There are a lot of freelance sites on the worldwide web where potential clients post projects and freelancers can bid on them. A lot of freelancers question whether these sites are scams or a fantastic way of getting clients
The bigger and most recognised Freelance sites (such as Elance.com, Guru.com, o desk, and freelancer.com) are without doubt not scams and have thousands of registered freelancers and buyers signed up to them. They have a high volume of payments every day with a lot of repeat business. Smaller lesser known sites may or may not be scams and it is advisable to carefully check them before signing up, especially if you have to sign up to a paid account
How freelance sites work
Although all freelance sites are different and have their individual terms and conditions they are essentially a way of linking individuals or companies that wish to outsource some work with providers seeking work.
- The buyer posts a task on the site
- Interested service providers bid on the project
- The clients sorts through the bids and chooses a freelancer
- Terms and conditions are settled
- The Freelancer does the work
- The buyer pays for the work
Buyers can normally leave comments on the quality of the work and service provided. The provider can usually also leave feedback about the buyer.
Most respected sites have a payment protection system in place such as Escrow. The client deposits money into an Escrow account before work commences. The provider completes the work and submits it to the buyer. The money in the account is released to the freelancer. If the freelancer does not submit the work, the client gets the money back. If there is a dispute it is dealt with by intermediaries..
How Freelance sites Earn their money
The sites earn their profit by charging a fee for the account (Although many sites have free account options, which offer a restricted service to the freelancer. Either in the number of bids they can make in a month or the kinds of jobs they can bid on). Most sites also charge an administration fee per project. This differs from site to site and should be considered when placing a bid on a job.
Freelance sites usually have an area for the freelancer to include their profile, giving information of the services they provide, experience and qualifications. Usually a portfolio can be added to the profile to show samples of work to prospective buyers.
Advantages and disadvantages of using Freelance sites
- You have access to clients from all over the world who are currently looking to outsource some task
- You have a place on-line to present your services without the expense of setting up your own website
- Your payment is assured with the sites payment protection
- Feedback from happy buyers is built in testimonials that can be quoted to potential clients elsewhere
- You are competing with freelancers from all over the world, many from countries with very low, cost of living, who can afford to under bid on projects
- It can take time to get your first client without any feedback
- The majority of sites are American based and payment is in dollars,
- Any negative feedback by dissatisfied clients is permanent and can be seen by potential buyers.