How to Hire a Freelancer? Top 10 Platforms in 2021

by Adarsh Raj Bhatt June 9th, 2021
man sitting near table using computer

Every successful startup once started someplace small and had to overcome numerous challenges, such as expense management, working with limited resources and dealing with often unpredictable markets. 

Many startups hire freelancers because it's a way to get the talent you need without having to deal with the formal hiring process, pay benefits, and all of the other headaches associated with hiring full-time employees. It's a win-win situation for you and the freelancer(s). Building the ideal team of freelancers, on the other hand, could be a more complicated process -- particularly if you are new to the market. 

For that reason, we've created this guide to assist you in finding the best freelancers for your requirements with the minimum inputs of effort and cost.

How can startups use freelancers?

Because of the unique nature of the employee-employer relationship, overseeing freelance employees could prove to be incredibly challenging for some. 

Working with freelance talent often entails quite a bit of communication, surveillance, and trial-and-error. However, because of its reasonable cost, it's among the best alternatives for many startups. Collaborating with qualified freelance professionals might also provide your startup with a competitive advantage along the way. Startups, particularly those in their early stages, can benefit from a competent pool of on-demand programmers, designers, developers, copy editors, and other professionals.

A major part of expanding the startup is the ability to get work done quickly -- and freelancers are ideal for this. It is usually much easier to hire an independent contractor than a full-time recruit, thanks to freelance work portals (like Fiverr) that enable you to get in touch with freelancers (of varying levels of expertise) for the skillset that you require, from website development to graphic design. 

The best part?

Because freelancers come on board with nearly all the required skills (unlike many other kinds of full-time employees), they will spend less time in professional development (or training) and more time working.

Why should startups hire freelancers?

#1: Unburden Stress

By ushering in an on-demand skillset for major tasks, founders can relieve themselves and their teams of undue stress. While you concentrate on building the startup, freelancers can work on quite specific tasks like SEO optimization or creating interactive advertisements.

#2: Increased Productivity

By working remotely across time zones, freelancers can also assist startups in increasing productivity and efficiency in a given timeframe. While you sleep, the freelancers at your startup can work on projects from afar.

#3: Cost-cutting

Full-time employees cost much more than freelancers. This is because if you hire the latter, you don't have to pay for perks like insurance coverage, sick leave, or vacation days.

You can also specify exactly how long you require the freelancers for, resulting in more savings. Even when there's no pandemic, most freelancers are experienced, remote workers. This can help save money on commercial office space and equipment (such as laptops) which most freelancers already possess.

What should you look for when choosing vendors in this space?

#1: Profile building and filtered selection process

Good freelance platforms must allow freelancers to: 

  • Build a profile
  • Showcase their skills through their portfolio
  • Communicate freely with potential employers 

Furthermore, startups should be allowed to browse a freelancer database with advanced filters for experience, competencies, hourly rate, and other relevant criteria. Once you have sorted through the candidates that meet your requirements, you can shortlist them and begin conducting interviews.

#2: Uninterrupted Communication

A freelancing platform should allow freelancers and startups to communicate freely and directly without the need for a third-party provider. A few platforms include a workroom and a messaging tool, allowing freelancers to contact you at any time for a work-related discussion.

#3: Review and Rating System

A freelancing vendor should enable startups to provide reviews on freelancers' work. Certain portals also have a system for rating freelancers on the results of their work. This allows founders to bring to acknowledge top freelancing performers or caution other startups about troublesome (or incompetent) freelancers.

Best platforms for hiring freelancers in 2021

Upwork

Description: Cloud-based recruiting management software that helps startups hire freelancers, manage contracts, and pay online.

Best for: Designed for startups of all sizes that are in need of a recruiting solution that helps through connecting with freelancers, building proposals, shortlisting candidates, setting milestones, fixing budgets, and more.

Pricing: 

  • Basic: Free
  • Plus: $49.99 per month

It is also available at $849 per month with additional features.

Evaluation of Key Criteria:

Profile-building and Filtered Selection Process: Yes

Uninterrupted Communication: Yes

Review and Rating System: Yes

Freelancer type: All kinds of freelancers

How to Hire on Upwork: 

  • Go to the "My Jobs" page
  • Open the posting you wish to hire on
  • Locate the freelancer or agency you’d like to hire
  • Click the "Hire Freelancer" or "Hire Agency" button
  • Send an offer to the freelancer or agency
  • Once you’ve clicked "Hire Freelancer" or "Hire Agency," you’ll have the opportunity to update the offer to include the project title, description, and payment terms.

Pros: 

  • Periodic screenshots -- Upwork takes screenshots every 10 minutes which the client can view and feel confident about the progress that is being made.
  • It's an easy-to-use application.

Cons: The user interface has room for improvement in terms of design appeal and aesthetics.

Fiverr

Description: Fiverr claims to let you find the perfect freelance services for your startup.

Best for: Mostly geared towards small and early-stage startups.

Pricing: Fiverr charges a processing fee of $1.00 for purchases up to $20.00. They charge 5 percent of the total for orders worth more than $20.00.

Evaluation of Key Criteria:

Profile-building and Filtered Selection Process: Yes

Uninterrupted Communication: Yes

Review and Rating System: Yes

Freelancer type: All kinds of freelancers

How to hire on Fiverr

  • Navigate to the Fiverr home page. Sign up or log in to Fiverr and scroll down to select a category or service type.
  • Select the type of service you want from the sub-categories provided.
  • Pick a freelancer.
  • Pay for the freelance service that you plan to use.

Pros: Easy to navigate

Cons: Fluctuating price points 

Toptal

Description: Toptal is an exclusive network of the top freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers and project managers in the world.

Best for: Large (often international) companies. While early-stage startups have the option of using Toptal, it might be prohibitively costly for most startups and cash-strapped companies. 

Pricing: Toptal asks for an initial deposit of $500 that’s applied as a credit to your first invoice once you are satisfied with a freelancer (during the two-week no-risk trial) and move ahead to hire them. While there is some flexibility in pricing, startups and companies are typically invoiced twice a month. For further pricing details tailored to you, you can get in touch with Toptal.

Evaluation of Key Criteria:

Profile-building and Filtered Selection Process: Yes

Uninterrupted Communication: Yes

Review and Rating System: Yes

Freelancer Type: Finance professionals, software developers, and designers

How to hire on Toptal

  • Tell Toptal what kind of talent your startup needs
  • Toptal will notify you with a status report concerning your request within a few days.
  • Receive the shortlisted profiles of a few experts and select one of them to engage with
  • Work with the expert for two weeks on a no-risk trial basis. 
  • If you’re satisfied with them, go ahead and hire them. If not, you won’t be billed for the trial period.

Pros:

  • Five-step screening process
  • Convenient hiring process
  • Fast talent-matching
  • Two-week no-risk trial

Cons: 

  • Higher rates than the alternatives
  • Limited talent pool

Freelancer

Description: Hire the best freelancers for any job, online.

Best for: All startup sizes

Pricing: 

  • Basic – $4.95 per month or $53.40 per annual subscription
  • Plus – $9.95 per month or $107.40 per annual subscription
  • Professional – free 30-day trial, subscription starts at $29.95 per month
  • Premier – $59.95 per month or $599.40 per annual subscription

Evaluation of Key Criteria:

Profile-building and Filtered Selection Process: Yes

Uninterrupted Communication: Yes

Review and Rating System: Yes

Freelancer Type: All types of professionals

How to hire on Freelancer:

  • Post a project
  • Choose the freelancer best suited to your needs
  • Pay when you’re satisfied with them

Pros:

  • The website is easy to navigate.
  • Competency tests give clients a chance to see where a freelancer really stands out.

Cons: Freelancer’s desktop app needs some improvement. It only manages hourly projects, so non-hourly projects and chats often don't show up in the app.

Outsourcely

Description: The easiest way to connect with talented remote professionals from 180+ countries 

Best for: Mostly geared towards early-stage startups, but also has plans available for larger startups

Pricing: 

  • Free: $0 per month
  • Small Business: $79
  • Professional: $229

Evaluation of Key Criteria: 

Profile-building and Filtered Selection Process: Yes

Uninterrupted Communication: Yes

Review and Rating System: Yes

Freelancer Type: All types of professionals

How to hire on Outsourcely:

  • Search remote professionals by skill or post a remote job
  • Filter candidates and applicants
  • Make use of real-time communication capabilities for interviewing candidates
  • Finalize, hire, and pay remote freelancers directly

Pros: 

  • No hidden fees. 
  • You can choose to not commit to a free or paid plan until you find a candidate that you would actually like to hire.
  • Emphasis on long-term engagements

Cons: There’s no simple way to delete your credit card from Outsourcely’s systems once you’ve input the details. In some cases, people haven’t been able to delete their credit card details. 

Workhoppers

Description: The easy, affordable way to find the right professionals for your startup.

Best for: Startups of all sizes

Pricing:

  • Basic: $29 per month
  • Essential: $59 per month
  • Enterprise: $275 per month
  • Concierge: $325 per recruit

Evaluation of Key Criteria: 

Profile-building and Filtered Selection Process: Yes

Uninterrupted Communication: Yes

Review and Rating System: Yes

Freelancer Type: All types of professionals

How to hire on Workhoppers:

  • Post freelance, contractual, temporary, or part-time jobs
  • Specify skills, location, budget, and schedule requirements
  • Negotiate your own terms directly with the candidates
  • Pay by the hour or by the job
  • Reward your Workhopper (if you’re satisfied with them) for their hard work with a quick review

Pros: No middleman. Emphasis on direct and transparent communication.

Cons: There aren’t any major cons for startups that are looking to sign up on Workhoppers.

PeoplePerHour

Description: Find the best freelancers to deliver your projects

Best for: Early-stage startups

Pricing: No Buyers Fees. PeoplePerHour levies a 10 percent surcharge when paying the freelancer. 

Evaluation of Key Criteria:

Profile-building and Filtered Selection Process: Yes

Uninterrupted Communication: Yes

Review and Rating System: Yes

Freelancer Type: All types of professionals

How to hire on PeoplePerHour:

  • Post a project
  • Refine your search by skill, location, or hourly rate
  • Contact freelancers and request a proposal for your project
  • Communicate ideas, receive files, and share feedback all from the same platform
  • Once a project is complete, pay freelancer invoices with the click of a button, right from the project stream.

Pros: 

  • Access to freelancers worldwide, as well as those in your area
  • Manage one account for both selling and buying services
  • Payments are secured through Escrow and the PeoplePerHour Wallet system

Cons: 

  • PeoplePerHour persists in showing all charges, fees, and prices in £ (pounds). This is not only inconvenient for both buyers and sellers, but it also makes both parties incur additional bank charges on currency exchange.

Guru

Description: Web-based, easy-to-use, and cost-effective platform for startups to recruit talented freelancers from around the world.

Best for: Startups of all sizes looking to recruit freelancers across multiple service types both locally and internationally.

Pricing: Guru charges a nominal handling fee of 2.9 percent for each invoice paid. However, if eCheck or wire transfer is used, a 100 percent cashback on the handling fee is received.

Evaluation of Key Criteria:

Profile-building and Filtered Selection Process: Yes

Uninterrupted Communication: Yes

Review and Rating System: Yes

Freelancer Type: All types of professionals

How to hire on Guru:

  • Post your job
  • Compare the received quotes
  • Hire the best freelance applicants for the job

Pros: Guru is a good option for startups because of its affordability. There are no costs to find, hire and manage freelancers on its platform.

Cons: Needs an easier method of inserting images.

WorkMarket

Description: A platform that enables startups to efficiently and compliantly assemble and manage their extended workforce of 1099 contractors and freelancers.

Best for: Medium to large startups looking for a robust FMS (freelance management system) to hire and manage freelancers in the U.S.

Pricing: WorkMarket’s pricing is not disclosed on their website. You must reach out to their sales team for a quote according to the scope and size of your operation. Additionally, when you make a payment to a professional, WorkMarket deducts a standard fee of 10 percent of the payment amount stipulated in the assignment.

Evaluation of key criteria: 

Profile-building and Filtered Selection Process: Yes

Uninterrupted Communication: Yes

Review and Rating System: Yes

Freelancer Type: All types of professionals

How to hire on WorkMarket:

  • Tap into AI to organize, vet, rate and pay your contingent workforce
  • Manage all your contingent employee workflows from one dashboard
  • Pay your extended workforce conveniently and on your terms

Pros: Covers all freelancer recruiting needs from sourcing to payment.

Cons: Their mobile platform has overall room for improvement. 

SkillValue

Description: SkillValue is a platform for startups to hire top talent in tech roles

Best for: Startups of all sizes 

Pricing: 

  • SkillValue Starter

$0 per month

  • SkillValue Growth

$299 per month

  • SkillValue Custom

Custom price

Evaluation of key criteria:

Profile-building and Filtered Selection Process: Yes

Uninterrupted Communication: Yes

Review and Rating System: Yes

Freelancer Type: Coders and developers

How to hire on SkillValue:

  • Sign up. Then, to quickly find a freelancer, ask your dedicated Talent Sourcing Manager. They will adjust their search according to the evolution of your project.
  • In less than 48 hours, you’ll receive three technically verified top freelancer profiles evaluated on their soft skills by your Talent Sourcing Manager.
  • Talk to one of the coders to confirm your choice, then start collaborating immediately.

Pros: Intensive skill assessment and interview process.

Cons: 

  • Does not offer automatic grading and personality testing
  • Can be used to only hire freelancers in technical fields (primarily coders and developers)

We can help!

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