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Reviews and expert opinion Guru

Oliver Taylor Oliver Taylor Freelance Jobs Expert

Guru is a freelancer platform that hosts professionals and groups offering services in nine primary categories. Its interface is fairly simple, although its fee structure can get a little confusing. I’d recommend looking at Fiverr for its ease of use and excellent customer support.

Overview

How is Guru Different?

Many freelancer platforms focus on providing as much choice as possible. Guru’s membership structure for its freelancers, on the other hand, tends to encourage more experienced professionals. It offers a number of different ways of commissioning work, including hourly and milestone-based contracts.

Guru’s flexibility can cause confusion, though. For example, Guru charges each seller a commission on their rate, a standard practice for freelancer platforms – plus a nominal handling fee of 2.9%. However, when quoting for a job, freelancers can opt to request that the buyer pay part of that commission fee for them. This is a detail that buyers can easily miss.

Guru’s membership structure tends to encourage freelancers to charge higher fees. If you need to hire a professional but you don’t have a huge budget, you should definitely give Fiverr a try. Simple jobs cost as little as $5, and you can choose from a huge variety of freelancers from all over the world.

Templates

4.5
guru-templates

Freelancers Cross the Borders

Guru has members around the world. Whether you need a local or someone on the other side of the globe, there’s a good chance you can find them on Guru. However, Guru’s popularity seems to have waned over the last few years. A lot of buyers and sellers who formerly used the platform have complained about its billing and arbitration processes.

Both long- and short-term contracts are possible on Guru. From single tasks to years-long collaborations, the platform can support whatever working relationship you need. It’s worthwhile reading up on SafePay, which is Guru’s escrow-style shared account for employers and freelancers, as most sellers will prefer to use it.

Guru has been in the market for more than 20 years, standing the test of time when it comes to connecting buyers and sellers.

Explore Guru Templates

Features

4.3
Guru offers services in nine basic categories.

Here Is Where the Magic Happens

Guru doesn’t run contests or use complicated experience points-based rating systems. Instead, it uses a weighted percentage rating for both sellers and buyers. Both parties can post feedback and ratings at the end of a contract. Keep this in mind, as sellers will tend to avoid buyers with low scores.

When you write a job ad for Guru, try to imagine that you’re a freelancer needing information about the job. What would you want to know? For example, include the scope of work and any firm expectations like delivery due dates. Don’t add direct contact information to your ad – this is a big no-no on Guru and can get your account suspended or terminated.

Once you start receiving responses for your ad, you can find a quote that you like and either accept it, talk further with the freelancer, or negotiate on price and other specifics.

See full list of features

Ease of use

4.3
guru-ease-of-use

Clear and Simple Navigation

The Guru layout is clean and the navigation is fairly intuitive. Each user has a personalized dashboard that displays a summary of their interactions on the platform. As an employer, you’ll see current contracts, invoices that need to be paid, quotes that are under negotiation, and responses to your job ads.

You can find the most common tasks, like posting a job or looking for specific freelancers, in the toolbar at the top of the site. More account-specific tasks are available from your profile picture.

Guru homepage

See if Guru is Right for You

Support

4.5

We Don’t Want to Talk to You

Guru’s Help Center does not feature live chat, so if you like a speedy and personalized service though, you’re out of luck on this platform. However, it does offer an email-based ticketing system. You can send the customer service team an email via a contact form. And there is a phone number you can call from Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm EST. 

The Help & FAQ section is comprehensive, answering the most common questions that users are likely to have about the service. One thing I liked is that many of the help topics can be toggled between ‘Employer’ and ‘Freelancer’, offering information specific to each. 

There’s also a blog. This tackles topics that are a little bit hazier, like how different freelancers have set up their profiles, or tips for posting a job ad. Guru’s additions seem a little sporadic, but it’s a good source of extra information.

  • Help & FAQ sections
  • Email support
  • Phone support Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm EST
  • No live chat

Guru help center for employers

Pricing

4.5

Here’s Where It All Gets Complicated

While Guru’s fee flexibility can come in handy when negotiating with freelancers, it can also cause issues. Newcomers especially tend to find the costs confusing and difficult to navigate. 

The platform charges up to 9% of a freelancer’s takings. So if a freelancer quotes you $100 for a job, up to $9 will go to Guru.com instead. However, freelancers can include fee-splitting in their quotes. For example, that freelancer might ask that you pay a 5% fee – leaving them still paying a 4% fee themselves. This would mean that your bill for the job would sit at $105 instead.

Then there’s the handling fee. This is a fairly standard payment handling fee, and at 2.9%, it’s not outrageous – other platforms charge more. However, you receive a 100% rebate of that fee if you use the eCheque or wire transfer payment methods. Just make sure to check the fees that your bank might charge for these services.

Comparison

How does Guru match up to the competition?

FiverrCompare4.7Compare
UklicCompare3.5Compare
GuruCompare4.4Compare
SkillDostiCompare2.5Compare

User reviews

Based on 12 reviews in 3 languages
2.2
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Peter Barnefske
Colombia
June 14, 2021
GURU.com? A highly incompetent court of arbitration! Never again!

1. One of the freelancers we hired ruined an entire marketing campaign by grossly negligent undertaking project steps that were previously forbidden to her three times as long as the milestone results were not checked by us. 2. Previously, she had wasted several weeks of time because, despite the simplest explanations, she did not understand the intended target group (or was not interested) and thus provided useless results. 3. We then switched on the GURU arbitration tribunal ... which granted it around 40% of the budget. . . 4. To date, we haven't even received the freelancer's documentation. Never again GURU! All evidence on request.

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1
Eduardo Hernandez
Netherlands
March 30, 2021
ZERO support.

ZERO support. Scammers, stay away. No only steal your money, also don't give you any support or services. They ask for money to validate your ID, them that say the ID is not valid and keep asking for money. Stay away. Also, I saw so many reviews about how the freelancer steals your money and doesn't deliver the job.

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3
Norbert
France
March 05, 2021
Good service

Quite a good service for finding copywriters. I started a new blog and needed a sports-themed copywriter. I searched for a long time, of course, the site is almost convenient, but in general, after a while, I came across the right contractor.

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3
Elliott
United States
October 16, 2020
The person was found

I needed to find a cool layout designer for a new project, I didn't find anyone from my friends, so I had to search on freelance sites. I must say that the site is not very intuitive, I would like to go in, open the necessary section and see freelancers by rating, for example. In General, I found the right person, but the service needs to be improved

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2
Lucie
France
July 31, 2020
In the end I did it myself

I ordered SEO services, the service is quite convenient for search, but the quality of freelancers suffers very much. For the amount that took the service-it is expensive, I had to redo some things myself because I used to work in this field

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1
Karina Hovaghimian
United States
July 09, 2020
scam website. stay away. just trying to help you.

I've been a victim of a scam. I was contacted by a "recruiter" at Guru who contacted me with Human Resources at Mcmillan publishers. I made a one hour interview with him Steven Thomas. Then he sent me a $6900 for me to buy equipment (laptop, printer and softwares). I deposited the check and when I saw it in my account I was asked to pay the computer retailer. As soon as I sent the payment to a supposedly retailer, my bank realized the check was fake and bounced it. Too late. I had already sent the $1800 payment. Of course, I feel dumb. But then I think my only mistake is to trust people. Big mistake. Big pain.

1
Michael Fullerton
Canada
April 28, 2020
Don not ever use this company

Many years ago I have used Guru to complete several projects. They all went fairly well. My last two projects, however, have been a nightmare. I went through several different developers each and everyone was either horrifically incompetent or a scammer trying to get paid for doing next to nothing despite decent reviews. With projects that go into arbitration, there is no way to rate the scammer to warn others and Guru keeps an "arbitration fee". Guru has become a scammer website for scammers.

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1
Marc
United States
March 24, 2020
Worst Freelance Site – Guru.com

Beware of this company and their policies. Had our account closed because we are an LGBTQ+ based company. This was after they scammed me out of my ID and personal financial details. Worst customer service I have dealt with - nothing but an attitude! Stay away

Read more reviews

Guru REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

Guru is a freelance website offering many advantages and safety-nets for hiring freelancers. It’s been in business for over 20 years now, so offers a certain sense of stability and certainty. Its seller fees are fairly low compared to other freelancer platforms. However, there are ongoing issues with arbitrations when issues occur with freelancers. 

PROS

  • Highly skilled freelancers
  • Intuitive interface
  • Time-tracking software

CONS

  • Complicated billing system
  • No live chat
  • Bad reputation for arbitration
Oliver Taylor Oliver Taylor
Oliver is a senior web developer who develops features and directs maintenance tasks for the WebsitePlanet website and associated Android apps (Java and Kotlin).

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