How to Choose the Best Freelance Marketplace in 2024

There are hundreds of freelance marketplaces out there, but they are not all created equal. 

You might get lucky with recommendations by fellow freelance creatives, LinkedIn job postings, and a quick Google search.

Or you might not.

Avoid hours of wasted time, money, effort, and potential scams by doing your homework before jumping headfirst into a partnership with freelance websites that promise to find jobs easily.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

Read on to find out what type of freelance website fits your needs and your niche, the essential questions to ask as a freelancer or a business looking to hire, and how to unearth an in-depth skill review you can use.

Young troubled woman using laptop at home

What is outsourcing recruitment?

Recruitment Process Outsourcing, commonly known as RPO, refers to the practice of outsourcing the recruitment function to a specialized provider. These providers, often called RPO firms, form long-term partnerships with organizations to manage either a portion or the entirety of their recruitment processes.

RPO firms employ a variety of approaches to collaborate with their partner organizations, typically combining two or more of the following models:

  1. On-Demand RPO: This model is primarily project-based, with the RPO firm focusing on specific recruitment tasks that have a defined timeframe and scope. Projects under this model are usually fixed-price and are geared towards addressing immediate hiring needs.
  2. Function-Based RPO: In this approach, the RPO firm concentrates on recruiting for a specific department or division within the organization. The engagement can be on an ad hoc basis or for a predetermined short—or long-term period, depending on the organization’s needs.
  3. Full RPO: Under this model, the RPO firm essentially acts as the organization’s internal human resources team, taking full responsibility for the recruitment process. This comprehensive approach allows the organization to leverage the expertise and resources of the RPO firm for all its hiring needs.

Overall, RPO is a strategic solution that enables organizations to optimize their recruitment processes, access specialized expertise, and ultimately improve the quality of their hires.

Who do outsourcing companies serve?

The Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association (RPOA) explains that an outsourcing company can design and manage an organization’s recruitment process and be accountable for the results of the newly implemented process.

The clientele of outsourcing companies is as varied as the organizations they partner with. They cater to small-to-medium businesses, large enterprises, and non-profit organizations alike. Depending on their focus, RPO providers may concentrate on local or regional employers, or they might extend their services globally.

Outsourcing companies have the flexibility to specialize in specific niches or serve organizations across multiple industry verticals.

When searching for the best freelance website, it’s important to be clear about your niche and determine the scope of your outsourcing partner’s reach. For instance, if you’re a technical writer in the healthcare sector looking for freelance opportunities, a multi-industry marketplace might not be the ideal platform for your needs.

Similarly, a graphic designer specializing in branding for start-ups might find more success on a platform that caters specifically to emerging businesses rather than a generalist site. On the other hand, a software developer with expertise in blockchain technology could benefit from a niche platform that connects them with fintech companies and innovative start-ups that need their specialized skills.

How do I select the right freelance marketplace?

Before looking for the best freelance website, ask yourself the right questions about what matters to you as a freelance contractor or a business looking to hire.

Here are some factors you should consider as a first step:

Should freelance websites have a community?

While freelancing is often perceived as a solitary occupation with remote jobs worldwide, it doesn’t have to be this way. A supportive community of your peers is the best place to network, learn and share resources and information. Creative freelancers and remote workers such as professional designers and content marketing professionals can offer more than just career advice. They can be friends and colleagues in the same way as a traditional workplace operates.

a grid of video feeds as if on a zoom video call.

In a freelance marketplace like Quickly Hire, freelancers who specialize in graphic design, web development, data entry, account management, and writing jobs regularly get together to attend professional development courses and team-building exercises. It’s another reason it’s one of the best freelance platforms on the web.

How do freelance websites pay?

 A freelance marketplace is a go-between that serves the best interests of its partner employers, you, and other job seekers. By taking ownership of their client’s recruitment processes, RPO providers use their industry-in-depth knowledge to ensure that you are paid market-based rates on time, regularly, and in compliance with the regulations of the countries in which you and your employer operate.  

Do I look for industry-specific freelance jobs?

You should decide whether to focus on a niche or find job categories across many industries. The best freelance websites should allow highly skilled professionals like yourself to choose job listings and the types of clients and industries you wish to work with, depending on their size and services.

People sitting around a table in a professional setting looking at a speaker standing.

How flexible are the best freelance websites?

You choose to work as a freelance professional because the freedom to use your valuable time as you wish is essential. A freelance website accountable for most or all of the recruiting processes is more likely to offer you flexibility. 

How do I assess the freelance marketplace?

Just as you are being assessed and vetted as a suitable freelance talent to join an outsourcing company, you must proceed with your own assessment of the best freelance websites.

An interview as a freelancer does not necessarily disadvantage you–you, too, get to interview the outsourcing company, discover job opportunities, and assess their clients. You have skills you’ve spent years developing and honing, and you must entrust them to the right team.

Word-of-mouth marketing is real, and your first port of call should be freelancers with past and current partnerships with the freelance websites you are interviewing. Assessing their digital marketing efforts, customer support, and project management team is also a clever starting point.

Connecting with other freelancers in your niche or industry will yield valuable insights into the hiring process, which RPO providers are sought after, and which ones to avoid at all costs.

When you know what freelance websites you wish to work with, it’s time to find a reputable one.

Check reviews

Reviews on independent platforms such as Yelp or the SMB Guide are a great way to weed out the freelancing websites to avoid. Having “RPO” or “outsourcing” in its name doesn’t mean a company is such a provider.

Verify associations

Just as a community is essential for freelance copywriters, freelance designers, web developers, and other creative freelancers, it is equally necessary for an outsourcing company. 

Verify a potential partner company’s membership in a trade association like the RPOA, which operates under clear guiding principles. 

Assess expertise

When you have narrowed down your options, it’s time to assess a marketplace’s domain knowledge.  Some freelancing sites exist solely to make a profit and don’t care too much about the types of work you get or your skill set.

If the freelance outsourcing site you choose has domain expertise in your niche or industry, you’ll have a better chance of landing technical jobs or projects that best fit your skills and experience. 

Check Customer Service

A freelance marketplace that is invested in its partner organizations understands that it is the first touchpoint you have with its clients and potential employers. The way an RPO provider treats you reflects on the potential employer. Good freelance job sites employ a project manager or account manager to ensure you and the end client are happy.

Understand the application process

According to SHRM, a lengthy and complex application process is a deterrent to most job applicants. 

While technology and AI are excellent tools for supporting a company’s recruitment process, they should not be obstacles or used to “weed out” unsuitable candidates. Your outsourcing partner should be customer support-focused and use technology as an aid. Make sure you have access to real people throughout the application process.

laptop computer screen with job application form for a freelance marketplace

Ideally, freelance applicants shouldn’t have to pay a service fee. The best freelance websites will clearly state their clients’ expectations of shortlisted candidates. 

1. Freelancer

Freelancer is the largest online marketplace for freelancers and companies in need of work. It offers a platform to submit job requests, choose bids, and pay for work through a milestone system.

Pros:

  • A large global community of freelancers across various skill sets.
  • A competitive bidding system can lead to lower project costs.
  • The milestone payment system provides security for both freelancers and clients.

Cons:

  • It can be overwhelming due to the sheer number of freelancers and bids.
  • Quality of work may vary due to the lack of a rigorous vetting process.

2. Upwork

Upwork is a freelance marketplace that offers job posting and project-buying options, connecting freelancers with clients across a varied range of industries and specialities.

Pros:

  • Wide range of skilled professionals across different industries.
  • Easy-to-use platform with a straightforward job posting process.
  • Secure payment system and dispute resolution options.

Cons:

  • Service fees for both clients and freelancers can add up.
  • It may require time to find the right freelancer due to the large talent pool.

. Fiverr

Fiverr is known for its affordable options and project-based pricing, offering various services structured on a gig-based system.

Pros:

  • Known for affordable services, suitable for small businesses and individuals.
  • Wide variety of services offered.
  • A straightforward gig-based system makes it easy to understand what you’re getting.

Cons:

  • Quality of work can vary significantly between freelancers.
  • Limited scope for negotiation and customization in the basic gig structure.

4. Toptal

Toptal is a global online network of top freelance talent, including software developers, designers, finance experts, and project managers, known for its rigorous screening process.

Pros:

  • A rigorous screening process ensures access to top-tier talent.
  • Specializes in high-end freelance professionals for more complex projects.
  • Flexible engagements from hourly to full-time.

Cons:

  • Higher price point compared to other marketplaces.
  • It may not be suitable for smaller projects or businesses with tight budgets.

5. Flocksy

Flocksy is known for its flat-rate unlimited design plans and has expanded its offerings with the Flocksy Marketplace, where users can engage with vetted creatives on a project-by-project basis.

Pros:

  • Flat-rate unlimited design plans for consistent creative needs.
  • Vetted professionals ensure high-quality work.
  • User-friendly platform with a wide range of creative services.
  • A money-back satisfaction guarantee for all marketplace purchases.

Cons:

  • Limited to creative services, may not cater to all business needs.
  • Pricing may be higher compared to some other marketplaces.

6. Guru

Guru offers a secure, flexible, and cost-effective platform for businesses to find and hire freelance talent. Its focus is on lower service fees and a wide range of categories.

Pros:

  • Lower service fees compared to other platforms.
  • Unique WorkRooms feature for easy project management.
  • Variety of payment options, including fixed, hourly, and recurring payments.

Cons:

  • Freelancers are not as thoroughly vetted as on some other platforms.
  • User interface and experience might not be as polished as competitors.

Choosing Quickly Hire as your freelance marketplace

Quickly Hire stands out as a unique freelance marketplace, specifically catering to the needs of startups and small businesses. Unlike other platforms, Quickly Hire meticulously vets every freelancer before they begin working with clients, ensuring they are fully compliant with legal and payment requirements. This comprehensive vetting process alleviates any concerns you might have about legal or payment issues that could arise during the course of a project.

At Quickly Hire, you can expect:

  • A Team of Industry Experts: Our freelancers are not only experienced but also possess deep insights into the trusted organizations we partner with. They are well-versed in the challenges faced by startups and small businesses, such as tight deadlines and limited resources, and are equipped to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Global Talent Pool: Our freelancers come from around the world, allowing you to work asynchronously and scale your business faster than if you were to opt for a full-time hire or someone with limited scope.
  • Transparent and Tech-Enabled Platform: Quickly Hire prides itself on its transparency and the use of technology to facilitate easy access and management of your projects, payments, and paperwork.
  • Dedicated Support: Your Quickly Hire project management professional will always be available to support you before, during, and after the recruitment process, ensuring a smooth and successful experience.
  • Established DEI Practices: We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our recruitment practices, ensuring a diverse pool of talent for your projects.

Choosing Quickly Hire as your outsourcing recruitment partner means opting for a seamless experience with access to a vetted pool of multi-skilled freelancers who understand the unique needs of startups and small businesses. Our outsourcing experts are just one click away, ready to help you achieve your business goals efficiently and effectively.


Authors

  • Dev Moretti

    Dev Moretti is a Quickly Hire Pro Copywriter.

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  • Alex McInnes

    Alex is Quickly Hire's content strategist and digital marketer. He's a New Zealand-born, Thailand-residing copywriter extraordinaire. Dad to two beautiful girls, Alex loves playing rugby, reading, and running with his soi dog, Effie.

    View all posts