One of the most valuable tools a freelancer can find these days is a good freelance marketplace site. Many successful freelances that were able to quit their daytime jobs to work as full time freelances have build their client portfolio from such sites. A few years ago there were not so many, but now you can find an ever increasing list of such sites that are trying to make their name into the business.
Even if we are freelancers we are very busy persons (probably even more than regular employees that have their job secured, and not work on the project), and in such a huge amount of resources a newone can waste a lot of time (on searching, bidding, following up, etc.) and became very frustrated if he will not use the appropriate sites. This is the reason for this post to list the best freelance marketplace sites from my experiences and also to show how you can spot in notime a small site that will most certainly just make you loose time.
How do you know if a freelancer marketplace site will be good for you or not?
These are just general tips, and you can tweak them based on the profile of your job and the particularities of it and also based on your individual needs (like for ex. I would not like to work on a hourly rate, but I would like to find outgoing monthly paid projects, etc.)
Rule 1: NO ADS on the marked place site. If you see such a site that is full with ads (normally google ads) then it means that this is a small business. What are they trying to do? Are they trying to get their money from ads (don’t get me wrong many peoples have done great business based on ads, but here we are looking for a stable company that most certainly will intermediate the payments - and will hold the payments you get on projects, etc.). Personally if I see a freelance marketplace site with ads all over the place, I have finished my visit immediately.
Rule 2: Projects: see how many projects are available. Would you be interested in bidding on them? See the projects related to your own field (some sites might be good for one type of job - let’s say programmers, but not appropriate for others). On the projects look what is the average bid if that is pubic, or the award price for closed ones.
Rule 3: Providers: see what other peoples like you were able to accomplish. How many projects were they able to complete? How much money did they made on the site? This will also show the competition you will be facing and also the prices that the marketplace is normally awarding projects.
Rule 4: commissions? withdrawals methods? See if you can get the money you will be making to your own local account. What are the commissions you will pay?
Best Freelance Marketplace Sites
To help new freelancers (and maybe others also), I have compiled a list of best freelance marketplace sites. The list is sorted based on my own impressions. Feel free to comment on it if you think I have left something important out.
1. eLance http://www.elance.com/ - paid monthly/yearly subscriptions to make bids. - commission for each project/payment (6.75% to 8.75%, with a minimum fee of $10 per project) - one free wire transfer per month
2. Guru http://www.guru.com/ - free account (limited to 10 bids/month) with higher commissions than normal one - paid monthly/yearly subscriptions with 100bids/mo - many projects posted, but few get awarded
3. RentACoder http://www.rentacoder.com/ - mostly for programmers - projects rated at smaller prices than elance/guru
4. GetAFreelancer http://www.getafreelancer.com/
5. ScriptLance http://www.scriptlance.com/
For me personally only elance and guru have worked with good results, but maybe for other type of works other sites might be useful also. Others that I found ‘interesting’ but not very useful for me personally were oDesk (because of their hourly rate scheme but I haven’t found interesting projects) and Onforce (because of the onsite work provided that was the only one targeted towards that, but of course not useful for me either).
I will conclude with a list of what I consider smaller such sites (just so you can test my above tips ;-) ): Project4Hire FreelanceWork AgaveBlue FreelanceJobSearch FreelanceAuction Mac Freelancer WriterLance Hirelancer