Freelance websites are becoming increasingly important due to the ever-growing number of both buyers and sellers who use their services. Whether you have a long-term interest in freelancing or you just want to make a quick buck – these markets are competing for you.
In fact, you can find thousands of online platforms vying for your attention and seeking to become your number one choice for freelance work. However, many of them lack what it takes to warrant such commitment on your part.
Therefore, we’ve done our homework for you and prepared this article hoping that it would make it easier to find the right freelance platform for you. The old-school freelance websites we took into consideration are Elance, Upwork (formerly oDesk), Freelancer and Fiverr.
Is old better than new?
If you insist on using an old-school freelance marketplace, the first thing you should check is the year the service has been established in.
On the one hand, Upwork (formerly oDesk) and Elance have been offering freelance work for over 10 years, which means that millions of freelancers have managed to find something to their liking over the years.
On the other hand, Fiverr and Freelancer are relatively new in the world of freelance websites with less than 5 years of service. This is important for those of you who believe that the older the service is, the better features and tasks it offers.
Some freelance websites are free, but others are not
Second, you need to analyze the membership options that these services offer. While Upwork (formerly oDesk) and Fiverr are completely free to use, please note that Upwork (formerly oDesk) does require you to meet some non-monetary conditions in order to remain a member, namely it asks that you fulfill a weekly quota which increases as your rank and standing at Upwork (formerly oDesk) change.
Elance and Freelancer offer both free and paid subscriptions, with the latter starting at as low as $5 a month. However, the moment you choose to pay for the subscription, you can rest assured that you will gain access to a significantly larger number of job applications. The main cost of doing business, however, will never be the membership fees as all of these websites charge transaction fees on the actual work and projects as well.
The service charging the biggest transaction fee is Fiverr. If you use it, you will notice that as soon as you complete a Gig and it’s approved, you will get 80% of the total Gig value. In other words, if you do a $5 Gig, you are entitled to $4 for its successful completion.
For successfully completing projects on Upwork (formerly oDesk), you get charged with 10% of their value, while Elance charges you only 8.75%. Freelancer has a different fee structure and there is no fixed percentage. It all depends on the type of project and its estimated value.
A comparison of their content
If you are reading this article, you are most likely interested in finding out which of these services will offer you the most jobs and projects. In theory, the larger the number of job categories is, the more choices you have.
Fiverr is the absolute winner when it comes to finding jobs (Gigs) that cover various categories. It is famous for its diversity of tasks, and you will be able to advertise and offer all kinds of everyday tasks for a fee, the kind of stuff you wouldn’t even imagine someone would pay money for. Don’t be fooled, however, while Fiverr is mainly known for the crazy and casual tasks, it also has a strong marketplace for serious and professional tasks as well.
Freelancer comes next, with 11 job categories, most of them related to IT services and programming. It is followed by Upwork (formerly oDesk) with 9 job categories, the specialties being IT, programming and web design while Elance has the lowest number with only 5 categories that cover IT, programming and web design tasks. You also have the option of becoming a virtual assistant.
Another thing worth considering is the number of freelancers that use these services. According to some people, it’s better to use a service with fewer freelancers.
The theory says that in small markets, the small competition ensures that each freelancer gets a fair shot at building up a reputation. In theory, these markets should have a smaller number of more deeply committed freelancers.
However, we do not agree with this theory at all. If you are patient enough, you will build up a reputation in the bigger markets as well. If you offer quality and a good value for money you will easily stand out from the masses.
It’s actually rather easy and simple to look different than the hordes of lower-quality freelancers found on a large market. Stick to the process, keep at it and the number of projects you are assigned will rise steadily.
What results does each freelancer website generate?
If we are to look at the hard data on market size, we can tell you that Freelancer is the largest service, with more than 7 million freelancers registered. It is followed by oDesk with over 3.1 million users and Elance with its 2 million contractors. As for Fiverr, the number of services being offered has already surpassed 1.3 million, so there is no doubt that a lot of people are using it as well.
Dedicating yourself to these websites will ensure a steady stream of projects, but can you be certain that you receive the money you are owed? While Upwork (formerly oDesk) does not offer any escrows or advance payment accounts, when you work the hourly jobs, you will get a “Verified work” stamp – an Upwork (formerly oDesk) guarantee that you get paid. The other three services also guarantee that you will always get what is due.
When it comes to dispute support, Upwork (formerly oDesk) again fails to deliver, as it only offers customer support on disputes with the hourly jobs. Freelancer, Elance, and Fiverr allow you to go through the standard resolution procedures on all jobs and make sure that you are not cheated of your hard-earned money.
Last but not least, it’s also important to touch on the website itself from a user experience standpoint. While most of us would think of the user interface merely as decoration, when you spend your entire day on a website, the inefficiencies, and imperfections in a user interface add up. You want the website to feel intuitive and natural so you can easily invest time in it.
How easy is it to use those websites?
While most people should have no problem using any of these websites, it’s fair to mention that there are some notable differences. On the one hand, Elance and Fiverr have an intuitive interface that makes finding and tracking projects super easy.
On the other hand, Upwork (formerly oDesk) and Freelancer can definitely do better as you will sometimes face difficulties during navigation, reading messages and finding the exact project that you are interested in.
And then there comes the revolution
While we did a good overview of the old-school freelance websites, you might be a bit more adventurous and bold, and interested in the new way to hire freelancers or do freelance work.
Hubstaff Talent is a revolutionary new platform, which means that you need to be hand-picked by the people we have running it. While this makes it harder to become a member, it also means that once you are a member, your life as a freelancer becomes much easier.
The service itself matches employers to contractors. This means that you as a contractor no longer need to “beg” for work, posting free samples, applying for jobs and all the other busywork common at the old-school marketplaces.
In the old-school model, you are expected to prove yourself time and again and win over every new employer. With the HubStaff process you only need to win over our team, and from there on we vouch for your quality to all prospective clients.