Freelancer.com is another popular freelance talent staffing site which is similar to Upwork (formerly oDesk). More than 25 million registered users have completed more than 12 million projects with Freelancer.com, meaning that a lot of companies around the world are using these independent professionals for outsourced software and application development, writing, design and other business services.
In my review of Freelancer.com, I wanted to discover how employers are currently using the talent site, as well as how its features, like payment and time tracking, compared to its rival freelance websites.
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Freelancer.com Fee Structure
However, the Freelancer.com commission varies, depending on the employer’s or employee’s membership level (which ranges from free to $59.95/month).
According to Freelancer.com, freelancer fees vary depending on the type of project or service that you’ve successfully bid on, as well as which plan you’re on. So, how much does a Freelancer.com cost?
- For fixed price projects – 10% or $5.00 USD, whichever is greater, and 10% for hourly projects
- For contests – 10% or $5.00 USD, whichever is greater
- For services – 20% fee of the total service price
- For the Preferred Freelancer Program – 15% project fee
Freelancers can also only submit up to 8 proposals per month, before they must upgrade to a paid account. This may deter some freelancers from using the site, as many competitors do not charge the freelancer a monthly or project rate to use the site.
Payments are made via a PayPal account, and employers must make milestone payments to Freelancer.com’s escrow system, where the company releases payment upon project approval.
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Freelancer Application and Time Tracking
Freelancer.com has a downloadable desktop app for Windows, Linux or Mac, as well as a mobile app for organizing projects in progress. Using the app, freelancers can display multiple projects and details at once, and also communicate with their employer via a chat messaging feature within the app.
Time tracking within the Freelancer.com app allows the worker to track only hourly projects, which may be a limitation for some freelancers or clients. Time tracking with Freelancer.com includes a ‘play’ and ‘pause’ button, controlled by the freelancer, but with the ability to switch projects if a chat begins from another project.
The freelancer app also takes periodic screen shots of the freelancer’s work, but also allows the freelancer to manually take a screenshot to send to the employer via a ‘snapshot’ button.
It wasn’t clear from the Freelancer website what type of freelancer time tracking reporting it sends to employers, or how detailed or how often this occurs (if at all). Based on this review of Freelancer.com, having your freelancer use a more sophisticated time tracking software might give you a better picture into their hours spent on the project.
We think that this is a great tool to track time being used by your freelancers – because nobody wants to be overcharged for work and pay for hours that were never done.
Time tracking is also great for using with development jobs like WordPress developer hired for implementing a complex feature on your WordPress site. In development, certain tasks, such as debugging, can take a lot of time. So it’s great to see where the time is going, what your freelance developer has been working on, and where their productivity is going into. A time tracking function is absolutely necessary for most jobs you’ll post on Freelancer.com.
Frustrations with Freelancer.com
While I don’t have any direct experience working with Freelancer, I did some digging for a review of Freelancer.com to discover there were some pretty upset folks who were frustrated at their experiences using the site, particularly when it comes to the payment system.
From employers trying to scam freelancers to a freelancer’s project funds being reversed once a project has been approved, it seems as if employers and freelancers need to be careful and do extensive research when accepting project bids.
Also, Freelancer.com encourages employers to pay for a membership fee, as well as to boost project visibility via enhanced ads. They also seem to charge exchange fees to convert money from one currency to another, and charge freelancer accounts an “inactive” fee if their account remains inactive for an extensive period of time.
Due to the high fees on both sides of the freelancer/employer equation, and the negative reviews, employers and freelancers may be better off sticking to more reputable freelance websites such as Upwork (formerly oDesk), if they are determined to use a freelance staffing site. Read a comparison of Upwork vs Freelancer.
Bottom Line: Dealing with the Drawbacks of a Freelance Talent Site
As a business wanting to take advance of affordable labor offered on sites such as Freelancer.com, Upwork (formerly oDesk), there are a few things to consider. The first consideration is how much time you want to spend weeding through good and bad candidates to find the best freelancer for the job.
Are you better off finding your own local talent at a higher rate, or are you willing to sacrifice time and possibly quality of work to get a lower hourly rate or project fee?
The second consideration is whether you want to pay all of the service fees that companies like Freelancer.com charge for your project. Again, hiring locally or even regionally may be a better fit for your organization if you don’t want to spend the time managing your Freelancer.com account to ensure proper payment and management of your project details.
Finally, you may want to discover ways to more adequately track your freelancer’s time using an external time tracking tool with screenshot capabilities, to verify that the work your freelancer is doing coincides with what you are paying for the project. Doing so may also give you a better sense of security that your freelancer is legitimate.
What are the alternatives?
Hubstaff Talent is a 100% free database of talented freelancers and agencies available for work. There are no markups and no fees on either side (freelancer or business owner). That means freelancers get exactly what their client pays them. You even get to operate on whatever platform you want!
This free platform displays a freelancer’s hourly rate, skills, experience, availability, resume, and languages spoken. Freelancers also have the option to add a short “about” description to provide more information on themselves. Profiles can be filtered by skill, availability, years of experience, or country. You can also run a search for keywords or phrases.
To find freelancers and agencies, business owners simply have to browse the profiles on Hubstaff Talent, contact the team of choice directly, decide on work terms, and get started.
Agencies can start a profile and add team members in order to be found by business owners. Freelancers only need to start a profile, get found, contacted, and then hit the ground running.
An easier way to manage freelancers
Another great way to deal with the drawbacks of Freelancer.com is to onboard your new hire to a software designed for managing remote teams.
Hubstaff Tasks, in combination with Hubstaff time tracking, is a powerful way to manage projects and teams. The Agile project management tool allows you to create detailed Kanban-style tasks that can easily move through automated workflows you create.
Assign a task to your freelancer, then add due dates, checklists, descriptions, comments and more. Everything related to the project stays in one place so it’s easy to track and know how close it is to being completed.
The sprint option lets your team get organized and add the task cards into their current and future sprints. Daily standups let team members announce what they have been working on so you’ll know what’s on everyone’s plate without having to constantly check-in.
Hubstaff time tracking lets you see how much time your team is spending on each task. You can even choose to see your freelancer’s screenshots as they work. This is a great option if you’re still building trust with a new hire and trying to determine how long each project will take.
Set pay rates for each freelancer, review timesheets, and send automatic payments at the end of each pay period. Hubstaff integrates with Paypal, Payoneer or TransferWise so you can track projects, view hours and pay team members all while never leaving the Hubstaff dashboard.
It’s easy to see how Hubstaff is a great alternative to Freelancer.com, both as a full-replacement, as well as a tool to manage your hires. Check out Hubstaff Talent, start a free trial of Hubstaff and enjoy Hubstaff Tasks free for teams of up to 5.
This post was updated on September 24, 2019.