Last updated on October 14, 2020
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase an item, we may earn a commission. See our terms of service for details.
Productivity enthusiasts and outsourcing fanatics love working with freelancers because they offer numerous competitive advantages, for example, on-demand expertise, cost savings, and flexibility. I adopt a “work smarter, not harder, and outsource” philosophy whenever possible and have worked with freelancers on many occasions. Case in point, I hired a graphic designer on Upwork to create t-shirt designs. Also, I’ve hired freelancers for other projects like e-book formatting and to create explainer videos.
Upwork is one of the largest freelancer marketplaces, and companies of every size use it from one-person startups to major corporations. Businesses can quickly find and hire freelancers while freelancers can search for work and submit proposals. Upwork’s platform simplifies contracts, time tracking, invoicing, payment, and more. It offers three service tiers including, standard, pro, and enterprise. Upwork Pro, for instance, features personalized assistance to help employers find premium, pre-vetted talent.
Freelance projects are available in a range of categories including web and mobile development, marketing, sales, design, writing, virtual assistance, customer service, and more. Freelancers can do hourly and fixed-priced jobs and choose one of many methods to collect payments such as direct deposit, PayPal, wire transfer, and so on. Upwork charges freelancers a sliding fee based on the freelancer’s lifetime billings with a specific client:
- 20 percent for the first $500 billed with the client
- 10 percent for lifetime billings with the client between $500.01 and $10,000
- 5 percent for lifetime billings with the client that exceed $10,000
Freelancing and self-employment are on the rise as part of a shift from permanent and “secure” employment to contract and seasonal work opportunities. Millions of freelancers use Upwork, and many come from the large pool of Americans who are freelancing. However, Upwork is only one of a few top freelancer marketplaces.
Sites Like Upwork & Alternatives
Global Freelance Job Sites
Fiverr is arguably the most visited freelancer marketplace. The scope of its job market and even quirkiness goes beyond most marketplaces. Fiverr Pro is Fiverr’s batch of top quality, verified, and hand-picked professionals who are “trusted by the world’s biggest brands.” These professionals undergo an extensive application process, and only 1 percent of applicants are approved.
The most popular freelance categories on Fiverr include graphic design, digital marketing, business, writing, translation, video and animation, music and audio, WordPress, programming, and tech. Additionally, there are over 100 subcategories like logo design, illustration, sales copy, product photography, voiceover, and celebrity impersonators.
Freelancers get paid as soon as they complete orders and keep 80 percent of their revenues (Fiverr takes a 20 percent cut). Freelancers/sellers can charge anywhere from five dollars to thousands, and they can upsell with extras before, during, and after an order. For example, you can charge an extra five dollars to complete a gig within 24 hours. Also, freelancers can proactively send offers and promote their services to potential buyers.
Codeable connects thousands of customers with the best WordPress developers to work on projects of every scope and size. You must apply to become a freelance WordPress developer, but only 2 percent of applicants are accepted. It wants “world-beating designers and theme creators as well, but if you are coming in as a coder, then that code needs to be top-quality.” Codeable sets rates for freelancers of $60 to $120 per hour. Furthermore, Codeable adds and collects a fee of 17.5 percent per project.
Credo matches companies with the best digital marketing consultants, and all freelancers and agencies are vetted by them. Freelancers on Credo specialize in SEO, PPC, social media advertising, conversion optimization, and WordPress development. Credo accepts approximately 30 percent of workers who apply. Credo earns commissions on work completed through its site.
FreeeUp gives business owners fast access to a network of top freelancers who have already been vetted for skill, attitude, and communication. Freelancers and agencies can apply to join the platform. The application process is followed by an interview and test. FreeeUp also uses an internal team to recruit, interview, and vet hundreds of freelancers globally each week for its top 1 percent freelancer category. There are no signup or monthly fees for freelancers. FreeeUp will charge and retain a 15 percent spread between freelancer rates and client fees.
Freelancer is the largest freelancer and crowdsourcing marketplace by the total number of users and projects posted. A crowdsourcing “contest” is a competition for a specific project, for instance, a logo design competition. The freelancer with the winning proposal receives the project amount/payment. Freelancer’s preferred program includes the best talent on the platform. Preferred freelancers receive exclusive invitations to work on high-value projects among other perks such as fee deferrals and badges on their profiles.
Like Upwork, hourly and fixed-priced jobs are available. Membership plans are available for freelancers and include Intro, Basic, Plus, Professional, and Premier. Memberships enable freelancers to bid on more projects, add more skills, and save on project listing upgrades. Plans range from $0.99 to $89.95 monthly. Freelancer charges 10 to 20 percent, depending on the type of work.
Guru makes it easy for employers and freelancers to connect, collaborate, and get work done flexibly and securely. Featured job categories include programming, development, design, writing, translation, administration, secretarial, business, finance, sales and marketing, engineering, architecture, and legal.
Freelancers can earn by the hour, task, milestone, and receive recurring payments. Guru has five membership plans including Basic, Basic+, Professional, Business, and Executive. The Basic plan is free while the other accounts range from $8.95 to $39.95 a month. Guru charges 4.95 to 8.95 percent per completed service/project, depending on the membership plan.
Hubstaff helps businesses reach new levels of productivity through team, project, and time management applications. Its time tracking software is used by 10,000+ teams worldwide. Hubstaff Task streamlines project management to allow teams to work seamlessly together toward shared goals.
Hubstaff Talent helps workers and employers find each other. Freelancers and agencies can create profiles, list their skills and qualifications, and apply to jobs. Employers can post jobs and invite workers to apply to them. Hubstaff doesn’t charge any fees or markups but makes money through its applications.
Ask Lorem is an on-demand freelance marketplace that connects non-technical business owners with high-quality web developers and designers in less than 10 minutes. Its empowering entrepreneurship one business at a time and enabling freelance as a viable career path. Its experts offer a range of services for leading software apps like Shopify, WordPress, WooCommerce, HubSpot, and hundreds more. Lorem accepts 5 percent of applicants into its network. Most experts average $40 to $80 per hour and typically earn over $2,000 monthly. Lorem charges a fee for completed projects.
Jungle Scout Market
Jungle Scout Market is an Amazon-centric freelancer marketplace. It lists services that are essential to helping Amazon merchants grow, for example, graphic design, photography, translation, video, and sales/marketing. Jungle Market keeps 20 percent of each transaction.
LinkedIn is a professional identity and employment-oriented social media platform with over half a billion users. Its jobs tab allows users to search and apply for jobs. Also, recruiters and employment agencies use LinkedIn to find and hire talent.
PPH strives to create a reliable and dynamic online job market to help people realize their dreams and live independently. Freelance workers are available in a cross-section of categories including design, writing, translation, video, photography, audio, business support, social media, software, web, and mobile development. PPH’s fees are confusing and buried in its terms. There are several costs that buyers and sellers should understand before proceeding.
Toptal’s exclusive network attracts the very best including Ivey League grads, subject matter experts, professors, founders, high achievers, and people with proven track records. Toptal has a rigorous screening process in which 3 percent of applicants, or less, are accepted. The application process consists of five stages and ongoing evaluations.
Toptal recruits developers, designers, finance experts, and project managers with work available in 60+ subcategories. For instance, finance professionals can pursue blockchain, financial analysis, M&A, and fundraising assignments. Highly sought positions include iOS developers, front-end developers, UX/UI designers, and financial modeling consultants. Fees are not available on the site. According to Toptal, “we do not disclose our margins by policy. Our undisclosed margin is what helps us offer such a good service.” To get a sense of what you can earn, check out its pricing and payment section.
Truelancer is a community of freelancers from across the globe. It’s a marketplace and crowdsourcing platform with millions of users. The Truelancer Prime program consists of hand-picked, top-rated freelancers from its database.
Truelancer’s featured categories include development, design, writing, blogging, SEO, translation, and marketing/sales. There are four membership plans including Free, Basic, Professional, and Plus. Membership prices range from $5 to $50 a month. Truelancer charges 8 to 10 percent per service/project, depending on the membership plan.
Local Freelance Job Sites
TaskRabbit is a task management network that makes life easier for people overwhelmed by their to-do lists. It connects people with trusted and reliable “Taskers” from their local communities to complete an assortment of jobs. TaskRabbit makes money by retaining a fee of 15 percent on all tasks.
Thumbtack connects millions of people with local professionals for their projects. With almost 1,000 different services to choose from, you’ll find pretty much anyone you’re looking to hire. Thumbtack makes money by charging variable fees to contractors for qualified leads.
Handy connects individuals looking for household services with top-quality, pre-screened independent service professionals. Handy makes money by charging various fees for things like a missed job, late arrival or cancellation, early departure, and a background check when applying to join its site.
HomeAdvisor has over 100,000 contractors in its network, including remodelers, architects, plumbers, and many more. HomeAdvisor makes money by charging variable fees to contractors for qualified leads.
Angie’s List helps millions of homeowners find the perfect pro to tackle any home project, from roofing to painting to plumbing and more. Angie’s List makes money by charging businesses/contractors advertising fees.
Note: Handy, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, and many other popular freelance websites are owned by ANGI Homeservices.
Amazon Home Services
Amazon Home Services enables customers to buy and schedule professional services, such as furniture assembly, house cleaning, and plumbing directly on Amazon.com. Service pros have been handpicked and are required to pass business and criminal background checks, be insured, and licensed if applicable. Amazon retains a service fee of 15 to 20 percent.
Airtasker connects people who need to outsource tasks and find local services, with people who are looking to earn money and ready to work. AirTasker makes money by retaining a fee of 1o to 20 percent.
Crowdsourcing Job Sites
Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining information or input into a task or project by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid. If you like the crowdsourcing concept and competing for projects, explore these sites.
99designs is the global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together. From clients who need custom designs to designers who want quality projects, people around the world rely on 99designs for excellent creative results.
Designhill is one of the largest online graphic design marketplaces. It endeavors to provide a reliable selection of freelancers and passionate designers for customers who need quality and affordable design services. Designhill specializes in logos, web pages, t-shirts, banner ads, email templates, business cards, infographics, and more.
DesignCrowd is a global online marketplace for logo, graphic, and web design. They offer an efficient and inexpensive way for customers to get the graphics they need, fast.
Other Job Sites
Flexjobs and Craigslist list thousands of freelance jobs, remote work, and gigs.