The Web seems to be full of various web-sites offering cheap freelance workers for hire. When we were preparing this review section we feared that it would be a hard job to choose from dozens of freelance websites. It finally turned out that there are not too many reliable scam-free freelancer resources on the market. After a lot of sifting through fakes, scams and ancient history of websites that hadn’t been updated for ages, we are proudly presenting you the top of the crop on freelance websites.
Each of the represented sites is a powerful tool for boosting your business with reasonably priced freelancing manpower. However, there are certain advantages and disadvantages to our Top-10, so every chosen site had been graded according to the 5 main parameters (Variety&Quality, Usability, Features, Pricing and Support) on the scale from 1 to 10 – from extremely poor to insanely good.
Each of the chosen score parameters is given a wider explanation below.
Variety & Quality
When it comes to rating freelance websites the “variety” factor indicates how many different kind of freelance contractors from different fields can an employer hire for his or her business through the given site. We think that variety is good, but some of the sites seem to be passionately opposing the idea that any given employer has a right to hire workers from different fields – even if the latter had registered as a firm or agency with multiple staff. Alas, that’s what has given the wet blanket limiters lower score in our rating.
The “quality” parameter refers largely to the general high plank set for the contingent and performance quality on the site. Is there any kind of supervision that monitors the fairness of payments, checks the verity of the data provided by freelancers and tracks down the profiles of the “vanishing act” hires? What are the general demographics of the workforce? Are cheap unskilled workers more welcome than high-end specialists? The answers for these questions are what helped us to award the short-listed freelancer sites in the “variety&quality” nomination.
The usability parameters that we have encountered while setting the score for the chosen freelance sites have varied greatly. It was worth it reminding ourselves from time to time that we indeed were dealing with the best of the best out there. The more some of the sites let our eyes feast on the anticipated beauty of glossy Web 3.0 and flash layouts the bitterer was the letdown from the dashboards on some of these seemingly appealing creations. A child born out of wedlock by Twitter and LinkedIn would be a fitting characterization of what we had seen. However, many sites have thankfully preserved the same quality level both outside and inside. Easiness of the registration process, security levels and the quality and intuitiveness of the site navigation helped us rate them.
There had been several features that constituted the final mark for this part of the rating. Our freelance websites had to compete about:
- HourlyFixed Price setting options available to the employers and employees.
- Individual Contractors or Agencies as your choice of a registration or hiring option
- User Account Options, including the availability of portfolios, recommendations, CVs and social media integration.
- Project Features like the duration and specific location or origin of the potential contractors.
- Qualification Tests available to the contractors to register as adequately competent for the assignment.
- EmployerFreelancer Switch option enabling one to both hire and be hired through the site.
- Special Features or some kind of other zests characteristic only of a specific freelance resource.
Depending on the availability and quality of these features we were able to determine their overall usefulness. The feature richness was also not to interfere with the usability of the site. It took smart solutions and simplicity, not the over-the-top feature creep to get the best score.
The pricing section of the freelance site reviews is divided in two – the membershipaccount type fee-related section and the payment protection, system and dispute resolution part.
The best value for its money “bought” our contestants higher score. The more payment systems and the more reliable they were also determined the final mark we gave out for this section of the site. To earn some additional points the freelance resources had to feature Escrow or similar payment securing system and promote realistic dispute resolution policies.
There are some common requirements for Web support no matter what this support actually has to support and maintain. These are:
- Accessibility – whether it was possible to solve a problem or contact the tech support through phone line, e-mail, live chat, FAQ articles, interactive tutorials or forums.
- Quality – the response might be quick, but was it helpful?
- Speed – a couple of days later you are not that desperate for a userpic format-related answer, are you?
The rating we gave out for the freelance websites was the sum of answers to these questions. Fast, competent and efficient live support available through the highest number of contact option got the most points.