Here’s my 100% uncompensated Freelancer.com review based on my experience using it to hire people over the years. This will be most applicable to employers on Freelancer.com, but what I go over below will also be highly relevant to you if you’re thinking of signing up to Freelancer.com as a freelancer to make money, so I strongly recommend reading this no matter how you intend to use Freelancer.com.
I have personally used Freelancer.com for over 10 years and have hired dozens of freelancers on it. Here’s a screenshot from my Gmail inbox showing I’ve got emails from Freelancer.com going all the way back to 2010, and I’ve have received 100’s of emails from them since (click to enlarge):
First: What’s Good About Freelancer.com
The main reason I’ve used Freelancer.com so much over the years as an employer is that there is a huge supply of cheap freelancers on the platform, and if you post a project you’ll likely get dozens of bids.
For getting simple projects done, I like Freelancer.com even more than Fiverr, because it’s super quick & easy to get a bunch of interested freelancers clicking on your project, bidding on it and telling you if and how they’ll do it. I have also tried other freelancing sites like People Per Hour and UpWork, and Freelancer.com beats them hands down — there are way more freelancers willing to work for cheap on Freelancer.com than anywhere else.
As an example of how great Freelancer.com is for simple projects, recently I posted a project asking someone to read out an article we’ve published here on OutwitTrade.com (the audio has since been posted on our YouTube channel here, by the way). Here are the stats for that project, and most of these bids came within 24 hours of posting the project:
That gave a lot to choose from. Here’s an example of some of the lowest bids that came in, at just $10:
And the highest bids on the project (as you’d expect, people from Western countries bid a lot higher):
When bids come in, you can chat with any given freelancer to ask them any question, like this:
It’s therefore very easy to make sure you’re hiring the right person before giving them the job, as there’s no limit on communication that can take place with a freelancer before a project is awarded. Then when it comes to awarding a freelancer with your project, the process from there is done extremely well on Freelancer.com, and I’ve never had any issues with it. Depositing money, creating milestones, leaving feedback and everything else is easy to do on Freelancer.com, and the website is super smooth. I have read some complaints about the website and various technical issues, but in all the times I’ve used Freelancer.com I’ve never had an issue.
Finally, Freelancer.com fees are also perfectly reasonable, and I like that they don’t charge for posting a project. There is zero risk in posting your project there, as if you don’t find the right person on Freelancer.com you pay nothing.
The Problem With Freelancer.com (and where UpWork beats it)
Freelancer.com is excellent for finding cheap freelancers. But if you’re trying to find someone from a Western country who is highly dependable for a large project and you are prepared to pay good wages, Freelancer.com is probably not the right platform for you. You should go with UpWork or perhaps TopTal instead. Based on my experience, great people who are very good at what they do and can command high rates don’t tend to hang out on Freelancer.com. It’s simply not worth their time to compete with so many people from 3rd world countries willing to work for low wages. UpWork and especially TopTal have some stringent standards for freelancers on their platforms, unlike Freelancer.com which lets anyone work on their platform, so Freelancer.com naturally has a vastly higher portion of cheap freelancers.
Why Freelancer.com is tough for freelancers
I’m sure you’ve realized by now that Freelancer.com is a very tough place to make money as a freelancer, and I doubt it’s worth signing up for if you’re from a Western country. In every project I’ve ever posted on Freelancer.com, there were loads of low bids from brand new freelancers desperate to get work for the first time, and that’s not an environment conducive to finding well-paid work.
In fact, the vast majority of freelancers on Freelancer.com have never got any work on it. Have a look at the list of Freelancers for hire on Freelancer.com here. If you do the search to bring back everyone (uncheck “Online freelancers only”), you’ll get over 1,600,000 results (it’s 1,617,559 for me at the time of writing). Then, return only freelancers who have received some feedback. Click the 1 star on the rating filter, so it shows this:
For me, this returns 50,599 freelancers at the time of writing, i.e. there are 50,599 freelancers who have received some kind of feedback (no matter how bad). That means just 3.1% (50,599/1,617,559) of freelancers on Freelancer.com have ever got a project and received feedback on it. And of that small minority, barely 5% (just 2,862 of the 50,599) have their hourly rate set at over $40 USD. So less than 1 in 500 freelancers on Freelancer.com charge $40 USD per hour or more and have got any work.
The verdict on Freelancer.com
I believe I’ve outlined very clearly in this succinct review why Freelancer.com is awesome for finding cheap labor for simple projects, but not very good for big projects where you need a real expert, and definitely bad to try to make money from as a freelancer.