How Unqualified Freelancers Can Cost Your Startup Big

As a startup founder, you know that hiring the right people is crucial to the success of your business. But when it comes to freelancers, finding qualified candidates can be challenging. We’ve heard horror stories of ghosting, scams, overcharging, and under-delivering. These experiences can damage your reputation.

You need someone who has worked freelance for startups and understands your pain points and what you need to do to grow quickly. 

In this blog post, we will highlight the hiring frustrations you might face when looking to bring a freelancer on board, and we’ll offer some advice on finding qualified candidates to help your startup grow and succeed.

Hard to find talent

So, you have been looking for a superstar web designer for weeks. You have spent valuable hours on job postings via several well-known freelance marketplaces. Still, all you have managed to find are low-quality applications not worthy of further exploration.

It’s pretty clear that some candidates haven’t even bothered to read the job description, while others had poor communication skills or were clearly overcharging for their services.

Time is of the essence!

Woman checking her watch on the job

Things are getting desperate. Many projects warrant your attention, yet many others remain unfinished. Your startup requires consistent cash flow to stay viable, so finding world-class freelancers is imperative….like now!

With thousands of willing freelancers across many freelance marketplaces. You would have thought finding a suitable person would have been a walk in the park!

Finding a platform that connects freelancers to small businesses and startups is challenging. You could visit a job board daily for a month and still need help finding the perfect fit. 

Sadly, some freelancer marketplaces are only profit-driven and work on a quantity-over-quality strategy.

The good news is there are alternatives to the more popular freelance marketplaces like Fiverr, People Per Hour, and Upwork that prioritize your happiness as part of their business model.

Instead of doing all the legwork yourself, it is possible to have quality freelancers, vetted and tested, brought directly to you so you can get larger projects started ASAP.

Pain points you can avoid by choosing the right freelance marketplace

If you are new to the freelance services game, some of these pain point examples may be foreign to you. However, we can assure you that none of them are fun, and many can cause you to lose significant productivity.

You can avoid some significant pitfalls by choosing an online freelance marketplace that only considers the very best in the freelance community.


Frustrated man trying to hire a freelancer

Let’s assume you are a startup company specializing in mobile app development. With more projects on the books than you can handle, you have decided to get some outsourced help to get you back on track.

After an exhaustive search of job boards, you have finally found what you think is the perfect candidate. With the necessary skills and a portfolio to match, you start the onboarding process and discuss the project details, such as timeline and budget.

Your expert talent is gangbusters, and your initial concerns are gone until….poof.

They disappear from the face of the earth. No more emails. They are dark on Slack, and no matter how hard you try to communicate, all you get is crickets.

This is what we call: ghosting.

With a heap of half-finished projects, there is no choice but to head back to the drawing board (or job sites) to find another candidate. The disappearance of your long-lost developer has cost you time and money, but what other choice do you have?

Perhaps the worst part is that the freelancer marketplace you found them on is unlikely to help as they have no obligation to. You are left holding the baby.

For those startup founders who have experienced ghosting, the main takeaway is to try and choose a more reliable freelancer and maintain open communication throughout the project. However, no matter how hard you try, you can get burnt.


Unfortunately, there have been several cases of startups that have hired a freelancer only to be cheated out of money—with no completed work anywhere to be seen.

Some freelance marketplaces have no protection for prospective employers who only wish to find a talented freelancer to help them out. Run for the hills if any freelancer:

  • Asks for money upfront before work is completed
  • Clearly copyrights someone else’s work
  • Asks for money in a non-approved channel
  • Demands more money than agreed upon
  • Asks for passwords or security clearance that is unrelated to the task
  • Requests credit card details or other personal information


sloth moving slowly across grass and fallen leaves

The whole point of hiring qualified, talented freelancers is to get projects moving that would otherwise be stagnant on your to-do list. When a freelancer takes much longer than anticipated, this can cause bottlenecks in your process. You may be left wondering why you didn’t just do it yourself.

Of course, speed of delivery often directly relates to what the freelancer knows. Their portfolio and resume may appear to tick all the right boxes, but your experience is very different. The only way to avoid this is by hiring well-vetted freelancers.

Again, not all freelance platforms can make these promises, leaving you and your potential clients in the lurch.


Every dollar counts when you are a small business owner or a startup with dreams of scaling on a budget. That is why when you outsource some of your work, you want to get the best possible job for a reasonable price. Not cheap…. but definitely fair.

It is a common pain point for many companies to be overcharged by freelancers for work completed. Even when you have agreed on a set budget, more unscrupulous types may take advantage of your position by sending an invoice that is well beyond what you expected.

Even more frustrating is that if they have the final project, they could refuse to release it unless they are paid in full. By terminating the agreement, you are left with piles of work to be done and even less time to do it.


Underdelivery is often related to the actual experience of the freelancer. 

If you have transparent processes, such as a style guide for content writers or a color palette for web design, for example, then this should be followed down to the letter.

Inexperienced freelancers are likely to present sub-par work, leaving it to you to make the necessary changes to meet strict deadlines. With no way to adequately vouch for a freelancer’s work, many freelance websites cannot help you when you have a complaint that needs addressing.

Shiny-object syndrome

Couple looking at rings

This is a common issue that many freelancers face when working on multiple projects simultaneously. It refers to the tendency to get distracted by new and exciting job opportunities and lose focus on the original project. This syndrome can be particularly problematic for clients who rely on freelancers to deliver high-quality work on time.

While most freelancers are dedicated professionals who want to ensure positive client reviews, others can drop your project for more lucrative jobs when available.

The only way to avoid shiny-object syndrome is to only work with freelancers with a proven track record of delivering high-quality work on time and establish clear expectations and communication channels from the outset.

The importance of qualified freelancers for startups

freelance designer on a laptop

As you can see, there are many ways in which startups can hit roadblocks by hiring freelancers who don’t have the necessary skills to get the job done right.

But what is ‘good’ when it comes to a freelancer? How can you honestly tell if who you are speaking to is professional, qualified, creative, and punctual? Here are a few key traits that Quickly Hire checks when assessing freelancers looking to join our network.

Communication skills

Startups should always be on the lookout for freelancers with excellent communication skills because it helps to ensure a clear understanding of the project requirements from the outset.

Communication skills are essential to productivity and efficient collaboration with you and your staff who work remotely. Regularly getting updates and feedback from your freelancer is a good sign, as they are obviously engaged and invested in your product or service.

Problem-solving abilities

Flexibility is crucial in the fast-paced startup world. You want to hire freelancers who can think on their feet and adapt to changing circumstances at a moment’s notice. Having to micromanage remote staff is a gigantic time-wasting exercise and won’t satisfy your hiring needs.

Ask your potential freelance talent about a work project that changed halfway through and how they coped with it. The answer may provide you with what you need to know.


The top talent producing digital services can anticipate your needs before you ask them. They do the added extras and offer solutions that may have slipped your mind. Unqualified talent is likely to do only the minimum.

Your intuitive freelance talent has probably completed similar projects for other freelance clients and can impart competitor secrets to get you up to speed. Look for those freelancers with a work portfolio that suits your niche.


Getting deliverables ready on time is exceptionally important for any startup. Yet again, freelancers with everything in the right inbox ahead of the deadline realize your urgency and work hard to get it done.

Remember, great freelancers, understand that repeat business is good business. You could hire them again if they are punctual and present great work!

The problems with some outsourced marketplaces

woman doing graphic design work

So now you know what characteristics to look out for in an exceptional freelancer. You also know what some of the pain point startups face when they make the mistake of hiring a freelancer who isn’t up to scratch.

The only thing left to do is find one, right?

The problem is that even the most popular freelance marketplaces can’t guarantee you will find the perfect candidate. In fact, they generally leave that job up to you. Moreover, many users report that these sites are not exactly client-facing regarding communication and accountability.

Here are a few things to consider when looking at freelance platforms to hire talent.

Poor vetting

Marketplaces that don’t correctly vet candidates increases the likelihood of hiring unqualified talent. You may be lucky and find a diamond in the rough, but without a third party that can vouch for them, who is to say if they haven’t massaged their resume?

Your time and money are at stake. Your intellectual property is at stake!

Using a freelance marketplace that doesn’t thoroughly vet its freelancers might appear to be the cheaper option, but you will likely have a bad experience later on down the track.

Hidden fees

Money and hiring process on a table

It’s true. Some freelance marketplaces have hidden fees waiting to bite you after a project is closed. These hidden fees can lead to unexpected expenses and cost overruns.

Sometimes the cost is minor. Other times it is downright outrageous. While they will say it is in their terms and conditions, this text can be challenging to find.

A great platform will outline all its fees as transparently as possible or give a free estimate, leaving you under no illusions regarding what you will pay once the project is completed.

Non-existent support

If you have a situation where a project hasn’t gone to plan, or you feel as if something is wrong with your account, you want it fixed ASAP, right?

Well, some freelance marketplaces make it awfully difficult to communicate with them. Their customer support is often lacking, and their dispute resolution systems can take an age to whirr into gear.

Let’s not even get started on the tedious refund policies. The internet is awash with clients complaining about their poor experiences!

Lack of accountability

Some freelance marketplaces don’t hold freelancers accountable for their work, leaving it up to the founder to deal with delays, low-quality work, or missed deadlines.

When your job ads specifically state how you want the work to be done, which is different from what you get, it goes without saying how frustrating this can be.

Alternatives to common freelance marketplaces

two women looking at job postings

While you are an expert in your field, recruitment might not exactly be your forte. If you like a more hands-off approach to hiring freelancers, there are alternatives to the more popular outsourced marketplaces with a fixed business model that doesn’t suit your needs.

You should be looking for a platform that has already done the legwork of vetting candidates for you. Now, you can be sure you have someone on your team that excels at their job!

You should also search for a company that manages payroll and adheres to any compliance issues you have faced in the past. Whether your freelancer comes from San Francisco or Timbuktu, it should be easy to pay them without the legal hassles that sometimes get in the way.

Lastly, the best freelance marketplace is one that has excellent support. If any issues arise during your project, you want to be able to fix them immediately. Whether finding a replacement freelancer or getting some billing advice, waiting days or weeks is just out of the question.

The benefits of using Quickly Hire

woman doing freelance work on the phone and laptop

So you don’t want to post job ads on the same-old freelancer marketplace anymore, and you want access to the best freelance designers, copywriters, developers, and virtual assistants from all around the world without going through an exhaustive hiring process.

That’s great. A freelance marketplace like Quickly Hire is a great starting point.

Using a platform like Quickly Hire offers several benefits for startups. By connecting freelancers to your fledgling business, you now have access to the following:

Quality candidates

Quickly Hire has a pool of qualified candidates who have been vetted and assessed by professionals. This means that you can be sure that you’re working with those with the skills and experience to help you achieve your goals.

Transparent pricing

With Quickly Hire, you know exactly how much you pay for each project without hidden costs, service fees, or charges. This can help you to manage your budget effectively and avoid any surprises.

Excellent communication

You can communicate with candidates directly and with a dedicated Quickly Hire account manager, ensuring that you’re always on the same page. This helps avoid misunderstandings and ensures that your project runs smoothly.


Quickly Hire ensures you hire freelancers who deliver quality work on time and within your budget. This means that you can focus on scaling your startup.

Hassle-free payments

You don’t have to worry about payroll, taxes, or invoicing – everything is taken care of for you. This can save you time and help you to manage your finances more effectively.

The right freelancer equals long-term success

As a startup founder, hiring the right freelancers is crucial to the success of your business. While outsourcing can be a cost-effective way to get work done, it can also come with several pain points, such as ghosting, scams, overcharging, under-delivering, and slowness. 

Don’t waste your precious time!

Quickly Hire connects freelance designers, developers, copywriters, and virtual assistants committed to your startup without any unnecessary pain points we discussed earlier.

Additionally, using a platform like Quickly Hire, you can access a pool of qualified candidates who have been vetted, assessed, and checked, ensuring that you can focus on growing your startup without distractions or hassles.Are you ready to dive in? Check out our services here.


  • 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.