Whether you’re doing a full career change, or seeking casual jobs to earn some money, freelancing can be a great option.
Want an easy way to outsource projects to skilled remote workers, or to find more freelance work yourself? Take a look at Freelancer.
Founded in Sydney in 2009¹, Freelancer is now the largest freelancing marketplace in the world. It has nearly 48 million users across 247 countries² – so it’s the ideal place to tout for business or find a freelancer.
Here, we’ll give you the lowdown on Freelancer. We’ll look at fees and other costs, along with types of work and alternative platforms to try. Plus, how to get your money out of Freelancer without being caught out by currency conversion fees or exchange rate mark-ups.
One of the best ways to get paid by Freelancer is with Wise. Open a Wise Business account and you can receive money with zero fees. If you’re withdrawing money from Freelancer in a different currency than your own, you can use the local bank details from your Wise account to avoid losing money on a poor exchange rate.
We’ll look at this in more detail near the end of this guide. First, let’s give Freelancer the once-over.
Freelancer is a hugely popular freelancing marketplace. It’s where employers post jobs and available, suitably skilled professionals bid for the work. This means offering their best price to complete the project.
When you post a job, you can invite freelancers who’ve caught your eye to bid on the project, or wait for bids from the wider platform to come in. Employers can even approach freelancers to make an offer.
Freelancers create a profile when they sign up to Freelancer, featuring their skills, experience, portfolio and feedback from previous clients.
Once a freelancer is appointed for a job, the work can be tracked and managed using a range of Freelancer’s tools. All invoicing and payment is done securely through the site.
Other Freelancer features include⁴:
- Free job postings and free bids
- Time tracker tools for monitoring progress and productivity
- Secure, encrypted payments - and a choice of payment methods
- 24/7 customer support
- Choice of secure in-platform communication tools
- Advanced features – including skills test, community experts, recruiter upgrades and contests.
Being such a massive marketplace with so many users, it’s unsurprising that Freelancer offers a huge range of service categories. Among many others, these work types include⁵:
- Websites, IT and software
- Computing and mobile phones
- Writing, editing and content creation
- Design, media and architecture
- Sales and marketing
- Accounting, legal, HR and business
- Translation and languages
- Product sourcing and manufacturing
- Engineering and science
- Freight, shipping and transportation.
If you’re a freelancer using the platform to find more work, the good news is that bidding on jobs is free. But you will pay 2% of your bid amount (to a maximum of $50 USD) to Freelancer if you get the job.
You’ll also need to pick a price plan. This will affect how many bids a month you get and how many skills you can list. Prices start from $0.99 USD a month for the Intro plan (15 bids a month) or $4.95 USD a month for Basic (50 bids a month). It goes all the way up to a yearly cost of $791.40 USD for the Premier package offering 1,500 bids a month, plus all the bells and whistles that go with it.
You can pay a little extra to stand out from the crowd, as a $1 USD sponsored bid fee will highlight your bid to prospective employers.
There may also be additional fees for withdrawing your money from the platform – but we’ll cover these in detail near the end of this guide.
Now, onto the fees for employers. It’s free to post jobs on Freelancer, but the fees kick in when a project is started. These include a 3% charge for a fixed-fee project, or 3% of the hourly rate when you hire someone by the hour.
You can also pay extra fees for bonus features, such as $44 USD to make your post featured and attract better quality features or $14.30 for an urgent job starting in under 24 hours.
Freelancer isn’t the only platform doing this sort of thing. Here are a couple of alternatives to check out:
Upwork is a US-based freelancer marketplace connecting freelancers and employers all over the world. There’s a wide range of product categories to choose from, all geared towards work that can be done online. It’s quick and simple to post a job and hire someone, and billing/payment is secure and automated. Upwork offers 24/7 customer support, plus extra tools such as an hourly time tracker and a choice of communication methods.
Fiverr is another popular online marketplace where freelancers list their skills and services in ‘gigs’ or service packages. There’s every kind of online service you’d expect, from writing and translation through to graphic design and social media marketing. The platform is intuitive and easy to use, with competitive, transparent fees (although commission for freelancers is high at 20%⁹). There’s also multi-currency support, secure payments and lots of other clever features.
Once you’ve completed a job and the client has paid, it’s time to get your earnings out of Freelancer. You’ll have a choice of withdrawal methods depending on your country, with the main options being Express Withdrawal to your bank, wire transfer, PayPal or Skrill¹⁰.
Freelancer doesn’t charge fees for most withdrawal methods, except wire transfers which have a $25 USD fee¹¹.
However, if you’re withdrawing to your local bank account in a different currency, the sum will need to be converted using Freelancer’s chosen exchange rate. This rate may not be the mid-market ‘real’ exchange rate – it’s likely to have a mark-up added on top. This means you’ll lose some money during the conversion.
But you don’t necessarily need to have the funds converted. There is a way around it¹².
Get yourself a Wise Business account and you’ll be given virtual local bank details so you can get paid just like a local. This means no conversion is needed, so no exchange rate mark-up either. Plus, there’s no fee to receive money into your Wise account in this way.
Once you’ve received the money, you can send it elsewhere to cover a business expense or hold it in your account for later. Alternative, spend it anywhere in the world using your linked debit Mastercard or deposit it in your bank for a small currency conversion fee.
Whenever you spend or convert money with Wise, you’ll always get the real, mid-market exchange rate. It’s the fairest way to do things, and it could save you a bundle if you regularly get paid from platforms like Freelancer.
So, that’s all the essentials you need to know about using Freelancer, from fees and service types to alternatives to try if the platform doesn’t work for you.
If you’re looking for maximum exposure or access to the largest choice of freelancers, Freelancer is an excellent one to go for – but remember, it’s super competitive so you’ll need to work hard to stand out!
Sources checked on 7-October 2020.
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