Whether you’re an experienced freelancer or just getting started, eventually you’ll run into Guru.com. Is it legit though, or is it a scam?
You probably know how hard it is working from home and trying to find clients online. What's worse is that you don't know who you can trust, and when it comes to exchanging time and money with someone online that lack of trust is frustrating. It even prevents a lot of people from trying. In this review I'll share my opinion of Guru.com, whether you can trust them, and discuss in detail the following topics...
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for Guru.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 to apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What is Guru.com?
Guru.com is a marketplace that brings freelancers together with employers and helps to manage the back-office business responsibilities such as the safe transfer of funds.
Similar to sites like Upwork and Freelancer, marketplaces like Guru.com are critical to the gig economy… but it's an economy going through growing pains and lot of platforms are still trying to get it right.
How does Guru.com rank among them?
If you read the reviews, not so great... but freelancers need more than one marketplace so I wouldn’t discount them just yet.
Located in Pittsburgh PA, Guru.com was originally founded as eMoonlighter.com in 1998 and over the years has faced tough competition… but they’re still holding their own.
If you're looking at Guru.com to make money, there is no question that freelancing is a great way to make money online (or from home in general) and it's one of the ways I've been able to replace my job.
But a diverse strategy is what you want. You can also make money doing surveys on sites like surveyjunkie.com for example, or searching the web, watching videos and visiting websites with swagbucks.com.
Of course you're not going to get rich doing online surveys, but if your goal is a full-time income from home, they can provide a little boost to help get you there.
Your best approach though, would be starting an online business but that's not for everyone.
Still, if you need to make money from home because of health challenges, little ones to look after or a soft job market, starting sooner rather than later is what you want, and a place to begin is what you need in order to get what you want.
Is Guru.com a Scam?
The unfortunate side-effect of negative reviews is that people start using the word scam. And Guru.com has a lot of negative reviews.
Their current BBB rating of F tells a similar story… a rating that’s based on their failure to respond to several complaints.
But, despite the poor ratings and complaints… Guru.com is not a scam. They’ve been around for many years and they’re a legit company run by well-known CEO Inderpal Guglani.
Having said that… a big challenge with all marketplaces are the scammers who abuse them.
There’s no shortage of creativity when it comes to scams and some might argue Guru.com doesn’t do the best job of keeping them out.
With complaints about the accuracy of their rating system opening the door to getting ripped off, they may have a point. I’ll explain that in further detail below, but as far as Guru.com themselves being a scam? No… they are not.
How Does Guru.com Work?
Open to freelancers who are 18 years or older, your first step is to set up your username and password. From there you can choose between two memberships, freelancer or employer, and each of those have multiple options.
You can choose a free or paid membership, with the big difference being the number of “bids” provided which determine how many jobs you can apply for.
Free members receive 10 bids per month with an option of purchasing more.
- 20 bids - $10
- 40 bids - $20
- 60 bids - $30
- 125 bids - $50
- 250 bids - $100
Unlike your monthly bids that don’t rollover into the next month, your purchased bids have no expiry.
Paid members have other benefits as well, which include lower fees (the percentage Guru.com takes per job), bid rollovers, higher visibility when employers search, and Q & A options among others…
The different memberships are...
- Basic (free) – 120 bids/year and 8.95% job fee.
- Basic + ($11.95/month or $8.95/month paid annually) – 600 bids/year and 8.95% job fee.
- Professional ($21.95/month or $15.95/month paid annually) – 600 bids/year and 6.95% job fee.
- Business ($33.95/month or $24.95/month paid annually) – 600 bids/year and 5.95% job fee.
- Executive ($49.95/month or $39.95/month paid annually) – 600 bids/year and 4.95% job fee.
Additional bids are available for all membership levels.
Your Profile (Getting Jobs)
Once you're signed up and ready to go, your most important task is setting up your profile. If you've done this before it shouldn't be too difficult, but if you're new to platforms like these... take your time.
Include the obvious details such as services you provide, your credentials and rates... But don't forget to highlight your strengths, share your story and include testimonials.
The more personal you can make your profile, the better chance you have of being hired. Employers want to work with people they can trust and get to know on a deeper level than simple bullet-points.
In addition to job fees for freelancers (which range from 8.95% to 4.95%), Guru.com adds another 2.5% handling fee to the employers invoice.
Optional costs include skill tests which are added to your profile and can help you land better jobs.
- Basic members - $4.95/skill test
- Basic + members - $2.95/skill test
- All other members – Free
Guru.com also has a controversial fee where freelancers can pay to have negative feedback removed from their profiles. This is a double-edged sword and is related to the inaccurate rating system I mentioned earlier.
On the surface it sounds good for freelancers… but in reality, it’s not good for high-quality freelancers going the extra mile so they can stand out from the crowd.
What’s your advantage when mediocre freelancers (and even scammers) can pay to make themselves look better?
The other obvious problem of course, is that it’s bad for employers who need good freelancers.
How Does Guru.com Calculate Pay?
Since Guru.com is an open marketplace, there are no set rates. Your pay is determined by your bid, the competition, and the amount your employer is willing to pay.
Depending on the size and type of project though, you can negotiate one of four ways to calculate payments.
- Milestones – For long projects it’s a good idea to break them down into smaller segments with descriptions and dates. Set a specific pay rate for each segment and make adjustments if the project changes along the way.
- Tasks – Smaller projects or multiple projects that are unrelated can be invoiced one at a time.
- Hourly – As a freelancer it’s tough to negotiate hourly contracts with new clients who have no history with you or your work. However, for established clients, hourly gigs can provide a relatively stable income. Hourly agreements are invoiced weekly.
- Recurring Payments – A mix between hourly payments and milestones, you can negotiate a set amount per week, month, etc.
If all you're looking for is a little extra spending money and this sounds like too much, you can also make money doing things like online surveys with sites like surveyjunkie.com, or watching videos, searching the web, and visiting websites with swagbucks.com.
If a bigger income is what you're after, you can also start an online business.
Making money from home might be something you need because of health issues, children to look after, or a job you hate--and while I don't have an instant solution, you do have to start somewhere. A starting point is what you need in order to get what you want.
Payment Transfer Methods
Guru.com uses their Safe Pay system which ensures employers fund projects before you begin. In theory this is supposed to give you confidence that you’ll be paid… but employers still need to verify those payments, which has been the topic of many complaints.
To be fair, there are two sides to every dispute. I’m not saying freelancers complaining about not getting paid are wrong… but I also can’t say employers in those situations are wrong either.
Some employers might be out to rip people off, but others may have legitimate issues with the quality of work.
As far as receiving your funds, Guru.com uses four transfer methods.
- Direct Deposit (US banks only)
- Payoneer Prepaid Mastercard
- Wire Transfer (To non-US banks)
Guru.com Reviews and Complaints
If you only look at Guru.com’s features… it would seem like they’re a well-oiled machine with everything you’d expect from a freelance marketplace.
Unfortunately though… the majority of reviews are overwhelmingly negative. So what’s going on here?
To be clear… these are not my complaints, but they are from people who have experience with Guru.com.
The most common issues are…
- Low pay with freelancers under-bidding each other and too many employers just looking for the cheapest they can find.
- Multiple issues with people not able to withdraw their funds… which is a pretty significant problem.
- Slow responding customer service.
- Inaccurate rating system as mentioned earlier, with some scammers even getting 5 star ratings.
There are a few points to mention here though…
People are more likely to report the bad than they are the good, so it’s fair to assume there are many Guru.com members who are happy and just not writing reviews.
And… not every review is bad. There are some positive ones as well with people saying they like,
- Being able to view other’s who have applied for the same jobs, as well as who got the job.
- The ability to communicate with employers directly before applying.
- The Safe Pay system to make sure projects are funded.
What I Like
- Free membership option so you can try before you buy.
- Good for freelancers of multiple trades, skill levels, and backgrounds.
- Ability to build long-term relationships with clients.
What I Don’t Like
- There are a few red flags… and complaints about not getting paid is a is really big one.
- A lot of competition and a race to see who’s cheapest.
- Paying to remove negative feedback from your profile (It’s nice if you’ve been unfairly reviewed… but it also means you’re competing with freelancers who don’t care about quality or negative feedback)
As a work-at-home freelancer, you’re not limited to a single platform. Guru.com may not be the best one out there… but it’s also free to join so you can form your own opinion.
Their rates are on par with other freelance sites and at the end of the day, it’s more about the client than it is the platform… as long as you’re getting paid.
This is an issue with Guru.com that can’t be overlooked. The last thing you want is to spend hours on a project and come up empty handed. It can’t be happening to everyone though or Guru.com wouldn’t even exist.
The best thing to do is hedge your bets... have a diverse strategy with multiple sources of income. The simplest way to make money online is with surveys. Sites like surveyjunkie.com are easy (and free) to join as are others like swagbucks.com who pays members for doing tasks online that you do anyway like surfing the web, visiting websites and watching videos.
For a significant income and possibly that laptop lifestyle everyone is looking for, an online business is what you want.
Whether you're looking for a home income because of health challenges, children at home or you just don't want to work a regular job, getting started for free is what you need to get what you want.
At the end of the day, a freelance marketplace is only as good as the people who use it, which is why I always recommend joining more than one.
I hope my Guru.com review was helpful and if you have any comments or questions, please share them below. Thanks.