7 Best Freelance Websites to Hire Great Freelancers in 2021
Discover Which Site Is Best for Your Needs
When you need to get a job done, you don’t want to waste your time and money on an unreliable freelance platform. Read on to find out which ones you can really count on.
- The most budget-friendly platform
- Easy-to-use help and support
- Wide range of job types available
- 100% safe payment system
With thousands of freelancers in over 200 categories, Fiverr is one of the most well-known freelance platforms. One thing that really stands out is the cheap prices: you can hire a professional for any job you need for as little as $5.
On Fiverr, you never have to worry about being hit with a big invoice at the end. Projects are paid by the job – meaning the total price is set when you hire the freelancer. And if you don’t hear back within 24 hours after the project starts, you can cancel the project at no charge to you.
Another thing I like about Fiverr is how easy it is to determine if a freelancer is qualified and reputable. While all freelance sites provide reviews, Fiverr’s are easier to search. Fiverr’s rating system considers delivery time, customer satisfaction, and service quality – and makes it easy to find the hidden gems.
Another unique benefit is Fiverr’s Pro service, which helps narrow down your search to the top candidates. Yes, you have to pay extra – but you get highly rated, vetted freelancers, which means less time searching and less risk of poor quality.
Top freelance categories: Graphic design/logo design, website design, writing, voiceover recordings, social media
- Best platform to easily hire a designer
- Wide range of design types available
- Design contests let you pick from multiple options
- Option to select a designer to work with
99designs works in two ways – you can search for a designer to hire for your project or you can launch a contest. When I ran a contest for a design project, I quickly found the designer I wanted based on the quality of entries I received.
99designs was easy to use and I was very impressed with the designers on the site. It was super simple to set up a contest, and I loved how it asked preliminary questions to help learn my style.
You pay for your project upfront, and once you approve the design, the money is paid to your designer. You then own all the rights to your design and receive project files for print and digital. When I ran into a slight issue with my contest, support was very responsive and helped resolve my problem in no time.
Top freelance categories: Design projects ranging from logos to clothing designs
- Best choice for long-term relationships
- Detailed search options
- Work diary feature to review progress
- Pro plan good value for high volume of projects
Upwork, a platform created by combining the former Elance and ODesk platforms, lets you find your next favorite freelancer by either searching for candidates on the site, or posting a job and letting people apply.
I found the job posting process to be a bit complicated – you have to set up your company and then fill out an eight-page (yes, eight pages) form. On the positive side, I really liked being able to search by Job Success percentage.
Once you’re set up, you will likely be impressed with the wide range of freelancer skills and prices on the site. The platform makes it easy to work with freelancers – you can schedule chats, send messages, exchange files, and give feedback. Payment isn’t released until you approve the project, which gave me some assurance that my job would be completed.
Top freelance categories: Writing, graphic design, software development, IT support, and data science
- Great for one-off projects for small businesses
- Offers a wide range of design types
- 60-day money-back guarantee
- 24/7 support
With over 750,000 designers on DesignCrowd, you’re bound to find one who matches your style. To get started, you select a package based on the number of submissions you want, and then post a brief for three to ten days. Because of the affordable prices, this site is a great fit for smaller businesses with occasional design needs. There is a wide range of design types, from business cards to web design.
The process for DesignCrowd is similar to 99designs. You can either work with a designer one-on-one, or run a contest and review submitted designs. Once you choose your favorite design, you can provide feedback and ask for revisions.
Top freelance categories: Graphic design projects including logos, web design, and print projects
- Great choice for international companies
- Easy to navigate
- Wide range of templates to start projects
- Free to post a project
Freelancer.com is home to a large number of freelancers from nearly 250 countries, but it lacks the wide range of freelancer types found on Upwork and Fiverr. While it’s similar to other freelance sites, with the option to either create a project or search for freelancers, I found this site easier to navigate and more intuitive to use.
While setting up a new project on some platforms was a long and tedious process, Freelancer.com made it simple. You start by finding a project close to your needs and then, using it as a template, create your own. This not only saves time, but helps you think of terms and skills you may not have considered. Even better, there is no fee to post an ad.
Top freelance categories: Graphic design, marketing, writing, and app design
- Best choice for UK companies
- Fabulous project management tools
- Video conferencing from the platform
- Easy to find matches
PeoplePerHour has nearly 2.4 million freelancers on the platform. As most of those freelancers are in the UK and Europe, this site is a great choice for companies in the region. The platform’s process to post a gig was straightforward, and the artificial intelligence tool quickly matched me to freelancers who met my needs.
I found the project management tools in PeoplePerHour to be the easiest to use of all the platforms I reviewed. I especially liked the project stream feature, which keeps everything about the project in one place – invoices, messages, files. And being able to video conference with a freelancer without leaving the platform was another big bonus.
Top freelance categories: Digital marketing, software, writing, and design
- Best platform to find experienced freelancers
- Higher fees than other platforms
- Useful project management tools
- Freelancers located around the world
Let’s get this out of the way from the start – Guru’s fees are a lot higher than what most freelance platforms charge. But for your money, you get access to much higher-quality and experienced freelancers. For some projects, it may be worth the fees when you need an exceptionally skilled freelancer.
I found the profiles on Guru easier to navigate than on other sites, because the rates and feedback scores are easy to find. I really liked that you can get quotes from individual freelancers with a click of a button.
For the most part, the site works like other platforms, but I found the Work Room feature very useful. You can add multiple freelancers to a project, which isn’t an option on other sites. I also like the ability to assign roles and manage everything – communication, payments, tasks – in a single place.
Top freelance categories: Design and art, writing and translation, programming and development
Thinking about Hiring a Freelancer?
Is work piling up on your desk? Do your projects require specialized skills that no one on your team has? Does your work ebb and flow – too unpredictable for a new full-time employee, but too much work for your current staff?
A freelancer (or seven) may be the answer to your challenges. But don’t worry, it’s not as challenging to find, hire, and manage a freelancer as you might think, especially if you turn to one of the many freelance platforms.
Why Are More Companies Hiring Freelancers?
Thanks to technology, remote work is often as seamless as working in-house, so many businesses are turning to freelancers even more. And it’s not just giant companies, but businesses of all sizes – startups, small businesses, and even micro businesses. Solopreneurs, such as bloggers, speakers, and coaches, also find freelancers help them get things done so they can focus on their strengths.
Using freelancers is on the rise for the following reasons:
- Frees up more time. There are many tasks that only you and your team can do. By outsourcing jobs that can be done just as well (or even better) by a freelancer, you can build stronger relationships with your customers, come up with awesome new ideas, and realize many other benefits you haven’t even thought of yet because you haven’t had the time.
- Specialized skills. If you’re working on a white paper for a new target audience, it’s possible that your team doesn’t include an expert on the topic. But with a freelancer, you can find someone with lots of experience in beekeeping, artificial intelligence, or quantum computing – whatever your project needs. But more than just subject matter, if you need someone with expertise in a specific tool or programming language, a freelancer is a great resource.
- Lower costs. With full-time employees, you pay for benefits, training, equipment, and vacation time. With freelancers, you simply pay for the services they provide. They are responsible for everything they need to do their job.
- Flexibility. When you hire a full-time employee, you pay them regardless of the amount of work you have for them to complete. With a freelancer, you can hire them for whatever amount of work you need. You can do a single project, a set number of hours per week, or a retainer for ongoing projects.
- Remote work. Got a small office? Physical space costs money. Freelancers typically work remotely, meaning you don’t need a desk for them at your location.
- Less commitment. If you hire a full-time employee, it can be challenging if it’s not the ideal fit. Typically, there’s a process for performance improvement, probation, and possibly severance costs for letting the employee go. With a freelancer, you face a lot less risk – if they aren’t a fit, you simply don’t hire them again.
What Are the Most Searched-For Freelance Jobs?
Not surprisingly, the most common freelance jobs are writing, graphic design, and website development. However, within those areas, there are many categories. All writing is not equal – a fabulous marketing copywriter probably can’t handle your technical writing project. And a website developer might not be the best person to hire for a hardcore coding project.
However, don’t just think about the usual gigs when considering projects to outsource. You can hire a virtual assistant to help with your administrative needs. Or perhaps you need a project manager for a specific project. Do you have customers who speak languages you don’t? Hire a freelancer. Looking to create a mobile app? There are lots of app designers out there looking for work.
But freelancer jobs can go even more outside the box. Some platforms include freelancers who perform voiceovers for videos and commercials. Others have categories for clothing design, legal services, flyer distribution, and even astrology readings.
What You Need to Know before Hiring a Freelancer
Before you start looking for a freelancer to hire, you need to determine how to get the most for your money. Otherwise, you will likely waste money – and cause unnecessary stress for yourself and frustration for your freelancer.
Here are a few questions to ask before you start looking for a freelancer to hire:
- What tasks do you need completed? Start with a very clear understanding of what you need. And you need to be able to explain those needs as concretely as possible. When the freelancer is done, what deliverables do you expect? What criteria does the finished project need to meet?
- What skills does the freelancer need? Do they need to know how to use certain tools, like Word, Excel, or WordPress? Should they have experience in specific industries? Are there any other traits they need to have, such as creativity or being detail-oriented?
- What resources do they need? Freelancers provide the best results when they have a sample to use for their work. Find examples you like of other websites, logos, white papers, or whatever your project entails. Share these examples to give them a starting point. Do you have documentation, presentations, or emails that can provide useful background information? Will the freelancer need to speak with any experts at your company to get information?
- Who will be the contact person? Designate someone to onboard the freelancer, answer questions, and manage the project. The success of the project depends on the contact person’s ability to provide the support and answers the freelancer needs. Make sure to allocate time in this person’s workload for managing the freelancer.
- What is the review process? Your freelancer likely won’t hit exactly what you want the first time. You need to determine who will review the project, how they will provide feedback, and who has final sign-off authority. The more organized the process, the better chance of a high-quality project.
- What is the schedule? Freelancers are used to deadlines, and they want you to tell them when they need to deliver what. When creating the schedule, be sure to include time for reviews and revisions. Consider adding in a few extra days for unexpected delays – which almost always happen.
When Should You Use an Online Website to Hire Freelancers?
One of the first decisions to make is whether you will hire a freelancer directly or through a platform, such as Fiverr or Upwork. While platforms have many qualified and talented freelancers, the best option is to start with a personal referral. Check to see if your company is already using freelancers for similar projects and, if so, ask if they have availability. If their schedule is booked, ask if they can refer any colleagues to you.
The upside to hiring directly is that you don’t pay any extra fees for posting ads or projects on freelance websites. The downside is that you must manage the process and payment yourself, once you find a freelancer. It can also take considerable time to find and onboard a new freelancer.
If you need a freelancer right now or yesterday, then a platform might suit you best. It’s possible to find and hire one in less than an hour. Platforms also have freelancers at all rate ranges, which makes it easier to find one who fits your budget – especially if you have limited funds.
While platforms do take a cut, their tools can sometimes make it easier to manage the freelancer. Instead of you having to create a contract and payment process, it’s all done for you. You also have protection (and available arbitration) against lower-quality work (because freelancers agree to these terms to use the platform), which is more challenging when you hire directly.
How to Choose the Best Website to Hire Freelancers Online?
You have many choices to hire a freelancer. And there really isn’t a right choice for every business. Each platform has different types of freelancers and caters to different business needs. The first consideration is to determine whether a platform has freelancers who meet your skill and experience needs.
First, pick two or three platforms that you think are most likely to meet your needs. Next, go through each of those sites and search for freelancers for your project. Then you can check out the cost table below to find the site that’s the best value for you – balance between affordability and best matches.
How Much Does It Cost to Use a Freelance Platform?
Each freelance site has slightly different costs, and it’s important to calculate the fees before signing up.
Most of the sites use one of the following models or a combination:
- Percentage. With this model, you pay a set percentage, usually ranging from 2% to 5% of the overall fee. If you have sporadic freelancing needs, a percentage may be the most cost-effective payment route for you.
- One-time fee. This structure gives you set features and privileges, such as a certain number of searches or types of hires per month. This works best for companies with a higher volume.
- Premium memberships. Many sites offer premium add-ons or services that either give you access to highly rated freelancers or select freelancers for you. Their cost and fee structures vary.
|Fee to Post||Service Fee||Premium Services|
|Fiverr||Free||If project is $40 or less, the fee is $2; projects over $40 are 5% of the purchase||Fiverr Pro freelancers have higher rates, but the percentage is still 5%|
|99Designs||Fixed price based on contest package; starts at $199 for logos||None||None|
|Upwork||Free for three freelancer invites||3%||Premium and business plans from $49 to $499 per month plus additional percentage depending on plan; paid plans can invite more freelancers|
|DesignCrowd||Fixed price based on contest, starts at $109||4%||None|
|Freelancer.com||Free||3% of total price or $3, whichever is more||Recruiter fees that include finding a freelancer for $9.50 extra per project|
|PeoplePerHour||Free||5% for Bronze, 2.5% for Silver, and no fee for Gold||Premium services are available for free when you earn enough points through purchasing|
|Guru||Free||2.9%, but receive fee back if using eCheck or wire transfer||None|
How Do I Hire a Freelancer?
Once you find a freelancer you think you’d like to work with, your work is just beginning. A freelancer is much more than a profile. You need to make sure that you are a match beyond just their resume.
While you might be tempted to find a freelancer on a site and then hire them directly off the platform to save money, doing so is against the policy of many hiring sites. And with some sites (like Upwork), you can face penalties and/or get banned from the site. Since the platforms provide a useful and valuable service, staying on the platform is the ethical way to work.
Once you find a freelancer who looks like a good fit, it’s time to take the next steps:
- Communicate with the freelancer. All the platforms we reviewed have a messaging system that lets you communicate with a freelancer before you hire. Some platforms have the option to do a video or audio call. While a short message is likely enough for a quick project, I highly recommend having a conversation if it’s a bigger project.
- Check availability. If you have a quick turnaround time, you need to see if they can fit your project on their calendar. And if you have ongoing needs, make sure the freelancer has the available hours. A freelancer with a full client load is not going to be able to take on a project that needs 20 hours each week.
- Talk about the project and your expectations. Go back to where you clearly defined what you need and share that information with the writer. Talk about what your ideal results would be, as well as what you expect along the way, such as check-ins and milestone delivery.
- Find out if their personality, strengths, and weaknesses are a match. For bigger and ongoing projects, you need a freelancer who has a similar workstyle as your team and strengths/weaknesses that match your needs. Once you know someone fills your basic requirements, you want to look for a connection and someone who is a fit.
- Have the freelancer take a test. While this isn’t a fit for all projects or freelancers, many platforms offer this option. And it’s a good way to make sure the freelancer is up to the job.
Getting the Most Out of Your Freelancer Relationship
Yes, picking the right freelancer for your job is one of the most important parts of the process. But even if you find the perfect person for your project, it’s very easy to get less than stellar results. The best relationships (and results) come when both the business and the freelancer view the project as a partnership.
A freelancer can’t read your mind. They don’t know exactly what you want or how your business works. You must provide the resources they need and be willing to answer questions and provide the constructive feedback they need to hit it out of the park. Yes, it’s up to your freelancer to create quality results. But that’s only going to happen if you put the time and effort into the project.
So happy you liked it!