With the continued mushrooming of freelance websites, it has become incredibly easy to find talented freelancers.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for a copywriter to whip stellar marketing content for your e-commerce store or a graphic designer to add a personal touch to your newly-launched website. There’s always someone out there skilled enough to deliver.
You only need to know where to look.
Note that while there are scores of online freelance marketplaces, very few of them go out of their way to vet freelancers before accepting them on their platforms. Which means that it could take forever to find an experienced freelancer to handle your gigs despite paying hefty membership fees.
Like any potential client, you deserve a freelance marketplace that charges minimal fees on membership as well as job postings. You also deserve a platform that boasts millions of freelancers drawn from various industries. Most importantly, the website should have hacker-proof mechanisms in place to curb phishing and other forms of fraudulent activities. If you’re looking for such a platform, we’ve got you covered. The following is a rundown of the eight best marketplaces to hire freelancers in 2021.
Number of Freelancers as of January 2021: 18 Million
Popular Job Categories: Writing, Translation, Graphic Design, IT Support, Software Development, and Data Science
Pricing: Free to join and post a job; 3% charged on payment processing
Payment Methods: PayPal, Bank Transfers, and Credit Card (including American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, Diners Club International, and Discover)
Upwork is one of the most recommended online marketplaces for hiring talented freelancers. With more than 18 million registered freelancers, you’re assured of finding whichever skill you’re looking for.
Freelancers seeking to join Upwork are rigorously vetted to eliminate jokers and scammers. But that’s not all; the company also conducts routine profile reviews to weed out suspicious freelancers from its platform.
Upwork is 100% free to join. The platform doesn’t charge any fees when you post your jobs or receive offers. You’re only charged a commission when you release payment to a freelancer, which usually happens after approving a project. And the figure is a paltry 3% of the payments made.
The job posting process on Upwork is also incredibly easy. To receive many proposals fast, it’s advisable to verify your payment on the platform. You can also message top-rated freelancers directly on the website and invite them to apply for your jobs.
Number of Freelancers as of January 2021: 50 Million
Popular Job Categories: Graphic Design, App Design, Writing, Translation, and Marketing
Pricing: Free to join and post a job; 3% or USD 3.00 (whichever is greater) levied when you award a fixed project; and 3% when you pay for an hourly project
Payment Methods: PayPal, Skrill, Bank Transfers, and Credit Card
Freelancer.com outperforms Upwork in terms of the number of freelancers on its platform. Which is understandable, considering how common the company’s name is among aspiring freelancers.
However, note that most freelancers on Freelancer.com are newbies. Also, the site lacks a robust vetting system compared to Upwork. Therefore, the quality of freelancers on this marketplace doesn’t measure up to that of Upwork.
Nonetheless, Freelancer.com remains one of the go-to platforms for employees looking for skilled freelancers. Clients can join the site and post their jobs free of charge.
After posting your job, bids start arriving in a matter of seconds. When you award a project to a freelancer, Freelancer.com will prompt you to set aside some funds on escrow. You can then release the funds to the freelancer after reviewing and accepting the task.
Number of Freelancers as of January 2021: 2 Million
Popular Job Categories: Programming & Development, Writing & Translation, Design & Art, Administrative & Secretarial, Business & Finance, Sales & Marketing, and Engineering & Architecture
Pricing: 2.9% charged on payment processing (except for eCheck and wire transfers)
Payment Methods: PayPal, Payoneer, Bank Transfers (U.S. only), Wire Transfers, and Credit Card
Guru may not boast a high number of freelancers compared to Freelancer.com and Upwork. However, the platform makes up for that limitation by giving you access to exceptionally skilled freelancers drawn from various industries.
Guru also prides itself on its simple and user-friendly dashboard, with intuitively-placed navigation functions. You can manage a host of activities, including communication, tasks, and payments, in one tab.
Plus, clients can enjoy numerous project management tools, including the Work Room feature that allows you to invite multiple freelancers to a single project.
Guru also has its own version of escrow, known as SafePay. You typically fund SafePay when you award a project. That way, the freelancer feels more confident knowing they’re working with a legit client. But like the regular escrow system, you only release payments from SafePay to the freelancer upon receipt and approval of their work.
Number of Freelancers as of January 2021: About 2.4 Million
Popular Job Categories: Technology & Programming, Writing & Translation, Design, Digital Marketing, ‘Video, Photo & Image,’ Business, and Music & Audio
Pricing: Free to join and post a job; 10% surcharged to pay the freelancer
Payment Methods: PayPal, Payoneer, and Bank Account
If you’re looking for freelancers that are based in the United Kingdom or Europe, you might consider PeoplePerHour.
But the fact that most freelancers on PeoplePerHour are located in Europe doesn’t mean the site is short of talented job seekers from other regions. Whether you’re looking for a writer, translator, programmer, or graphic designer, you are sure to find them on PPH.
You’ll also find the job posting process on PeoplePerHour to be rather straightforward. As soon as your post goes live, the platform’s artificial intelligence immediately kicks in and tries to match you with freelancers that fit your job’s description.
PeoplePerHour provides various ways of engaging with freelancers, including a video conferencing option. And just like Guru, PeoplePerHour has a project management feature that lets you operate from one place. You can post your jobs, message freelancers, and process invoices in one place.
Number of Freelancers as of January 2021: Approximately 2.7 Million
Popular Job Categories: Design, Video Creation & Editing, Writing, Web Development, Mobile App Development, Chatbot Development, Search & Display Marketing, and User Testing Jobs
Pricing: Free to join and post a job; USD 1.00 charged for purchases up to $20.00 and 5% for orders more than $20.00
Payment Methods: PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, GiroPay, Sofort, Boleto, OXXO, iDEAL, Credit/Debit Card, and Wire Transfers
Fiverr is one of the most budget-friendly online marketplaces to find and hire freelancers. In fact, the website’s name resonates with the word ‘five,’ which implies that it’s one of the few places you can hire a freelancer for as little as $5.
Fiver also stands out in its massive collection of job categories. There are up to 2.7 million freelancers specializing in over 200 job categories.
An easy way to find a freelancer on the platform is to check their reviews. Fortunately, the company uses a comprehensive review system where freelancers are ranked based on various aspects, including service quality, delivery speed, and customer satisfaction.
Fiverr charges its projects by the job, which implies that the company sets the total price for a job when you award the gig to a freelancer. And if you don’t hear back from the freelancer 24 hours after awarding them a job, you can always cancel the gig and reassign it.
Number of Freelancers as of January 2021: About 2 Million
Popular Job Categories: Design Projects
Pricing: Free to join and post a job; Logo design pricing ranges from USD 299 to USD 1299
Payment Methods: PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Sofort, and Discover
Right off the bat, it’s important to state that 99designs is a bit limited in terms of the job categories you can find on the platform. As the name suggests, this is primarily a marketplace for hiring designers.
However, that’s by no means a deal-breaker, considering that the website brings together some of the world’s finest designers. Plus, there’s a wide range of design jobs available on the platform, ranging from graphic design to app design, logo design, to mention but a few.
There are two ways to get started on 99designs. You could search for a designer directly from the platform and hire them for your project. Alternatively, you could launch a contest to attract multiple offers.
Clients have to pay for their projects upfront. However, the money is only released to your designer when you receive and approve the project. Once you pay a freelancer on 99designs, they surrender ownership of their designs to you.
Number of Freelancers as of January 2021: Roughly 30 Million monthly users
Popular Job Categories: Unlimited job categories available
Availability: 570 cities across 70 countries
Pricing: Free to join and post a job for most employers; Clients from selected cities pay between USD 7 –75 for job postings
Payment Methods: Cash or Check
Craigslist is a classified advertisements website that enjoys a relatively long industry presence. Since it’s primarily a classified advertisements company, Craigslist allows you to post jobs from hundreds of categories.
Employers can join Craigslist free of charge. Most low-cost jobs can also be posted for free. However, depending on your location and budget, Craigslist might charge you between $7 and $75 to list your job on its platform.
The good thing about paying for a Craigslist ad is that you can access a slew of cool features, including HTML formatting options that let you add visual appeal to your job post.
The one major downside to Craigslist, however, is its dwindling reputation. Over the past few years, the platform has become infamous for hosting scammers and stalkers. This has made the once-vibrant marketplace lose credibility, especially with freelancers. Also, the fact that Craigslist is primarily a classified ad website means that its freelancers don’t necessarily operate on the platform full-time.
Number of Freelancers as of January 2021: About 20 Million
Popular Job Categories: Computer & IT, Medical & Health, Sales, Marketing, Accounting & Finance, Customer Service, and Project Management
Pricing: Free to join and post up to 5 jobs under the freemium plan; Premium versions start from USD 299.00/month
Payment Methods: American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover
FlexJobs is the last (but by no means the least) online marketplace on this list to find and hire skilled freelancers. The company’s name says it all. On FlexJobs, you can post all manner of flexible jobs, ranging from gigs that require 24-hour turnarounds to home-based jobs and even full-time job opportunities.
The platform allows you to post jobs in any niche, including computer & IT, sales & marketing, customer service, etc.
Like all the above-reviewed freelance marketplaces, FlexJobs implements an advanced search function that you can use to find freelancers on the platform. New clients can take a tour of the website and see how it works before getting started.
But just like Craigslist, FlexJobs freelancers don’t operate on the marketplace permanently. For instance, someone who finds a long-term gig might never come back on the platform. Another notable drawback with FlexJobs is that it’s mostly a subscription-based service. While you can join for free, you can only post up to five jobs for consideration under the freemium plan.
There goes our review of the top eight marketplaces to hire freelancers in 2021. Note that the above list is not exhaustive. With time, there will be other freelance websites offering better services. But for now, you won’t go wrong looking for a freelancer from any of the above-reviewed platforms.