These types of marketplaces can be perfect for getting the help you need on any project that requires specific skills but won’t last long enough or have an ongoing demand to justify hiring a full-time employee. They’re also typically very large, which naturally makes them competitive. You can choose from several different freelancers and project types and usually pay a comparable rate across their network of freelancers.
There are several marketplaces to choose from across the web that can provide you with a network of freelancers to contract, individual project types to purchase, or even a place to run contests for several submissions on one request.
But with so many freelance marketplaces out there, how do you decide which one you should use to support your company’s goals? What’s more, what do you need to be aware of when you’re using these types of services?
In this list, we’ve ranked the top freelance marketplaces and provided information about how they work to help you choose if and which one will be the right fit for your creative needs. Let’s dive in.
We’re an American company that provides every creative service your company needs for successful brand marketing. While we’re based in the US, we work with Australia-based companies and brands on a regular basis.
We provide on-demand creative services, including unlimited graphic design, video editing, copywriting, web development, and more. Flocksy plans are a monthly subscription for a fixed monthly rate, but unlike other design services, we can do much more than just logos and branding materials. We did start as a graphic design services company, but now we offer video editing, voice-over work, web and app design, custom illustrations, motion graphics, and web development. It’s the perfect one-stop shop for everything you need to make your business stand out and be successful.
Now, if you’re looking for unlimited graphic design services in Australia, check out this list of the top four companies.
"Hire the best freelancers for any job, online."
Freelancer is the largest online marketplace for freelancers and companies in need of work. You can use their platform to submit job requests within your budget, choose a bid, and pay for your work once it’s completed through their milestone system. You can also submit job contests. They also have recruiters who can help you find the right freelancer and co-pilots who can help you manage your jobs.
Freelancer is pretty simple to use. First, you’ll post a project or contest. You’ll use their platform to describe what you need done and receive bids from freelancers within minutes. Then, you can choose the right freelancer by browsing their profiles, chatting with them in real time, and comparing proposals. From there, select the best person for the job. Once a freelancer has been awarded your project, they’ll get to work. Lastly, you’ll pay for the job when you’re satisfied using their secure Milestone Payment system. You can release payments when it has been completed and you're happy with the results.
You can also use their communication tools to help ensure a successful collaboration. The platform allows you to share files, chat, monitor progress, and more. You can ask your freelancer questions, share feedback, and get regular updates via live chat, and the mobile app makes on-the-go collaboration simple and fast.
Freelancer is the world's largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace, with over 60 million employers and freelancers globally interacting on the platform. You can use them to hire freelancers for software development, writing, data entry, and graphic design. They can even offer freelancers for engineering, the sciences, sales and marketing, accounting, and legal services. If you need help with any of these areas and don’t need ongoing work but more of a project-by-project arrangement, Freelancer can be a good choice.
As the largest provider of freelance marketplace services, they have a good reputation for security and reliability as well.
Range of services
Freelancer has a large library of project types that freelancers offer services for, over 1800, in fact.
This large service offering makes the marketplace desirable because you can turn to it for a variety of one-time project needs, including Linux, web development, accounting, 3D modeling, copywriting, graphic design, Amazon Web Services, marketing, and legal.
They also offer the Freelancer API for creating applications that leverage the Freelancer platform and technology and Freelancer Enterprise for large businesses looking to scale and grow through innovation, AI, and more.
Freelancer is free to sign up and post a project. You’ll get bids from freelancers, and you can discuss the project requirements and arrangements. If you choose to award the project to one of their freelancers, they’ll charge a project fee relative to the value of the bid.
When you are starting a project or contest, you’ll ensure that the prize or bid amount is ready to be funded within their system. The amount will not be released until you are satisfied with the result or you complete the contest handover.
Both options do have a satisfaction guarantee, but they will not apply to every situation. Namely, guaranteed contests, contests where you’ve awarded a winner, projects or contests outside the 30-day refund period, and any upgrades you choose are not eligible for a refund.
Freelancer also offers upgrades on both contests and projects.
● A huge selection of project and contest categories
● Large community of global freelancers
● Options for API and Enterprise
● Payment protection
● 30-day money-back guarantee
● Submitting a project is on you, so if you don’t know how to describe what you need well, people may not bid on it
● Upgrades are not covered in the refund guarantee
● Freelancers are not vetted
"How work should work"
Upwork is a freelance marketplace that offers both job posting and project-buying options. They have a global network of freelancers across a varied range of industries and specialties. They’ve been in the business of providing freelance work to clients in need for years. Businesses or individuals can post listings for jobs, and available freelancers will apply for them. You can look through the applications and find the person you think is right for the job
Upwork connects freelancers to clients who need creative services, everything from copywriting to web dev to logo design to voice-over. They provide access to a large talent pool that specializes in this creative work and can provide results for a one-time project or potentially ongoing work. Everything from short, one-off copywriting projects to long-term web designers is available on Upwork. Their services can work for individuals, small businesses, and large enterprises.
When you work with Upwork, you’ll create a job posting, set a timeline, and provide a budget. Applications will come in, and you can choose the person you want to work on your job. Starting a job on Upwork is very simple, but there’s no template or form to fill out, so you’ll want to be sure you provide freelancers with enough information about the work. You can pay for the entire project at one flat-rate or pay the freelancer per hour for their work.
You can also set milestones for longer projects that require several different steps. Milestones can help keep a freelancer on track during a long project and will also reward them for their work as they progress through the project, increasing their motivation and loyalty.
If you are paying hourly, your freelancer can upload screenshots of their work so that you can see the progress they’ve made and verify their worked hours.
You can also pay for a single project and pick from three available tiers for enhanced options and more assets, such as more graphics or a longer word count.
Upwork charges a percentage on top of what you pay per project or hour. It also takes a percentage from the freelancers. Upwork can provide professional results quickly, and it can be a better option than hiring in-house.
Upwork, like many freelance marketplaces, is a good place to go when you have varying content and project demands. If you’re starting a website from scratch and need the design and content created, Upwork freelancers can provide the work without you committing to an ongoing contract or subscription.
The basis of the service is pay-per-project. If you do have a regular need for graphic design, copywriting, etc., it may not be the most cost-effective model. You can work with the freelancers over and over again, but each person will only be able to work on something in their wheelhouse, which could mean you’re juggling multiple freelancers all across the world.
Upwork is an easy-to-use platform for businesses of different industries and stages. They allow clients to hire freelancers for short-term and long-term projects with both fixed, hourly contracts, and buy-a-project options.
Connect with your freelancers
They can connect you with freelancers for nearly every job so that you can spend less time worrying over hiring, paperwork, and training and enjoy more time focusing on operations and what you love about your business.
Wide range of skilled professionals
The best part of Upwork is that it offers a wide range of skilled professionals, and you can get an idea of who you’re working with by checking out the Job Success Score. This score, listed on their profile, shows how other clients have rated their work. You can also check out their list of special skills and samples of their work.
Hire based on Job Success Score
The freelancers on Upwork come from all walks of life. You can look at their profiles and reviews, and they provide something called a Job Success Score, which basically shows how happy they’ve left clients. There isn’t a strong vetting process that happens with Upwork, but freelancers can complete skill tests to showcase their unique skills in a particular area. Their algorithms also help by shortlisting candidates who appear to be the best fit.
They also offer Talent Scout help, which will take your budget and needs into account to find the right talent for your specific goals, and you can choose from this tailored shortlist they provide.
Upwork Basic is free to join as both a client and a freelancer.
From a client standpoint, the costs vary based on what sort of services you need. They offer three plans you can choose from as well as pay-per-project options. The plans are as follows.
Clients are also charged a 3% fee on top of all payments processed on Upwork projects. This fee goes toward payment processing and administration costs and is assessed when they charge your billing method. It shows up as a separate item on your transaction history and payment receipt.
● Large, active community of freelancers
● Easy-to-use interface and messaging platform
● Requesting jobs and buying projects is straightforward
● Multiple job proposals in minutes, according to the site
● They handle the paperwork regarding taxes
● The API can allow you to automate some features, such as contracts and receiving messages in Slack or Teams.
● For an additional fee, Upwork will provide weekly expenditures
● Enterprise option is available
● Doesn’t have templates or guidance on how to write your job posts
● Potential to choose the wrong category or hire the wrong person because of the above
● Freelancers are often spread across multiple time zones, making real-time collaboration challenging
● Job Success Scores aren’t always accurate because if a freelancer ends a contract that has been open too long, clients don’t need to leave feedback. This negatively affects their job success score because no feedback is considered bad feedback.
"Find the perfect freelance services for your business"
Fiverr promises “A whole world of freelance talent at your fingertips.’ They’re a very large and notoriously inexpensive option when it comes to online freelance marketplaces. They offer various services at nearly every price point that are all structured on project-based pricing. Once you find a freelancer to start your project, they can begin work in minutes. Fiverr also offers a number of project categories, from graphic design to writing to AI services to business to lifestyle. Anyone from around the world can sign up to be a buyer or seller on Fiverr.
Using Fiverr is pretty straightforward. You'll start by either signing up for an account or looking through the available gigs in the category you need. There are several options, and Fiverr also offers ways to refine the results, such as choosing which type of logo style you like when you’re in the logo design category. You can also filter results in a category to pro service, local sellers, and online sellers.
Then, you’ll search for the right gig that covers your needs, and that’s being sold by someone you want to work with. You can go into the gig to learn more about it and check out the seller’s profile, description, and portfolio. There are typically three different tiers within the gig that allow you to upgrade your service- Basic, Standard, and Premium.
What’s included in these tiers varies by category and seller. But you can expect things like more complex designs, higher word count, additional elements, longer videos, and enhanced or improved stock assets.
When you choose a gig and tier, you’ll pay on the order page, which is secured through Fiverr. You can also purchase extras, such as more revisions or a quicker turnaround. You may also see a task broken into chunks that the seller will work on called Milestones. You’ll follow the order set in the milestones description and approve each step as you progress.
Fiverr is a good option when you’re looking for one-off gigs that need to be completed somewhat quickly and for a good price. Sellers can provide tons of different services that a business might need from time to time. There is also an option to set up a subscribe-and-save with your seller, which is a good option if you have a handful of projects you want to be completed by that person over the course of a few months.
If you want to contract or purchase gigs sporadically, Fiverr provides a large library of options. They provide Business and Pro options as well if you’re looking for the highest quality freelancers or a more curated experience that comes with unique Fiverr tools and benefits designed for businesses.
Fiverr is known for its affordable options. This fact alone makes it appealing to many smaller businesses and individuals that can’t afford to work with agencies or hire in-house employees. Purchasing per project and being able to choose only the options you need is a great feature for those on a small budget
They also offer the upgraded Business option and a rewards program for continued users. The Fiverr Select loyalty program offers rewards, personalized service, and exclusive access to valuable content and learning resources.
Logo Maker Tool
Their three tier project structure also helps you define your project even more so that you get all the pieces and parts that you might need. They even have a logo maker tool.
The pricing on each gig varies, of course, but you’ll find the three-tier structure on all of them. Though they do state that you’ll pay a set service fee. “All transactions, including tips, are required to pay the service fee.”
Service fees are 5.5% of the purchase amount, and for orders under $50, an additional $2 small order fee is applied.
As stated above, you can also tip your freelancer if you feel they’re doing an especially good job. Additionally, you can sign up for the Business account, which takes things beyond the free account to offer a customer service manager and enhanced tools.
You can also cancel an order, but Fiverr encourages you to use the Resolution Center to work things out first. If an order is marked as very late (24 hours or more), you can request to cancel the order. There will be some back and forth between the seller and you, and you may request a cancellation with a dispute.
If you do proceed with the cancellation, they will refund the amount paid for the service and the service fee.
Fiverr Business is also free to use and comes with the same payment processing system with enhanced purchasing options.
● Their internal platform looks easy to use.
● The filters and search options make finding a gig easier.
● Several categories available.
● Refund options go through several steps to ensure fairness.
● Seller rankings and portfolios make finding good freelancers simpler, and the pro options are easy to filter.
● Known for affordable prices and the three-tier system makes selecting only what you need straightforward.
● The Business account is free.
● Pros and high-level creators are always more expensive.
● Revisions aren’t guaranteed, and you may only get a small number of them. You may even need to pay extra for them.
● The refund process does take a while to complete.
● Service fees are higher here than on other platforms, which can cause freelancers to compensate with higher prices.
● Sorting through the sea of gigs can get overwhelming when you’re starting out.
"Hire the Top 3% of Freelance Talent®"
Toptal, short for “top talent,” is a global online network of the top freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers. Top companies use Toptal freelancers on a variety of projects because of Toptal’s reputation for only working with the best. They state that of the thousands of applicants Toptal gets monthly, they usually accept lower than 3%.
Toptal promises freelancers with the highest levels of professionalism and skill. They state that you can hire much faster than doing it on your own, with hires possible in under 48 hours. They allow you to scale up or down whenever you need. They also offer flexible engagements with their freelancers, from hourly to full-time work.
The overall process on Toptal is simple. First, you speak with one of their experts. They’ll work with you to learn your company goals, technical requirements, and team dynamics. Then, within a few days, the Toptal team will introduce you to the best talent for your needs. Matches usually take about 24 hours or less. From there, you can work with your new team member on a trial basis to ensure you hire the right people for the job. You’ll only pay when you’re satisfied.
The unique Toptal solution for hiring high-quality independent contractors is a good avenue to pursue for those small and big businesses looking to avoid the hassle of training and hiring talent. They can be a more affordable option and can potentially save you months of time spent looking for the right person for the job.
Toptal doesn’t charge a recruitment fee and promises quality results. They pre-screen their talent, and there is no cost to terminate an employee or if you decide to go with someone else. Toptal is a good option when you’re looking to upscale your team quickly.
They can help build out initial teams, fill unique positions, and grow teams when your demand is high. Whenever you need to adjust your team, you can switch your Toptaler to a part-time role or stop using their services quickly and easily. You can also add on more whenever you need.
With this in mind, Toptal is right for you if you want to work with a freelancer and avoid in-house hiring but need someone for a longer term and beyond just a one-off project.
The Toptal pricing is straightforward. You’ll work with the talent hourly, part-, or full-time for a set amount you pay on a weekly basis. When you review and sign off on their suggested freelancer(s), your talent will be ready to become a part of your team right away. While Toptal talent typically works remotely, you may be able to set up something to actually get to know them on-site.
Restart Process Free
If you're dissatisfied with your talent after the trial period, they will begin the process again for free and attempt to find you a better fit. The risk-free trial period is designed to allow you to work with the person first before choosing to move forward, sure that it will be a good working relationship. If you’re not satisfied for any reason, you won’t be held liable for any payment, and you have the option to part ways or restart the process for free.
This feature provides a lot of reassurance with their service. Another great feature of Toptal is the diverse areas that their freelancers specialize in, including product and project management, web development, design, and finance.
Toptal requires an initial deposit of $500, which is applied as a credit toward your first invoice. Your deposit will be refunded completely if you decide to move forward with hiring. Following the two-week trial, Toptal will bill you for the time. You can continue to work with them for as long as you need their service. If you’re not satisfied, Toptal will not bill you.
From there, Toptal can provide you with another expert, or you can decide to part ways. They state their goal in this situation is to provide you with someone who may be a better fit. With this new person, you’ll start a second no-risk trial.
Toptal usually invoices clients twice a month, according to their site. However, they can provide some flexibility in that area. You’ll also have the chance to review the terms before the payment is processed.
When you start with them, you can fill out their “hire talent” section and go through a series of questions regarding what you need, your budget, how often you want the person to work, and where they’ll be placed in your company (i.e. entry-level, executive, etc.). From there, they’ll contact you with the freelancers that suit your requirements and budget for you to choose from. In this way, the budget is essentially up to you and will change depending on what you need to be done. There isn’t an average price or plan listed.
● Toptal has a thorough screening process.
● Talent has been reviewed as very professional.
● You can search for freelancers based on very specific needs and projects.
● Toptal handles most of the talent selection process, invoices, and vetting.
● They will give you a down-payment refund if you don’t hire a freelancer.
● There’s a two-week free trial with any freelancer.
● You can hire for remote and on-site.
● Toptal is typically more expensive.
● Requires a $500 deposit.
● Short on creative freelancers, such as writing, video, voice-over, etc.
● You can’t browse a marketplace of freelancers.
● Price ranges aren’t provided, and there’s no pay-per-project option.
"Find & Hire Expert Freelancers"
Guru is a place for businesses to find and hire freelance talent using their “secure, flexible and cost-effective” web-based platform. They provide a number of freelancer categories and allow you to post job requests as well. There are also several ways to set up the payment process for one-time or recurring work with any number of freelancers. The site is especially tailored to businesses with both enterprise and agency options available.
Guru begins with signing up. You can join for free, post your job, and start getting quotes from freelancers quickly. You can verify your details in one step. Then, you can start posting jobs. You can also upgrade your job post to a "Featured Job" to receive 50% more quotes.
Next, you’ll want to review and compare the quotes. When you’ve found the best person for the job, you can accept their offer. To help you make the decision, you can review the freelancers' profiles, where you’ll find information about performance, feedback, portfolio, and earnings statistics.
When you select the freelancer you want to hire, you’ll want to come to an “Agreement” on the scope of work, payment terms, and when you can expect it to be done. You can see your freelancers work in dedicated WorkRooms as soon as you hire them. If you like their work and want to use them again in the future, you can add them to “My Favorites” to connect and hire them down the line.
During the actual project, you can manage your hire in the WorkRooms, where you can keep track of progress. You can hire multiple freelancers for a job and assign roles within the team that you can also track in the WorkRooms. All your files, team members, updates, and payments will be in one place.
Status updates in the WorkRooms allow you to track work progress and time submitted by hourly freelancers. You can also manage multiple freelancers on the same job in different WorkRooms. Guru also allows you to edit your Agreement with a freelancer if the job requirements change.
Lastly, when it comes time for payment, you’ll use SafePay, which deposits money into your Guru account but doesn’t release it until you’re 100% satisfied. You can also set up AutoPay to pay the freelancer automatically when an invoice is outstanding. Guru offers four payment options – credit/debit card, PayPal, eCheck (U.S. only), and wire transfer.
If you’re looking for some of the lowest freelance marketplace fees, Guru is where your search can stop. As a marketplace, they offer some of the lowest fees around. They also offer a large category selection for businesses looking for one-off jobs or longer one-time projects. You can also set up recurring payments, which makes the process valuable if you have a longer task or goal that will take several months to complete.
If you need something like a website redesign, a blog article, or even ongoing administrative services and don’t want to go through the work of hiring an in-house team (or you simply can’t afford one), Guru can be a very affordable option.
The WorkRooms provided by Guru are a unique feature that allows you to finalize your agreement and monitor work within their online platform. This transparency and easy management make the service very appealing.
Various payment options
The way the Agreements payment options break down is also useful. In addition to hourly and fixed price options, you’ll also find Recurring Payments and Task-Based payments. For recurring payments, you can set up jobs as retainers with payments that can be made weekly, biweekly, monthly, or quarterly. This is a useful tool for jobs with fixed payouts at set intervals.
Task Based Payments
With Task-Based payments, you can create tasks as necessary for ad-hoc freelance work. Then, you can make payments for each task once the job is done.
Setting up an employer account on Gurur is free. You can find, hire, and manage freelancers using their online platform at no cost. They charge a handling fee of 2.9% for each invoice paid, which is one of the lowest amongst its competition. Additionally, if you use eCheck or wire transfer, you get 100% cash back on the handling fee.
With a free Employer membership, you get the following features:
● Promises the lowest processing fees around
● WorkRooms make it easy to monitor work
● You can set up long-term contracts, fixed, and recurring payments
● Several creative service categories, including copywriting, design, video, and music
● Free to sign up
● No live chat or support
● The freelancers aren’t vetted
● The Agreements and Payment can be a bit complicated
● If you do need arbitration, it will only cover and discuss funds that are in the SafePay system. If you had previously paid for tasks, but the project stops, you can’t get arbitration for any funds that are no longer within the SafePay system.