At this point, it’s no secret that online talent marketplaces have become a bit of a mixed bag. First of all, there is too much information and contradictory advice that, if you’re not careful, might send you in the wrong direction as far as hiring developers is concerned.
Some of the other platforms may offer a more direct approach, but the sole number of freelancers that sign up poses a different problem altogether. Mainly, it becomes increasingly harder to craft a good proposal, find the right fit, and start the job with clear expectations in mind (including deadlines, project quality, turnaround time, milestones, and more).
Still, there is a sizable amount of work to be done if you want to find a quality developer that would stick with your company in the long term.
In that light, here’s a list of the most prominent online marketplaces, their pros and cons, as well as the best approach to get the most out of each one.
Fiverr has a very interesting (and I’d argue, relatively novel) hiring model. Each freelancer on the platform offers “gigs” starting at $5 and up, depending on the complexity of the project.
You can pick from categories such as graphic design, writing, web development, audio talent, sales, video production, and a plethora of other services that cover pretty much everything under the sun.
Meanwhile, freelancers are setting their own packages, prices, and turnaround times as well. Fiverr is free to use both for employers and freelancers, but for each successfully completed project, the platform keeps 20% of the transaction.
How to hire on Fiverr:
- Go to the home page and select your preferred category or job type
- Scroll through the list of freelancers and pick the gig that best suits your needs
- Choose any extra options related to the gig and finalize your payment
- The freelancer will contact you directly afterward to start working on your project
- You can browse through thousands of relevant freelancers (and their respective gigs) by typing in your preferred keywords
- You can compare the packages on each freelancer’s profile
- The platform offers support if there is a problem with the order
- There is a variety of pricing options as the prices are set by the freelancers themselves
- Fiverr doesn’t release your payment until the order is completed
- You have to invest ample amounts of time to find the right freelancer and the right gig for your needs
- There are limited options for price negotiation unless you decide to go with a custom gig
- Besides leaving an unsatisfactory review, there’s not much else you can do if you’re not satisfied with the service
Bottom line: Fiverr can be a hit-and-miss, as the entirety of the experience rests on the off chance to find a freelancer that is qualified enough to complete the entirety of your project from beginning to end. That is, without any major hiccups.
It’s a good site if you have and can invest the extra time in finding a person who can get the job done.
Otherwise, the pool of freelancers is too big and diluted to find a professional capable of serious part-time or full-time commitment.
Currently, Upwork is the largest online freelance marketplace in the world, having more than 18 million freelancers in a variety of different industries and professions.
Upwork works differently compared to Fiverr. On Upwork, employers are able to post their job/project descriptions, and then the freelancers bid on the posts offering their services to the employer.
In a sense, the freelancers are the ones that compete against each other, and the employer is the one who picks the best professional for their projects.
In my personal experience working on Upwork, I’ve been on both ends of the hiring side with some mixed success over the years.
As a freelancer, I’ve been able to bid and win lots of medium to high-paying projects (in relative terms), but the competition for each one was as fierce as it gets.
As part of a hiring account, I’ve mostly had positive experiences and have found truly talented professionals who’ve gone above and beyond the job description to deliver the best service in the agreed turnaround time.
How to hire on Upwork:
- Navigate to the home page and click on “Find Talent”
- Click on “Post a job”, select your category, project length and required skills
- Pick between an “hourly rate” or “fixed budget”
- Write your job description
- Review the draft, make changes as required and post the project
- You should receive your first bids shortly after that; screen the talent and pick the professional you think it’ll be the best fit for the job
- Authority brands such as Microsoft, Airbnb and Samsung have all used Upwork to find top-notch professionals
- Upwork features 5K skills and more than 70 categories to respond to a wide range of project needs
- The workforce comes from more than 180 countries all around the globe
- It features a tried-and-tested escrow system to easily handle payments, milestones and project deliveries all within the platform itself
- There are multiple options to choose from, including free and paid job posts
- Some quality freelancers may choose other platforms because of the high commissions based on their earnings on the site
- Freelancers aren’t able to search for employers, which makes it difficult for job seekers and puts them at a disadvantage
- There are a lot of users on the site, which can be a detriment for employers who need to make a hire immediately
Bottom line: Upwork is good for people who have experience using the platform. However, in order to become the most efficient at candidate screening on the site, you’d have to spend at least 2-3 weeks learning how everything works and what to avoid as well.
Also, picking the wrong candidate for the job can end up being even more costly than hiring them through traditional means, especially concerning long-term projects.
PeoplePerHour was founded back in 2007, and it currently has more than 2M freelancers on the platform from all over the world.
The marketplace offers free access to all freelance profiles (with some exceptions), matches professionals to jobs, and handles payments.
PPH also differentiates itself from the former two platforms regarding account upgrades and additional requests. For example, it charges $34 for requesting an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and $60 for a talent scout project upgrade besides the usual fees ($20 to feature your project and $15 to post an “urgent” listing).
How to hire on PeoplePerHour:
- Click on “Sign Up” and create your account
- Create your project, choose a category and write the job description
- Choose a budget for your project
- Post your project and choose any preferred additional upgrades, including increased exposure or marking it as “urgent”
- Complete the payment to finalize your listing
- Screen the freelancers that applied to your project and choose one (or more) professionals to start working on it
- Employers have full access to detailed freelancer profiles
- All freelancers are vetted before creating a profile on the platform
- Projects can be featured for free
- Features a reliable escrow system that keeps the funds in it until both parties agree on a successful project completion
- It offers a video chat option
- There is no phone or live chat support, only email
- Some resumes are in PDF format and are downloaded immediately without any prompts
- Some users have argued that freelancers aren’t as professional and there is minimal support to resolve this issue
Bottom line: Compared to the other 4 entries on this list, PPH has the least favorable reputation out of all of them. However, it’s also one of the cheapest options pertaining to long-term projects.
However, employers should be very careful in screening potential candidates. This has been proven to be the crucial step in hiring freelancers on PeoplePerHour that can make or break your project.
Toptal is an online platform where you can find freelancers proficient in a wide range of categories, including software developers, project managers, finance professionals, and more.
The platform has a very rigorous screening process, accepting only 3% of all freelancer applications on a yearly basis.
Toptal has the priciest offers out of everyone on this list. Their hourly rates range from $60 to $250 per hour for a single professional. Additionally, employers also must make a mandatory $500 deposit that will go toward their credit for the first hire. If you don’t want to proceed with the hiring process, the deposit will be refunded to you fully.
How to hire on Toptal:
- Click on the “Hire top talent” button found on the homepage
- Choose the role that you’d like to hire for and follow the instructions by clicking “Next” after completing each prompt
- The platform will find a suitable freelancer for your project; meanwhile, a Toptal expert will connect with you to guide you through the hiring process
- Senior experts perform the candidate matching service
- There is a rigorous screening process that tests applicants with a variety of both soft and hard skill assessments
- You can choose to work with multiple candidates before choosing an expert
- The platform offers freelancers from more than 100 countries, mainly from Europe and the Americas
- You can’t use filters to search candidates
- There is no freelancer database to search through resumes in order to find the right fit
- It’s the most expensive platform to use on this list
Bottom line: Toptal has a very good reputation, but the pricing is also reflected in this fact. It’s the most expensive option compared to the other four platforms, and it requires a $500 deposit before you start with the hiring process.
That’s us! Proxify is a network of pre-vetted, elite software developers that sources top talent for clients in multiple industries, including finance, solar energy, health, games, legal, and more.
We currently work with 350+ clients across 22 different countries, and those numbers continue to grow on a daily basis.
Thanks to our extensive screening process, we only accept the top 2% of developers on the platform (out of more than 5K applications each month). This guarantees that you’ll get premium-quality developers from day one!
We offer some of the most competitive pricing, for proven talent having multiple-year, real-world experience in a variety of stacks, including:
- React Native
…and tons more!
How to hire on Proxify:
- Go to the homepage and click on “Find a developer” (top right-hand corner)
- Complete a short survey
- Our technical managers will match you with the perfect developer for your project and will get in touch with you shortly
- We offer the most competitive pricing on the market
- There is a one-week, completely free probation period to test if the developer is a good fit for your project; you only pay if you’re happy
- You will get access to the Proxify dashboard, from where you can manage your team members, review time reports, manage vacations, handle payments, and contact customer success
- We will match you with the perfect developer in a matter of days
- All the developers are extensively screened, pre-vetted and thoroughly tested to ensure that our clients are getting the best developers out there
- The client management team is always ready to address, respond to and resolve all inquiries as they arise
- We are currently looking to expand in other markets and increase our visibility across the globe
Bottom line: With the most competitive pricing on the market (up to 50% cheaper than our competitors), fast hiring time, and tons of features once you join the network, Proxify can be considered one of the top IT talent marketplaces—both for short-term and long-term software development projects.