Hi, and thanks for stopping by to check out my Freelancer.com Review.
If you’re looking at Freelancer.com for work you can do from home, you’ve come to the right place. I’m a member of their site, so I can show you inside. Although I currently don't have any active gigs with Freelancer.com... as a full-time freelancer, I’ve worked with several similar sites and I can share some of those experiences as well.
It seems more and more people are giving up their full-time jobs to go from the traditional worker/employee life to freelancing, which is why Freelancer.com and similar sites are becoming increasingly popular.
And I can understand why – even professionals today are seeking more independence and flexibility.
We're bombarded with the "freedom lifestyle" more than ever, and whether it's Instagram, YouTube, a travel blogger's website or some other platform... it's hard not to envy the lifestyle of those who have escaped the rat race and are now earning their incomes online.
That's the promise of Freelancer.com, but can they deliver?
Are they even legit, or is Freelancer.com a scam?
There's also another reason why freelancing is becoming more popular, and it's extremely important...
You may have difficulties working a regular job because of health issues, children at home, or a challenging job market. Or, you might be a student juggling work with your studies, and online freelancing has made it much easier to navigate those situations. It's finally a serious option.
For me, it’s all about freedom!
At the same time, the gig economy is allowing businesses to further minimize their long-term commitments to personnel. For right or wrong (a topic beyond the scope of this review), employees incur a lot of costs (salaries, training, benefits, sick time and so on...) and in many cases, businesses can save a lot of money by outsourcing.
Platforms like Freelancer.com have made it easier for businesses and independent contractors to come together.
Freelancers with different situations (and skills) can use platforms like Freelancer to earn part-time (and even full-time) incomes. Anyone (including you), can find work in a virtual freelancing marketplace like this.
In this review, I’ll go over who Freelancer.com is, what they do, how they work and for those who are new to online freelancing and still skeptical (understandably)... I'll discuss whether they're legit or a scam.
To be fair, freelancing isn't for everyone. Hopefully you'll find this review helpful. The specific topics I'm going to cover are:
- What is Freelancer.com?
- Is Freelancer.com a Scam?
- How Does Freelancer.com Work?
- Freelancer.com Reviews and Complaints
- What I Like About Freelancer.com
- What I Don’t Like
- Where Do You Go From Here?
Please note, I am not an affiliate for Freelancer.com This review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What Is Freelancer.com?
Just as its name suggests, Freelancer.com is one of largest (if not the largest) freelance outsourcing marketplaces where businesses (clients) and workers (independent contractors) can meet. It’s a virtual marketplace for talented and skilled freelancers to offer their services to buyers (clients). Freelancer.com’s headquarters is located in Sydney, Australia.
In addition to several major accomplishments such as teaching cryptography and technology venture creation at the University of Sydney and co-authoring over 20 US patent applications (not to mention founding Freelancer.com), Matt is also a prolific speaker.
He has been featured at SXSW, The Summit Series, Tony Robbins, The Next Web, in the New York Times, Bloomberg TV, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, BRW and the Economist.
Throughout the years, Freelancer.com has gained acquisitions of other freelance companies such as the following:
It’s quite obvious (and impressive) that Freelancer.com has grown tremendously through the years and having recently checked their site, I noticed an incredible statistic...
While similar marketplaces like Guru, People Per Hour and Wonolo are chugging along with hundreds of thousands of clients and workers... Freelancer is a behemoth (in a good way) with more than 40 Million registered users and over 16 Million job postings!
Their numbers are actually growing by the minute and they are definitely setting the pace in the online freelance industry. I could be wrong, but I think Upwork and Fiverr are their only close competitors at this scale.
Is Freelancer.com a Scam?
If you're just skimming and missed the first part of this review (don't worry, I'm a skimmer too), you may be wondering if Freelander.com is the real deal.
Millions of businesses and freelancers have found successful working relationships at Freelancer, but if you're new to independent contractor work and the gig economy, I get it. It's not easy to tell what's legit and what's a scam.
As mentioned a moment ago, Freelancer.com is one of the world’s largest freelancing and outsourcing marketplaces. With 40 million users comprised of independent contractors and clients (from 200+ countries, territories, and regions) you can be confident they are not a scam.
However, with that many users, you can also be confident not everyone has been satisfied with their services, which is why you may have come across some negative reviews (I'll talk more about those in a moment).
Overall though, they have an extensive background in the freelance industry and a good reputation. Freelancer.com is 100% legit.
You shouldn't just take my word for it though. For additional signs they are not a scam, you can dig deeper into their online presence.
Scams are pretty hard to maintain, especially when it comes to longevity and things like social media followers. Freelancer.com however has both longevity and a serious social media following.
Despite a massive following and being around for more than a decade, along with a long list of notable clients such as Microsoft, Boeing, Intel and GE... I still found many accusations they were a scam.
I'll get more into that below when I go through some of the reviews and common complaints about Freelancer.com, but I believe a lot of it comes down to each person's individual definitions of what a scam is. I'm not here to tell you Freelancer.com is the perfect company, but it should also be clear they are not a scam.
It's also about expectations...
One of the issues new freelancers have is simply the low pay. When you're starting out you'll often be taking a lower paying gigs to build up your portfolio and develop a client base.
There's some trial and error early on, as well as some frustration, and when new freelancers look at how much they've made for the amount of time they put in, it can be well below minimum wage in the beginning.
And if you have traditional employee expectations, working for less than minimum wage feels a lot like a scam. But of course, a freelancer is not a traditional employee...
This stage (low pay and few jobs) is really just part of the process. Eventually you build up your credentials, get referrals and develop a roster of regular clients.
And if you're struggling to find work early on, you can also make a few extra bucks online with things like surveys and market research. Of course, we're not talking about a lot of money... but survey sites like surveyjunkie.com and inboxdollars.com are an easy way to get started online while staying within your comfort zone.
They can also be a stepping stone to something more serious like an online business.
You may be at home because of difficulties with your health for example, or young ones to look after.
If that’s the case and a full-time income online is what you want, knowing how and where to get started is what you need in order to get what you want.
Okay... let's move on from all of that and talk about how you can apply for jobs at Freelancer...
How Does Freelancer.com Work?
Basically, working as a freelancer/independent contractor on Freelancer.com can be summed up as follows…
- Bid or send proposals for available jobs on the Freelancer.com marketplace.
- Get hired/accepted for projects.
- Work on your accepted jobs.
- Get paid.
In the next sections, I’m going to discuss the whole process of working for clients and finding jobs at Freelancer.com – from signing up to getting paid and more!
3 Steps - How to Register to Freelancer.com and Start Getting Jobs
Step #1 – Signing up
In order to start working at Freelancer.com, you’ll need to register for an account first. You can sign up to their platform by using your Facebook account or you can use an email and password combination.
Using your Facebook account will grant you instant access to their platform, while registering through your email will require a confirmation action from your end (they’ll send a confirmation link to your email).
For this step, I would suggest using an email and unique password to protect your privacy. I'm not a fan of joining platforms using third-party logins such as Facebook. For example, what if your Facebook account gets hacked, or vice-versa... the platform you've signed up for (Freelancer.com or any another platform) gets hacked?
It's always better to keep your all you logins isolated from one another with unique passwords.
Anyway... at the very least you probably don't want Freelancer.com or anyone else to have access to your personal data and activities on sites like Facebook.
Step #2 – Completing Your Profile
For security and verification purposes, you’ll be asked to complete your profile on Freelancer.com. Having a completed profile will also increase your chances of getting jobs. Your Profile page is also the place where you’ll need to select your particular skills so that you can be notified of relevant jobs.
Freelancer.com has a checklist to help you set up your profile. I advise following their instructions (such as uploading a photo) as this will add to your credibility and increase the odds of getting clients to hire you.
Step #3 – Bidding on Projects
Freelancer.com has a built-in job search functionality. Once you’re accepted, you can start applying to jobs on their marketplace. You apply for jobs by bidding on projects – and when a client accepts your bid, you’ll be awarded the job.
Types of Freelancer.com Jobs
The nice thing about Freelancer.com's marketplace is you’ll find both small and large projects on the site. This is great as a freelancer and provides you with many options. You can choose not only the type of work you can handle, but also the duration and scope based on your skills and available time.
If you just want a quick side hustle for example, you can apply for small jobs. But if you have a lot of time on your hands for a large project (which also earns more), you can apply for something long-term that may even be exclusive, keeping you busy full-time so you're not piecing together multiple small jobs to come up with a full schedule.
When choosing gigs on Freelancer.com, you can also choose between fixed-price jobs and hourly jobs.
Fixed Price Jobs
Freelancer.com's fixed-price jobs have designated prices per project.
In other words, you're getting paid a fixed price for the entire project regardless of how long it takes to complete.
The advantage here is that you'll know up front how much you’re going to make for a particular type of work (the project is described fully in the job post).
Usually, fixed-price jobs are paid at the end of the contract when the work is completed and accepted. However, if a project is quite large and spans more than a few days (like weeks or months), you can request your client release partial payments at specific milestones along the way to completion.
Freelancer.com also has hourly jobs. Of course these are self-explanatory and most likely the kind of work you're already accustomed to.
You are paid a specific rate per hour which will be included in the job description.
Hourly jobs can be short-term or long-term, and you’ll be paid for the number of hours you work on a particular project.
Freelancer.com has a built-in tracking app for monitoring your working hours and it can take screenshots so your client can check on your work (and progress).
Freelancer.com Jobs and Categories
Freelancer.com has a really large marketplace of job categories.
From IT jobs and web designing to writing, SEO, data entry, accounting, and jobs in the law industry, you can find almost every type of job on their platform (those that can be done remotely from home of course).
The complete list is extraordinary actually. I counted 687 sub-categories in the Websites/IT section alone! Altogether there are thousands of categories you can search in to find work you can do from home.
Obviously, the more specific your skill is, the more likely you are to find higher paying jobs with less competition. The broader your skillsets are, the more jobs you'll qualify for. If you have a long list of specfic skillsets... even better.
With thousands of potential categories to choose from it's hard to imagine there isn't something for everyone at Freelancer.com. And, with a list this big, it's worth doing your research to acquire new 'in-demand" skills in fields with little competition.
Local Jobs & Services
My guess is that most people interested in Freelancer.com are looking for work they can do from home and submit online.
It should be noted though, that Freelancer.com also has a section for Local Jobs and Services.
The categories here range from appliance repair and car washing to teaching and putting on make up. There are even obscure categories for things like feng shui, mural painting and flashmob.
Yes, you read that right... feng shui and flashmob.
Now, just because there are thousands of categories, that of course doesn't mean every one of them will have a ton of job listings. There's probably not a big demand for feng shui... but you never know. There's a reason they've listed it as a category.
Whatever your skill, knowledge or interest, you can use ALL of it to apply for the multitude of jobs on Freelancer.com.
Here are the steps you must take when when applying for jobs on Freelancer.com:
1. Browse jobs in the Freelancer.com marketplace – When checking out possible jobs, look at the set of skills required to complete the project (you should have the skills to do the job well). You’ll also see the client’s budget through the price listed on the job.
Although jobs on Freelancer.com are acquired through bidding, you must be willing to work within the client’s budget before sending your proposal. And of course, the turnaround time is also important – because if you know you can’t finish the job within the time frame set by the client, the two of you are probably not the best match.
2. Bid for jobs you’re interested in – When sending your proposal to a client, it’s important to know that you’re not merely bidding for the price of the project. You’re also competing with other freelancers’ skills and pitches. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to understand the job description well and to communicate your proposal well to your client. Remember, you want to get the job, so you would want to convince the client (in a good way) to pick you over the other independent contractors who also want the job.
3. Work well when hired – When you’re awarded a project, take note of the turnaround time or deadline set by the client. It’s critical to meet deadlines (not only will this show your client you’re reliable, but failing to meet deadlines is a surefire way to make sure you don't get any more work from that client.
With that said, you can always communicate with your client if you need more time and if it's within reason and you've already established a good working relationship, your client will be more likely to grant your request for more time if your reason is acceptable and valid.
But your work must be good and you must have a good attitude. If you do a poor job with a poor attitude, missing a deadline might be the final straw whether your reason is legitimate or not.
Likewise, making a deadline and being on time is not an excuse for shoddy work.
So deadlines, quality work, a good attitude and being able to receive instructions as well as take criticisms are crucial to being a successful freelancer. Go for a 5-star rating not just for your client and for more work. Do it for yourself. Aspire to be great.
As a result, those 5-star ratings will do wonders to your profile. Clients will trust you more (and hire you over others) and your high ratings will snowball into more and more work (at a higher pay rate). Not just at Freelancer.com... but on other platforms as well.
The following video provides further insight and tips on how to be a successful freelancer...
How to Become a Preferred Freelancer on Freelancer.com
Freelancer.com also has a Preferred Freelancer program you can apply for which comes with a lot of perks. To find out if you’re eligible, go to your Profile page and check on your scores and notifications.
You’ll see in your profile if you meet their requirements – and if you do, you can simply contact support and apply for the program.
Even if it’s not required to become a Preferred Freelancer to apply for jobs in the Freelancer.com marketplace, there are a lot of reasons why you might want to be one…
- They’ll give you a badge to make you stand out from other freelancers on the site. This let's clients know you’re a preferred (some might say elite) member of Freelancer.com (and therefore more skilled than regular freelancers). This of course will increase your chances of getting hired for the jobs you apply to.
- When you’re part of their Preferred Freelancer program, you’ll get daily invitations (job opportunities) from their Recruitment team. Top employers on the platform are handled by Freelancer.com’s Recruitment team – so that means you’ll get access to high-paying projects. According to their site, Preferred Freelancer members get 50% of the higher-paying jobs (those worth $2000 and more).
- When you accept jobs in the Preferred Freelancer program, you’ll only need to pay for fees once payments are released to you by the client (not upon acceptance, as with regular jobs on the platform). However, note that Freelancer.com usually charges 10% fees – but they will charge 15% fees for jobs completed by Preferred Freelancer members.
- When you become a Preferred Freelancer, you can bid on up to a hundred projects per day. I really don’t know why it’s necessary to send 100 applications every day, but at least you’ll have the option.
How Freelancer.com Contests Work
When clients host contests on Freelancer.com, you can join as a freelancer by submitting your entries. The contest is work-related, so let’s say it’s a logo-making contest (just as an example). Your entries will be in the form of logo designs and the client’s payment will serve as the prize for the winner.
Contests are beneficial to clients because they are provided with hundreds of submissions from hundreds of freelancers. In our logo example, the client would get hundreds of logo designs from contestants (freelancers). From those, the client would be able to pick the best of the best from the various entries and ONLY pay for that one. Not all of them.
As a freelancer, it’s up to you whether you want to join Freelancer.com contests or not. In my opinion, I think these types of contests are worth joining because there’s a cash prize. I also think it can be fun!
In our logo example, keep in mind your submission (as an entry) doesn’t need to be 100% perfect (and therefore take a lot of your time). Should you be chosen as the winner, you’ll still be asked for revisions to polish your work to perfection (it’s part of the contest rules). So your ultimate goal is to present the client with your design concept (or the specifics requested for a particular project) when you enter the contest.
For me, Freelancer.com’s contest feature is a win-win for everyone (it’s also unique in Freelancer.com’s platform). The client will get a lot of submissions to choose from and a freelancers/independent contractor can earn money from it.
To be clear though, these are contests and should not be counted on as regular income. If you win one... great, if not, you had a little fun and maybe learned something along the way.
Also note that contest prizes are charged 10% fees or $5 (whichever is greater). As a freelancer, you’ll be the one to pay for those fees.
What are Freelancer.com Rewards?
Freelancer.com has a rewards system that works like an incentive for freelancers. You will acquire XP points (Experience points) as you complete goals and jobs on their platform. XP points can accumulate allowing you to unlock more reward points as you advance through various Rewards levels.
The perks of having XP points include getting more chances of winning jobs/projects.
You can also use your rewards points to buy Freelancer.com upgrades such as getting more bids, contest upgrades and to pay for exams which can be posted on your profile for added credibility.
Having said that... I have a bit of bad news. Freelancer.com Rewards only work for paid memberships (which I’ll talk about in the following sections). If you’re only using their free membership, you really can’t use your XP/rewards points.
Freelancer.com Application Requirements
As with other outsourcing online marketplaces, Freelancer.com has the following requirements for their applicants (freelancers):
- You must be of legal age to use their services – The legal age for most jurisdictions is 18, but it really depends on where you’re from (because Freelancer.com caters to independent contractors worldwide).
If you’re at least 16 years old (a student for example), you can still work at Freelancer.com by using an adult’s account (you will need permission). The account owner will also be responsible for your actions while engaging in any type of work on Freelancer.com.
- Computer, computer accessories and an internet connection – You’ll be responsible for your own computer and internet connection as an independent contractor/freelancer. As for the system requirements, this depends on the type of work you’ll be applying for.
If you're doing graphic design for example or high definition video editing, your equipment requirements will be different than those of a copywriter.
Ah yes... the fees. Now we're getting into it. This is where the rubber meets the road, right?. Or at least where your hand meets your wallet ????
Yes, Freelancer.com charges fees for the services they provide.
As a clients, you can post jobs on Freelancer.com for free. However, you must pay a fee when you award a project to a freelancer.
For fixed-price jobs you are required to pay a Project Fee of 3% or $3 (whichever is higher). For hourly jobs, the fee is 3% every time you release payments to your contractors.
As a freelancer, it’s free to sign up to Freelancer.com and as a free member you can create your profile, download and install their app, bid on projects, enter contests, and get notifications on available jobs.
You can also win jobs with the basic functions included in a free membership, so there’s really no need for you to whip out your credit card just yet.
That's the good news...
However, when you accept a project and complete it, you will be responsible for paying a fee. Your freelancer fee (called an introduction fee) for fixed-price jobs is 10% of the contract’s value or $5 (whichever is greater).
For hourly jobs, you’ll be charged a 10% fee for every payment you receive.
Yes, you’re right, freelancers are charged more than clients but that's how Freelancer.com has structured their fees and being in business for over 10 years with millions of freelancers... there is probably a good reason for it. We don't have to like it, and it doesn't work in our favor, but it is what it is.
When you consider the cost and the time it takes to go out and find clients on your own, Freelancer.com's fees don't seem so terrible. It's a lot better than knocking on doors (unless knocking on doors is your thing).
You can also look at it this way… clients can offer you a higher rate since they’re not being billed through the nose by Freelancer. Platforms that charge clients a lot more end up driving your rates down and even if your fees are lower, your take home pay is often lower too.
And speaking of low pay, this is something every freelancer has to deal with when starting out.
New freelancers don't have big portfolios, references or an abundance of reviews. They also don't have an existing client base with referral business... so not only is your pay lower, but there is usually more time between projects.
It's important to diversify when you're starting out and sign up for other freelance platforms as well.
And you can also fill in your time with other methods of making money online.
If you're just looking for a few extra bucks each month, online survey sites are a simple option.
And you can diversify those as well. Survey Junkie for example pays you for your opinion while Inbox Dollars (who also has surveys) will pay you for doing things you may be doing online anyway, like searching the web, watching videos and visiting websites.
Of course, you won't be able to retire by doing surveys and small tasks online, but if you've never made money online before, they can be a good place to start.
For something more significant, an online business may be what you're looking for.
Making money from home might be something you need because of medical issues, children to look after, or maybe you're just tired of working for a boss.
If that’s the case, knowing how (and where) to get started is what you need in order to get what you want.
Freelancer.com Membership Plans
Here are the types of membership plans on Freelancer.com…
1. Free Membership Plan – Freelancer.com’s free membership plan is of course free to join and comes with basic features (as discussed above). You can make up to 8 bids per month with their free membership.
2. Intro Membership Plan – Freelancer.com's intro plan costs $0.99 per month. It comes with more features than their free plan with the biggest benefit of having 7 more bids per month (15 total).
Specific features include:
- 15 Bids (Month)
- 30 Skills
- Unlock Rewards
- Unlimited Project Bookmarks
- Custom Cover Photo
- 1 Free Highlighted Contest Entry (Month)
- 1 Free Sealed Contest Entry (Month)
3. Basic Membership Plan – This is priced at $4.95 per month and also makes you eligible to their Preferred Freelancer program.
Specific features include:
- 50 Bids (Month)
- 50 Skills
- Unlock Rewards
- Unlimited Project Bookmarks
- Preferred Freelancer Eligible
- Custom Cover Photo
- 3 Free Highlighted Contest Entries (Month)
- 12 Free Sealed Contest Entries (Month)
- 5 Employer Followings
4. Plus Membership Plan – This plan is currently being offered with a free 1-month trial (which may not be available when you're reading this review). The regular cost is $9.95 a month and includes 100 bids (per month) and like the basic plan, makes you eligible for their Preferred Freelancer program.
You’re also allowed to make daily withdrawals from your account when you get this type of membership.
Specific features include:
- 100 Bids (Month)
- 80 Skills
- Daily Withdrawal Requests
- Unlock Rewards
- Unlimited Project Bookmarks
- Preferred Freelancer Eligible
- Custom Cover Photo
- 5 Free Highlighted Contest Entries (Month)
- 25 Free Sealed Contest Entries (Month)
- 10 Employer Followings
- 5 External Invoicings
- Free Project Extensions
- High Value Project Bidding
5. Professional Membership Plan – This is the upgraded version of Freelancer.com’s plus plan. It costs $29.95 per month and you’ll get all the features of Plus in addition to much more (e.g. 300 bids per month).
Specific feature of Freelancer.com's professional plan are:
- 300 Bids (Month)
- 100 Skills
- Daily Withdrawal Requests
- Unlock Rewards
- Unlimited Project Bookmarks
- Preferred Freelancer Eligible
- Custom Cover Photo
- 15 Free Highlighted Contest Entries (Month)
- 75 Free Sealed Contest Entries (Month)
- 20 Employer Followings
- 15 External Invoicings
- Free Project Extensions
- Free Sealed Projects
- Premium Freelancer Insights
- High Value Project Bidding
6. Premier Membership Plan – Finally, we have the Cadillac of Freelancer.com's membership plans. The Premier Plan.
Priced at $69.95 per month it comes with all kinds of goodies, including 700 bids per month.
The specific features you get with the the Premier Plan are:
Please note that you also have the option of paying annually (the above plans are calculated as monthly payments) – and paying yearly can save you around 20%.
In my opinion, if you're just starting out, the free membership should be sufficient at first... assuming you’re not just working on Freelancer.com's platform alone.
Their most expensive plans are for serious full-time freelancers and freelance managers/agencies with teams working on larger scale projects. If you are an agency, you may require all those features and added benefits.
Freelancer.com Withdrawal Fees, Minimum Threshold, And Maximum Withdrawal
Freelancer.com has the following withdrawal fees:
- PayPal – free
- Skrill – free
- Payoneer – free
- International wire - $25
Note that they have a minimum threshold of $30, calculated after fees (if any). And your maximum withdrawal per month is $10,000.
Freelancer.com also says in their Terms and Conditions that your withdrawals might get delayed for 15 days. It has something to do with security and with all the scams and shady online activities going on... I'll call this one a pro, not a con (even though it is a pain if you're waiting for payment.
Of course, if you're in urgent need of your money when you suddenly experience these delays in their system, it's not a good situation. At the very least try to plan ahead and not count on prompt payments 100% of the time.
Freelancer.com Examination Fees
As previously mentioned, you have the option of displaying exam results in your Freelancer.com Profile page for added credibility and ultimately, more work.
Please know that some exams come with fees (it depends on the type of exam). So while there are free exams, some exams charge $5, $10, and $15.
Only you can decide if these exams are necessary. If you're getting a lot of work already, you may not need them. On the other hand, they can give you a competitive edge... but you must be committed to this type of work. A single job you may have otherwise missed out on can pay for the exam (with money left over)... but in some instances it might be for nothing.
At the end of the day though, it's good to have some sort of exam results on your profile page because new clients don't know anything about you. These can help paint a better picture by not only demonstrating your skills, but also showing your commitment to Freelancer.com (and they most likely want to hire someone serious who sticks around).
Your Identity on Freelancer.com and Why It's Important To Get a Freelancer Verified Status
For security purposes, Freelancer.com will verify your identity when they accept you onto their platform. They can ask you for the following information:
- Your birthday
- Your email
- Your phone number
- Your passport details
- Your Driver’s License information
- And more…
If you’re like me, you’ll consider the above information VERY personal and sensitive. I’m actually scared to just give away that type of information even on a trusted site (with high security) like Freelancer.com.
Now, they didn’t say it’s part of their routine to get that information, but their verification processes can come to that (so just be ready for it).
The thing is, they need you to have a Freelancer Verified account while you’re working on their platform (which is only fair). For me, I’m just not comfortable giving all those personal details away because of the many risks involved (identity theft, viruses, spam emails, etc.).
If you can imagine it from a client's perspective though, they need to know you are who you say you are. The online world is struggling to catch up to the offline world when it comes to trust. Long gone are the days when you could look someone in the eye and shake their hand.
Trust online must be built in different ways.
You’ll also need to have a Verified Freelancer account to withdraw your funds from Freelancer.com. So, if you have money there and they decide to do some random verification, you might have no other choice but to give them your personal information.
Furthermore, they say in their Terms and Conditions that they can close or suspend your account if they aren’t able to verify your identity (or if there are problems with verification). I realize this is just standard stuff and just about every company has a similar policy to protect themselves... however, I can't help but find it troublesome because the possibility exists that you'll find yourself banned from their system when you fail to provide them with your sensitive information.
Let me just say that while I appreciate Freelancer.com’s efforts in keeping their system secure, I worry about your safety as a freelancer as well. So do take note of the possible risks involved in giving your personal information to them (and joining their platform).
Actually, they also say in their Terms and Conditions that they have the right to close your account and refuse service for any reason as well. Here are some of the reasons why they might take this action:
- If you get involved in illegal activities
- If you renegotiate contracts with your clients (to avoid paying fees)
- If you fail (or don’t respond) to their verification procedures.
I suggest reading Freelancer.com’s Terms and Conditions to become fully aware of their rules and regulations. They’re also regularly updating it so it would be good to check on the updated version every now and then. At the time of this review, Freelancer.com's Terms and Conditions are dated for July 30, 2019.
How Does Freelancer.com Pay?
Freelancer's controlled payment structure uses what they call milestone payments.
A client’s milestone payment (equivalent to the job’s contract price) will be locked in at that client’s account while the job is being performed by the freelancer (you). In other words, the client must fund the entire project up front and payments are released to you by Freelancer.com under the following conditions:
- When you (the freelancer) and the client agree that the payment can be claimed/released.
- If a dispute (if there is one) is decided in favor of the freelancer (you).
- If the client sends an instruction to Freelancer.com to release the locked payment/s to you (the freelancer).
- If the client acknowledges that you (the freelancer) have completed a project to their satisfaction.
Let me just point out that Milestone Payments are totally under the control of the clients. Clients have the right to release or hold payments and Freelancer.com is just the platform that locks the payment fund in the system.
In the case of disputes, however, Freelancer.com’s Dispute team can help resolve issues between clients and freelancers when payments are involved. While it's not perfect, this protects both the freelancer and the client.
Freelancer.com Disputes and Issues
Disputes can happen when there are disagreements between you (the freelancer) and your client. This will usually be about things like pay, quality of work, missed deadlines, etc. Common disputes involve clients not paying contractors for their services because of unsatisfactory work.
First of all, I would suggest talking with your client first (if you have problems with the project or payment) instead of opening a dispute with Freelancer. In my opinion, taking the issue to Freelancer.com can make matters worse – because nobody (such as your client) wants to have disputes on their record.
Of course, if your client is unwilling to discuss the matter it will have to be escalated to the next level.
It's important to know that Freelancer.com is NOT offering legal services to their users (clients and freelancers). And if their Dispute team is unable to resolve the problem, the issue might need to be leveled up to arbitration, which costs money.
Filing a dispute costs money for both the client and the freelancer. The Dispute fee is $5 or 5% of the amount in dispute (whichever is greater), and the same fee will be refunded to the winner at the end of the dispute.
The bottom line is that disputes cost money and neither the freelancer or client want these on their records. It's better to just avoid such situations as much as possible and while you can't control what a client might do or say... you can control you own quality of work and consistency. As long as you do what is required of you (and even go above and beyond) you will minimize the stress of being involved in something like this?
You will know you've done everything you possibly can (including an exceptional job for your client) and regardless of the outcome, you can feel proud of your own actions.
It's also a good idea to avoid disputes by not allowing a significant amount of money to be involved in your contract. For bigger projects, shorten the time between payments and increase the number of milestones until trust is built.
Many clients (the good ones) are reasonable, and I’m sure you can ask them to make smaller but more staggered payments (partial payments) for jobs that take a long time to complete.
This way, it won’t involve a lot of money if you do need to file a dispute. This makes it a lot easier to shrug it off and chalk it up to experience. It's a lot easier to walk away from a small amount of money and get back to work than it is to deal with a significant loss and the time, stress and cost of a lengthy dispute.
And to be fair, most clients are decent and while you may find yourself in an unfortunate situation... it'll be the exception, not the rule.
Inactive Accounts on Freelancer.com
Remember I told you at the start of this review that I’m a member of Freelancer.com. My account is actually inactive right now. In fact, I’ve actually forgotten all about it until recently (it was 8 years ago when I signed up to their platform). And now, they want to verify my account by asking for my phone number.
Below are some screenshots of what it looks like inside…
As you can see, I don’t have a working history on Freelancer.com because I've been lucky to land gigs with other platforms. At the time when I signed up with Freelancer, I also signed up to Upwork and was successful at getting a lot of jobs there and went about building my profile and reputation (on Upwork) and if I'm being honest... forgot about Freelancer.com.
As a freelancer you may find the same thing happens to you. It might be Freelancer where you land all your jobs and you'll end up forgetting about others you've joined.
And I’m not saying Upwork is better than Freelancer.com – at the time, it just worked for me. I also had other platforms where I got freelancing gigs (Fiverr comes to mind), so I guess that’s why I forgot about my other freelancing accounts (like my Freelancer.com membership).
Now that my Freelancer.com account has been resurrected from the ashes of long ago, you’re probably wondering if I’m still going to use it. The answer is no… first (and this has nothing to do with Freelancer specifically), because I’m not comfortable dealing with the scams inside freelancing platforms (which I’ll cover in just a minute).
To be clear, I’m not saying you shouldn't use freelancing platforms, but having done this for awhile now I've learned how to work outside these platforms directly with clients (which is easier and more profitable).
Also, I found out that Freelancer.com is now charging fees for inactive accounts… so as I'm writing this review I decided to close my account and “escape” the fees. Again... this is for my specific situation and is NOT by any means what I'm recommending others do.
I have nothing against Freelancer... in fact, I believe in what these platforms are doing, it's just that I'm not currently planning on using the Freelancer.com platform. It only makes sense that I close it (if only for now).
I took some screenshots of when I closed my account for your reference (below). At this point, I wasn't charged for anything (maybe they haven’t implemented the fees yet, which is a relief).
10 Tips - How to Become a Successful Freelancer on Freelancer.com
I am no longer a newbie in the freelancing world, so I would like to share some insight along with the following tips with you. These are based on my own experiences, but maybe you can apply them to your own freelancing career.
- Read project descriptions on Freelancer.com very carefully to make sure you understand what your client wants. Very important... look for special instructions from your prospective client because many will "hide" those instructions in their descriptions to make sure you're paying attention.
Experienced clients have had to deal with freelancers who don't pay attention (and can't follow instructions) before, and they don't want to do it again. Being able to identify and follow their special instructions will set you apart from those who didn’t even take the time (or put in the extra effort) to find out what the client is looking for.
- When making proposals, know that a project is not always awarded to the lowest bidder. The client will consider a lot of things such as your profile, rating, samples, etc. The important thing to remember when presenting your pitch to the client is to be clear as to what you can offer (and what makes you stand out from your competitors).
If you can convince the client you’re worth it and can produce high quality work within a reasonable turnaround time, you’ll set yourself apart from 90% of the other freelancers who are simply sending in generic copy and paste applications that don't even match the job description.
By being unique (NOT copy and paste) and addressing the clients "specific" needs (as listed in the job description) you will be more likely to open up a dialogue (instead of going into the junk-pile) and you'll have a good chance of being considered for the job.
- Always keep your communication lines open with your client. It doesn’t give your client a good impression if you take days to respond to a message or chat.
This is especially important during the hiring process. You can imagine when a client posts a job, most of them are looking for responses (that's why they posted the job). If you take your time getting back to them you may miss out as several other freelancers will have already established a connection.
- Keep your Freelancer.com Profile professional looking. The general look can be informal because you’re not working in the corporate world, but the overall feel should still show professionalism and a commitment to the freelancing lifestyle.
If it looks like you're just trying this side hustle "gig lifesytyle" on to see how it looks, and you're not really comitted to it, clients will be less likely to take a chance on you... especially if they're looking for someone long-term.
- Freelancer.com has a Portfolio section to showcase your work. You can use this section to your advantage by showing samples of your work. Usually, clients look at independent contractors’ portfolios to gauge their skills (sort of a preliminary screening) and longevity in this industry.
Of course, if you're just getting started and your portfolio is small, don't lie about it and pretend to be something you're not.
You may not be an experienced freelancer with an extensive body of work, but you also don't want to express uncertainty either, or let them know you're just testing the waters.
- As previously stated, your prices/bids shouldn’t always be at the low-end. If you’re not comfortable charging very high rates, at least bid competitively. You can justify your rate/s by telling your clients what you can do for them (and convince them you’re an asset to their company).
Most clients are happy to pay a little more if they know they'll only have to pay once. Cheap rates look good at first, but most experienced clients have had to deal with low quality work in their past, either fixing it themselves, or paying another freelancer to fix it.
- As much as possible, keep your cover letter short and sweet. Know that clients get A LOT of applications and it can be quite tedious to go through them all. You can make your application stand out by making it short but relevant.
Let me say that again... relevant.
Anyway, you’ll still go through an interview process when clients consider you for jobs.
- Always aim to have a good reputation and strong relationship with your clients by providing high-quality work (within the set deadline). You really want repeat clients in freelancing, and clients also want repeat freelancers that they know and trust.
Long-term relationships are a key component to all successful freelancing careers.
- Freelancer.com’s payment system happens to be more favorable to the clients because the funds are locked into their accounts. Before accepting a job, talk with your client about making partial payments as the job is being completed.
It’s a reasonable request and I’m sure reasonable clients won’t mind it. In fact, being open with your clients from the start about such things is good for your working relationship. It's better to get any disagreements and/or confusion out early in the game so you're not wasting each other's time.
- If you’re a free member on Freelancer.com, you’re only allowed 8 bids per month – so I suggest using those bids wisely (and send proposals only to jobs that you really want).
Now, if you think 8 bids per month is not enough, you can always buy one of their membership plans. Their Intro plan (which comes with 15 bids per month) will only cost you 99 cents, a reasonable expense if it means more chances of getting work.
Freelancer.com Reviews and Complaints
As promised in the earlier part of this Freelancer.com review, I’m going to go over some of the reviews and complaints others have expressed, including accusations that Freelancer.com is a scam.
TrustPilot Freelancer.com Reviews
Looking at the reviews on TrustPilot, I found that Freelancer.com has an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 (based on about 5,000 reviews). This is an excellent score, and it shows that a great majority of the reviewers are pleased with Freelancer.com.
The positive reviews mainly said the following about Freelancer.com:
- They have great customer support.
- The platform respects both clients and workers/freelancers.
- Freelancer.com is a great avenue for making money online.
Of course, there were also some negative reviews, which is normal for any company. The common things in these reviews mentioned the following:
- Freelancer.com has poor customer service.
- Some reviewers consider their services unprofessional.
- Some freelancers are accusing Freelancer.com of being a scam.
As you can see, some of the positive and negative reviews contradict one another, which is not uncommon.
Everyone is different, as are their experiences, how they perceive those experiences, and how they deal with them.
If a freelancer has an issue and goes on a verbal or written attack (an overly aggressive email for example), they can probably expect to be attacked in return.
On the other hand, another freelancer might contact customer support with kindness and understanding, and will most likely receive kindness and understanding in return.
I'm not saying Freelancer.com is perfect or that they don't make mistakes. Who knows, maybe they have a few grumpy people working on their support team... or maybe something bad happened to a support team member that took them off their game.
Again... I hate to come across like I'm defending Freelancer.com. I just think it's important for us to keep perspective. One (or even several) bad customer service experiences on a day that deals with hundreds (or even thousands) of customer service issues does not make mean a company is just bad at customer service.
It doesn't mean they're great at it either, but in most cases your experience with Freelancer.com in this regard will be unique to you and your situation. They have help available 24/7 but of course, you’re not guaranteed 100% satisfaction all the time.
Now, when it comes to the scam comments... it's not that Freelancer.com is a scam. It's that scammers like to use these kinds of platforms and marketplaces to scam people.
This is not unique to Freelancer.com. Job posting sites like Indeed and Flexjobs for example also struggle with this. Google and Facebook struggle with it. Your email provider struggles with it. Your bank, your phone company, and on it goes...
Scammers are everywhere and they are continuously evolving and coming up with new ways to scam people.
Platforms like Freelancer have a screening process and do what they can to verify people's identities, but they can only do so much. If they make the screening process too invasive for both clients and freelancers, no one will want to sign up.
In fact, the more stringent their screening process, the more people complain about having their privacy invaded.
It's a catch 22, and all companies are struggling with this issue right now. Everyone wants to get rid of scammers, but they also don't want to overreach and be accused of things like violating people's privacy, or freedom of speech.
Glassdoor Freelancer.com Reviews
Freelancer.com's reviews on Glassdoor were not as good. They have an overall rating of 3.8 out of 5 (from over 1,000 reviewers) on Glassdoor. While it's not a particularly impressive rating, it’s still okay.
The positive reviews on Glassdoor mainly mentioned the flexibility of working from home.
Some reviews also state that Freelancer.com places great value on their feelancers and independent contractors.
The negative reviews, on the other hand, mentioned something about the need to work long hours (maybe because the reviewer is trying to make a full-time income from the platform).
There were also complaints about scam projects (that scam jobs seem to exist), and as mentioned above, this is an issue many platforms are struggling with.
Some of the common pros and cons at Glassdoor are:
- Not having a manager and being able to work from home
- They value their freelancers
- Flexible, great work life balance
- Pays well
- No stability
- Some customer service and refund issues
- Scams projects by clients
It should be noted that some of these have more to do with a particular client or project than they do Freelancer.com.
For example, pay is set by the client, not Freelancer.com.
No stability has more to do with how you structure your freelancing career than it does Freelancer's platform.
Overall, it seems to me the pros and cons on Glassdoor covered the typical scenario of working from home (flexible schedule, relaxed environment, etc.). What disturbs me and I must admit, I'm not sure how to solve it (short of hiring in-house managers to deal with every single client and project), are the reports of scams on their site…
Facebook Freelancer.com Reviews
My next stop on this journey to get other people's perspective and insight, was Freelancer's Facebook page. The Facebook community is usually a good place to look for feedback.
Currently, Freelancer.com has an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5 (based on 802 reviews) on Facebook. Still better than average (or at least better than half of 5 stars), it's strange how different this number is when compared to TrustPilot's 4.6 rating.
The pros I found on Freelancer.com’s Facebook page include the following:
- Freelancer.com provides a good way to earn extra income.
- They have good customer service.
- Some reviewers are simply loving working at Freelancer.com.
For the cons, I found several more complaints accusing Freelancer.com of scams. Based on the reviews above, it seems the scammers who are using Freelancer.com are on both the clients’ side and the freelancers’ side.
Seeing just how many people are complaining about scams on the Freelancer.com platform, it's hard to ignore. It's defintely a problem but as I mentioned above. That doesn't make Freelancer.com a scam. In fact, they're probably more frustrated by it than most users because they not only have to deal with scammers on a daily basis, they have to suffer the negative reviews that go along with scammers using them.
In other words, it's not the scammers who are getting the bad reviews. The scammers don't even care.
It's Freelancer getting the bad reviews for the things the scammers are doing. .
I can't judge whether they're doing enough to screen for scams, maybe they can do a lot more. Maybe they're even dropping the ball completely. But I don't know that.
They could have an entire team working around the clock to deal with scams for all I know, but either way... I understand your frustration, as well the concerns of Freelancer's clients, contractors, and Freelancer.com themselves.
What I Like About Freelancer.com
- Freelancer.com offers a lot of legit work at home opportunities.
- Their 10% fee is quite reasonable (it’s the standard in the industry).
- They have a free membership option that you can use.
- They include 8 bids in their free membership plan.
- The Freelancer.com platform setup includes an app that freelancers and clients can use to send messages, chat, upload, and share files.
- They have good customer service.
What I Don't Like
- I found a lot of scam accusations on Freelancer.com – and there seem to be scammer clients and scammer freelancers alike.
- A lot of scam issues could be (but might not be) a reflection of a poor security screening and verification process. Again... the caveat here is that all platforms including the social media giants as well as banks, email providers, phone companies and even law enforcement are all struggling to deal with scammers.
- You need to pay fees when you’re awarded a project (even when you’re not even paid yet).
- Their verification process might require you to reveal some very sensitive information.
- Bids are limited when you’re on their free membership plan (only 8 per month)... but as I stated above, having at least 8 bids for free is something I like. That doesn't mean I don't want more 😀
- They can refuse you service or ban your account without any explanation.
- Payments are not released automatically, but are simply locked in the client’s account.
- There can be delays in withdrawals (up to 15 days!).
- There’s a withdrawal threshold of $30 (zero would have been better, especially for newbies).
- You can only use their Rewards points if you have a paid membership plan.
Where Do You Go From Here?
I know you want to work from home and enjoy that independent lifestyle. I've been there too...
Sites like Freelancer.com (and other similar platforms) are great because they provide freelancers with a marketplace for finding online jobs. Since Freelancer.com is legit, I think they’re worth trying out. I actually learned a lot (about making money online) from platforms like these.
Of course, it’s up to you. I am particularly worried about the accusations of scams on Freelancer.com. Clients are complaining about freelancers scamming them, and freelancers are complaining of getting scammed by clients.
I'd advise that you proceed with caution when accepting freelancer jobs.
This is probably why Freelancer.com seems to be increasingly strict with their updated Terms and Conditions (2019), especially regarding the verification process. I'm sure they're aware of the issue and are eager to minimize the scams or perhaps totally remove scammers from their site... without being too invasive with their screening process.
Freelancing is a unique lifestyle. As I said earlier, I know you'd love the independence and freedom it gives you. But I wouldn't be telling you the entire story unless I also mentioned the stress.
If it's not the stress of doing a good job or meeting a deadline, it's the stress of finding work... especially if you're a full-time freelancer.
It's great if you can land a long-term project with a good client, but in most cases you will need to diversify. Sign up for multiple platforms. Don't limit yourself to just one way of making money online.
You might be a student in school or a single parent at home. You may have health challenges that make regular work difficult, or maybe you just hate your job and you’re desperate for a way out.
If that's the case, an online business is what you want.
With all the scams and schemes out there though, knowing how and where to get started the right way is what you need in order to get what you want.
To be clear, online surveys and doing small tasks online are not a replacement for good freelance work, but if you've never made money online before, sites like Survey Junkie (who pay you for your opinion) and Inbox Dollars (who pays for doing things like visiting websites and searching the web) are a simple first step and can lead to bigger things down the road.
They can also help you kill some spare time between freelancing gigs 🙂
I hope my Freelancer.com review has been helpful and if you have any comments, questions, or experience with Freelancer.com, please share in the comments section below.