Haven’t found what you’re looking for on the two most famous outsourcing platforms? Here’s our pick of the top alternatives for finding quality freelancers.
Fiverr and Upwork are probably the most common places where companies look for outside collaborators, and professionals seek freelance work. Upwork, the older of the two, is known for a more rigorous vetting process that’s based on both skills and demand (since it has over 12 million registered freelancers, the demand for their area of work is now taken into account before they can join the platform).
Fiverr started out as a marketplace for small, cheap gigs (that cost as little as $5), but quickly became Upwork’s main competitor. While Upwork is mostly used for business and professional services (marketing, development, design, accounting etc), Fiverr offers all of that but also pretty much anything you can think of (including spellcasting, astrology and tarot reading gigs that I personally love to browse!).
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However, because they are so popular Fiverr and Upwork have become somewhat overcrowded: both by freelancers and those hiring. This has a significant financial impact on both freelancers and employers, most notably in the form of unpredictable rates. With so many people hiring, freelancers feel more confident to increase their hourly rates. On the other hand, employers can always find another freelancer who offers the same service for less.
We’re looking at some great online marketplaces for finding freelancers from all sorts of disciplines, as well as niche marketplaces for freelancers with specific skills. We’ll also dive into the main pros and cons of each.
General freelance marketplaces
We’ll start this list of alternatives with online marketplaces that are similar to Upwork and Fiverr (meaning you can find pretty any service you need).
Freelancer is by no means a less famous alternative, as it’s been around since 2009 and today boasts a whopping 50 million users. It’s been used by some huge players such as Amazon, Facebook and Deloitte.
It’s a great place to find all sorts of professional services related to digital marketing, web design and development, but also freelance legal professionals (which can be a great way to save up on smaller legal tasks).
When it comes to service fees, Freelancer is free for freelancers to join, but they are required to pay a commission of 10% or $5.00 USD (whichever is greater) for fixed projects and 10% for hourly projects.
Those hiring freelancers on this platform are required to pay a fee of 3% or $3.00 USD (whichever is greater) for individual projects.
- Huge marketplace with lots of freelancers and employers
- An application that tracks working hours
- High commission fees
- Can be difficult to get jobs as a beginner
Toptal boasts a rigorous vetting process, with only the top 3% of freelancers being allowed to join the platform. So while you might have fewer options with this platform, it’s a good choice for anyone who doesn’t want to dedicate too much time researching the best freelancers.
The services available on Toptal are slightly more limited than some of the other options. Toptal allows you to hire freelancers in these industries: development, design, finance, product managers and project managers.
Toptal has a slightly different payment system than sites like Fiverr, Upwork and Freelancer. You’re required to pay a deposit of $500 before you make your first hire; after you decide on the freelance job and the person to do it, you can make payments using this money. If you decide to back out at any point, you’ll get the full refund of all or the remaining funds.
Thanks to the vetting process, Toptal is free for freelancers to join, however, it also seems to charge very high commissions (sometimes as high as 100%). For this reason, you might find that freelancers’ rates are on the higher end with this platform, but nonetheless, they are all very qualified.
- High-quality professionals
- A smaller area of specialized fields
- Very high commission, meaning freelancers’ rates are usually also heftier
- Difficult to get in, if you have little experience
Twine is a younger freelance marketplace, founded in 2013. They connect employers with creatives from the world of graphic design, digital marketing and web development.
Twine offers two pricing options for freelancers: free (which offers more limited access to jobs and pitches), and a pro subscription ($7.49 per month billed annually). Pro members also don’t pay any additional transaction fees, so it can be a great option for professionals looking to switch to freelancing full time.
Clients are required to pay a deposit before they can order a project, and the money is held by Twine until the final delivery has been completed.
- Good for finding creative professionals
- Affordable subscription plan for freelancers to avoid transaction fees
- Fairly young platform, so it might not have as many clients as some of the other ones
Although Guru is a general freelance marketplace, the areas in which it is probably best known are content creation, translation and copywriting.
Guru has a rather comprehensive pricing plan for freelancers, ranging from free to $50 per month. The pricing corresponds to the number of bids on a monthly and annual level, transaction fees (higher with lower plans) and amount of boost credit (Guru allows freelancers to boost their profiles in order to rank higher than other freelancers).
Guru is completely free for employers to post unlimited jobs, however, there is a 2.9% transaction fee charged with each payment. However, there is a way to avoid the fee, by using eCheck.
Guru is definitely not the most popular platform for finding graphic designers and developers, but thanks to the low fees, it could be a great option for starting your search with some of the previously mentioned areas.
- Totally free to post and search for jobs
- Comprehensive pricing plan to fit individual needs
- Limited choice for areas like graphic design and development
This website is a great Fiverr alternative, in the sense that it’s very easy to sign up, and there’s quite a range of hourly rates that people charge on there (and some are on a surprisingly low scale, for as little as $5 or even $2 per hour).
This means that for employers it can be a place to find inexpensive workers, but freelancers might not always get paid what they deserve (or will miss out on opportunities because there are people charging less). Nevertheless, the platform has thousands of skilled professionals, so it’s definitely a good place to start your search.
It also provides opportunities for full-time work, so it’s a good solution for those wanting to make long-term connections. Also, it’s totally free!
- You can post/find full-time work as well as one-off gigs
- Free (no commission or admin fees)
- Hourly rates can be quite low
- No significant vetting process
Optimizing your website with SEO-friendly content is a great way to boost organic traffic, and ultimately get more leads and conversions.
If you’re not ready to make the commitment with a full-time employee, SEO Clerks is a great place to find all sorts of experts, from content writers to programmers, and social media admins.
The freelancers are split into several levels and provide different aspects of the service, such as guarantees, video content and offers on sale. It’s also similar to Fiverr in the sense that the prices range from a few dollars to a few hundred.
- Specialized marketplace for digital marketing specialists
- Range of services and options
- No vetting process at all, high risk of scams
Credo is a specialized platform for finding digital marketing specialists, such as content writers, PPC and SEO experts, social media managers and more. Credo has a level system by which freelancers are vetted, so it’s very easy to find the person with the desired experience level.
The idea behind Credo is to connect businesses with people who will actually help them boost their marketing efforts (and likely to create long-standing relationships). That’s why the whole process of finding a freelancer on Credo is a little more personal: you’ll get to discuss your needs with one of the team members via phone and create a project scope. As an employer, you don’t pay any extra charges to Credo.
As a freelancer, it can be a little more challenging to get onto this platform, due to their rigorous, but transparent vetting process. But once you do get it, it can mean better-fitting opportunities and more regular work. It’s also open to agencies to join their network, not just individual consultants. Of course, the same vetting process applies.
- Great vetting process
- It can be expensive
Where to outsource graphic design
As a graphic design service, we’ve done our fair share of research when it comes to finding the best ways to outsource graphic design. So, if you’re looking for skilled freelancers in this particular field, here are a few top places to scout talents.
If you want to hire a designer, you absolutely must see their portfolio. Setting a trial project is fine, but often these are small-scale projects that don’t show you the full extent of a designer’s abilities.
Dribbble is a portfolio platform, specifically for graphic designers. Thanks to its user-friendly layout it’s a delight to browse, but since projects only appear as visual snippets, it might require a little more research to see the full scope of their projects. For the same reason, however, this is an ideal platform for logo designers.
A word of caution: not everyone on Dribbble will be open for work. Sometimes the designers are already full-time employees somewhere else and only use Dribbble to store and showcase their work for future purposes. As a portfolio platform, Dirbbble doesn’t offer the full scope of services for hiring, so after initial contact, you’ll need to agree on a certain framework for tracking work, deliverables, payment, etc. However, designers can subscribe to one of** Dribbble’s paid plans**, which allows them to sell artwork through this platform.
You can post freelance opportunities on Dribbble, however, candidates won’t apply through the platform, rather you need to include an application link in the job description.
- A large pool of talented designers
- You can sell designs directly through the platform
- You need additional software for managing freelancers/hiring
Behance is very similar to Dribbble (it’s another portfolio platform), but offers a much wider range of design projects, from interior design to web design and photography.
Behance also allows you to post jobs and allows candidates to apply directly through the platform. Again, the management of the project itself is up to you, but when it comes to having a range of options, few platforms can compete with Behance’s huge community of designers.
- Different types of designers
- A vast range of projects showcased
- You can post jobs and use multiple search filters such as location, school or creative field for finding freelancers
- It can be difficult to get discovered on Behance, but you can always apply to jobs directly.
We often like to say that with an unlimited design service like ManyPixels you get the best of both worlds: the diversity and affordability of working with freelancers, together with the reliability of a professional design service.
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We have dozens of talented designers on our team and for each request you submit, we will assign the person with the most suitable skills and experience. From business reports to logo design, we have an expert for each task, and dedicated project managers that will make sure everything is running smoothly, and all the designs are delivered timely (our turnaround for most projects is just 1-2 business days).
And the best part is that you pay the same flat rate every month, no matter how many designs or revisions you request!
- Specialized designer for each project
- Fast turnaround
- Project managers that assist with the design process
- If you just need a one-off project, it might be more expensive than hiring a freelancer.
11. 99 Designs
99 Designs is a unique creative market, which connects designers and employees. There are two ways to get design done through the platform. You can browse and search through their community of designers and approach them with your request directly. Or, you can start a design contest and get submissions from different designers. You can choose one to pay for or simply get your money back.
Freelancers can join for free, but there are commission fees to pay for each project. When you first start working with a client, you have to pay a fixed price of $100 as an introduction fee (which is deducted from your client’s first $500 in payments).
- You can hire a designer or start a design contest
- Professional designers
- Slightly higher rates than on more general marketplaces