In 2023, remote work has become even more relevant and in demand. Along with it, websites for freelancers are enjoying success. In our article, we will tell you about the 7 most popular freelance marketplaces, and introduce you to their specifics, functionality and prices.
Upwork has been considered one of the most popular freelance websites for more than two decades. It was founded in 1999 and was first called Elance, then oDesk, then Elance-oDesk, and in 2015 it received its current name. The platform is the largest online database of freelancers, with millions of specialists from different professions.
- The directory of freelancers on Upwork is divided into categories: AI and technology, sales and marketing, development and IT, design and creative, user support and administration, engineering and architecture, texts and translations, finance and accounting.
- When publishing a project, the customer needs to describe the task and indicate the budget. Projects here can be public or private. Only selected freelancers have the right to apply for the latter.
- In the process of reviewing applications, employers focus on resumes, portfolios, previously completed projects and reviews. In addition, they pay attention to certificates and other details in the freelancer’s profile.
- The contractor chosen by the client receives a contract, which specifies the expected amount of work for the project in hours, the deadline and the hourly rate.
- Upwork, considered one of the best websites for freelance writers, offers ready-made projects with the option of purchasing them, as well as paid expert consultation services.
- In projects with hourly wages, the contractor can automate the recording of work hours using the built-in Work Diary tool. In projects with a fixed payment, the customer divides the project into stages (checkpoints), and the freelancer receives payment in installments as they are completed.
- Upwork users have access to a secure transaction (reserving a budget on the site), generating invoices, time tracking and other functions.
Currently, Upwork takes a 10% commission on freelancers' earnings that they receive through projects on this popular platform.
Guru is one of the oldest websites for freelancers. It was created in 1998 and was first called eMoonlighter.com. Today there are over 3 million registered users from all over the world.
- The platform is suitable for freelancers of various specializations: development and programming, design and art, education and training, legal services, texts and translations, engineering and architecture, sales and marketing, administration, business and finance.
- Customers can create projects with hourly payment, fixed budget, regular payments (weekly, monthly) or payment for specific tasks.
- The service supports short-term and long-term contracts. There is built-in time tracking.
- When registering with Guru, freelancers undergo verification. Their accounts publish reviews of the projects they have completed and their ratings, as well as the number of fees paid to them. In turn, freelancers can also leave feedback about customers.
- Users have access to several methods for depositing and withdrawing money. The SafePay secure transaction service is presented separately.
- Another useful platform tool is WorkRoom. It is designed for collaboration. Using it, customers have the opportunity to collaborate with one or several performers at the same time. They can assign tasks, accept results, transfer payments, assign responsibilities and keep track of working hours.
- In the blog publishes articles with useful insights for freelancers and employers, information about project updates, and so on.
Guru is in the list of top freelance platforms. Guru's commission for employers is 9% of the project budget + 2.9% for processing the invoice payment transaction. There are no transaction fees for withdrawals by bank transfer or e-check. Platform fees may be deducted from the freelancer's fee or paid by the customer.
For freelancers, Guru offers several pricing plans. There is a free one – Basic. Its functionality is limited. The rest are paid. If you pay for the year at once, the Basic+ plan costs $8.95 per month, Professional – $15.95, Business – $24.95, Executive – $39.95. A platform fee ranging from $5 to $9 is charged for each of them.
Next in our selection of the best freelance websites for beginners and professionals is the Fiverr freelance marketplace. It was launched in 2010. Initially, the base price for services here was $5. Over time, the project raised the minimum threshold. Now, performers can charge higher prices.
- The platform is suitable for specialists from many fields. It is used by those involved in the fields of programming and technology, digital marketing, design and graphics, texts and translations, photography, data processing, logo creation, music and audio, animation and video production, business and lifestyle. This is one of the reasons why it is ranked among the best freelance platforms.
- Fiverr allows you to publish projects and offer services only at a fixed price. Hourly rates are not supported. End-to-end projects available.
- Customers buy freelance services in gigs format. They can contain text, images, videos, and tags. It is also possible to create gigs for several services.
- The built-in Logo Maker automates the logo design process using AI technology.
After registering on Fiverr, freelancers receive New Seller status, which allows them to add up to 7 gigs to their profile. After working on the platform for 60 days and completing 10 orders with a total budget of $400 or more, they receive a Level One badge. With it, a freelancer can increase the prices for services and place up to 10 gigs. After 120 days of work on the site and successful completion of 50+ projects worth $2000 or more, the contractor moves to Level Two. Owners of this status have access to up to 15 gigs and an even higher price for services. In addition, their gigs are processed faster by the system.
The Toptal platform appeared in 2010. Today, it is one of the most popular freelance websites for developers. Its audience is professional freelancers and large clients, including Fortune 500 companies. Employers can hire both remote and office workers here.
- Registration on the site is available only to experienced software developers and other IT specialists, project and product managers, designers and financial experts. Translators, photographers, text authors and representatives of many other professions are deprived of this opportunity.
- Freelancers wishing to register with Toptal must undergo a multi-level verification of their qualifications and skills. The service administration approves only 3% of submitted applications.
- General requirements for performers: 2–3 years of work experience, excellent communication skills and prompt completion of tasks. Platform employees check the expertise, communication skills and professionalism of applicants.
- Freelancers registered with Toptal can offer their services at higher rates than other remote work sites. The average rate of local specialists reaches $80 per hour. This is one of the good reasons why the platform is considered one of the best freelance websites for developers.
- Employers wishing to publish a vacancy fill out a questionnaire. Based on their answers, the platform matches them with the most relevant performers. During the search process, customers can communicate with candidates via Skype.
- The Toptal Projects service allows you to assemble a team of specialists for a specific project. The employer does not have to search for and interview applicants. This will be done by your personnel manager.
The platform charges customers a security deposit of $500. They can terminate the contract with the freelancer and receive a refund during the 14-day trial period. Toptal does not charge a fee for hiring or firing an employee.
Thematic freelance marketplace 99designs is one of the best freelance platforms for designers, illustrators and other specialists in the field of graphic creativity. The service offers an extensive database of freelancers of various specializations. Its interface is available in multiple languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Japanese and more.
- The platform's catalogue contains the following categories: business cards, logos, websites, mobile applications, packaging, brand books, book covers, clothing, accessories and others.
- Before publishing a project, customers must fill out a brief, indicating its features, specifications, required style and other information, as well as their wishes.
- Employers can offer an order to specific freelancers by selecting they from the catalogue. They can search by criteria such as qualifications (initial, intermediate, high), portfolio and cost of services.
- 99designs allows customers to create a contest for all registered users or just a select few. Based on its results, employers choose the option they like from the concepts sent to them.
- After successful completion of a project or competition, customers transfer a fee to the designer and receive the source code with copyright for the work. All files are saved in their account and remain available for download at any time.
In the course of direct cooperation, the customer and the contractor independently negotiate the project budget. Bronze level competitions ($299) allow you to receive up to 30 concepts from freelancers, Silver ($499) – up to 60, Gold ($899) – up to 90 concepts from medium and highly qualified designers. Platinum level competitions ($1,299) provide the opportunity to collect up to 60 concepts exclusively from high-level specialists, and also include priority support. Customers are guaranteed a 100% refund of their budget if they are not satisfied with any concept.
Freelancer.com is a worthy participant in our selection of the best freelance websites. It has been operating successfully since 2009. Currently, there are beyond 50 million registered users from all over the world. For ease of searching, their skills are divided into over 1,800 categories. The services of local freelancers are regularly used by major tech corporations, including Google, IBM, and Amazon.
- When registering, performers must confirm their qualifications through a “verification center.” They can then add a portfolio of work to their profile, information about their experience, skills, certifications, completed projects, and so on.
- Freelancer.com allows you to speed up your search for relevant orders and vacancies using keywords and various filters. The site publishes orders with hourly and fixed rates, urgent projects and those requiring compliance with NDA.
- It is possible to filter projects by geolocation and language. Freelancers can post ready-made services (gigs) in the catalogue in different languages: German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and others.
- The service provides a number of advantages for verified specialists. They are highlighted with a blue icon on their profile. They are allowed to respond to higher-value projects and work with corporate clients.
- After registration, employers receive full access to the directory of performers and publication of tasks. The platform offers them the services of its own experts in personnel selection and project management.
- Freelancer.com users have access to idea generation tools and educational materials. In addition, freelancers can track their professional growth on the site through a special tracker in their profile.
The freelance website takes a commission of 10% or $5 on projects with a fixed fee, as well as 10% of the budget of each stage of the project with an hourly rate. Performers in the Preferred category are charged an increased commission of 15%. Freelancers pay $99 for verification.
Founded in 2009, Dribbble is one of the top freelance websites for representatives of creative professions – designers, animators, artists, illustrators. However, it is also suitable for web developers, marketers, content creators, UI/UX designers and other digital specialities.
- More than a million freelancers and over 60,000 companies from around the world are registered on the platform.
- Customers publish projects and vacancies in the feed for a monthly subscription fee. They can add a detailed description of the project/vacancy, indicate the required specialist skills and the format of cooperation convenient for them (full/part-time, full-time/freelance, and so on).
- The service allows employers to select performers from the database and offer them orders directly. In addition, various filters, messaging, adding to favorites and more are available here.
- Freelancers registered on this site fill out information about themselves and publish a portfolio of work.
- The catalogue of specializations on Dribbble includes the following areas: illustration, branding, web design, mobile application design, product design, animation, typography, printed materials design and a number of others. The general catalogue of the platform contains about 3 million design templates, illustrations and other works with the ability to search by tags.
To be able to respond to employers' projects and offer their services, freelancers must purchase a Pro account. It costs $8 per month if you pay for the year up front, or $16 per month if you pay monthly. Pro users can upload multi-frame images and videos to their portfolio, and also be placed in priority positions in the catalogue. Customers pay the service $99 per month for access to publishing projects/vacancies in the feed, and $199 per month for access to the full database of freelancers.
All the best websites for freelancers presented in our review have been working in this niche for many years, so they are trusted by millions of freelancers and employers from all over the world. However, some of the sites we list have a specific specialization. For example, 99designs and Dribbble are aimed at design and graphics professionals, while Toptal is only available to highly qualified IT specialists and related professions. If you are interested in universal platforms with the most extensive catalogue of specializations, we recommend considering Upwork, Freelancer.com, Guru or Fiverr.
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