru is another freelance brokerage site that connects freelancers and start-ups to clients and takes a commission on each successful deal.
It isn't a bad place, but it's clearly geared towards developer opportunities. On Guru, you can find writing and design projects as well, but they're very few.
Guru offers 5 membership plans:
- Basic - Free
- Basic+ - $8.95/month if charged yearly, or $11.95/month if paid monthly
- Professional - $15.95/month if charged yearly, or $21.95/month if paid monthly
- Business - $24.95/month if charged yearly, or $33.95/month if paid monthly
- Executive - $39.95/month if charged yearly, or $49.95/month if paid monthly
In the contemporary COVID situation, businesses are yearning for economical services, and the unemployed are in search of authentic work. In these circumstances, freelancing is the way to go.