The best websites to hire freelancers from make it easy to find just-in-time gig workers who can complete important assignments — from creating a logo to large projects like building a mobile app. We looked at six of the best freelance websites with affordable pricing and great features to help you find, hire, and manage freelancers.
Top 6 Best Freelance Websites for 2019
|Freelance Website||Best For|
|(Best Overall) Businesses that want top-rated freelancers from a top rated site.|
|Companies that need small jobs done for as low as $5 a gig.|
|Businesses that prefer access to a broad array of freelancers worldwide.|
|Firms that want to work with an established freelance platform that garners freelancer loyalty.|
|Employers that want a website where the gig worker pays the freelance fee.|
|Tech companies that don’t mind paying extra for vetted freelance talent.|
How We Evaluated the Best Websites to Hire Freelancers
Many of the best websites to hire freelancers on will allow you to post jobs for contract workers to bid on. However, we wanted to present only those sites that let you find and hire vetted freelancers as well as provide a means to ensure you’re not wasting your money, such as an escrow account and a dispute resolution process. We avoided sites that have a tendency to attract scammers and focused instead on freelance websites with a strong reputation for solid talent.
We used the following criteria to find the best freelance websites for small business:
- Cost: We chose sites that are affordable with standard freelancer transaction fees ranging from 1-5% of what the gig worker charges for the job being done.
- Ease of Use: We selected top-rated sites that make it easy to set up an account, find a freelancer worker, and process payments online.
- Broad Range of Skills: We omitted freelance sites targeting specific industries such as web development in exchange for sites that offered a broad range of freelance talent.
- Freelancer Rating System Capabilities: We selected freelance sites that allow prior clients to rate gig workers so that you might have a preview of each contractor’s work quality.
- Escrow Payment Processing: We ensured the sites we choose have a way for you to protect your investment, such as an escrow payment system based on deliverables.
- Project Tracking & Communication Tools: The best sites provide document sharing, communication, and project tracking tools to keep you and your gig worker in sync.
- Dispute Resolution: Most of these sites provide a means to address disputes, such as a project not completed to specifications, or deliverables not being provided.
Of all the freelance websites we reviewed, we recommend (and personally use) Upwork as our top pick. We love the Upwork Plus plan that costs just $49/month and allows employers to only see highly qualified freelancers. Post a project on Upwork.
Upwork: Best Overall Website to Hire Freelancers for Small Businesses
Upwork is great for any small business. It’s an easy to use website that provides freelancers of all types. It currently has 10 million registered freelancers and allows employers to rate the quality of each freelancer’s work, which helps you determine which independent contract worker might be best for your next project. In addition, Upwork has more consistently positive online reviews than Freelancer or Guru.
It is free to register on Upwork as an employer, and you pay freelancers based on rates you negotiate when you post a job. Once a job is completed, Upwork charges business clients a 2.75% transaction fee on each invoice — lower than most other freelance websites.
If you need more features, such as assistance sourcing talent, Upwork provides additional pricing tiers that range from $49.99 to $499 per month and includes dedicated account management and reports. It also offers an Enterprise option that gives you contracting and onboarding features, but it requires a custom quote.
|Verified freelancers and premium customer support|
|Reporting and tracking|
|Invoicing and billing|
Upwork was the result of a merger between oDesk and eLance; you may already be aware of its services, even if the name is new. What we especially like about Upwork are the upgrade options available with the Plus and Business accounts. We recommend these if you hire freelancers frequently — because they eliminate the No. 1 problem with other freelance websites — sifting through less-than-qualified freelancers.
With Upwork, you can post jobs as either an hourly or a fixed-price project:
- Hourly: You offer to pay a freelancer on an hourly basis. Hourly jobs are billed to you weekly based on the freelancer’s time log. For example, you might pay a freelancer for 10 hours of bookkeeping.
- Fixed Price Project: A fixed priced project is more like a contract where you pay your freelancer based on the completion of the project, or project milestones. For example, you might offer a freelancer $500 to add an ecommerce section to your website.
Hiring a Freelancer on Upwork
You can browse and find freelancers using basic search functions by choosing the “Find Freelancers” option from the Upwork website. We recommend choosing a freelancer based on their job success rating.
However, Upwork Plus and Business tiers work like a talent agency. They hand-pick vetted professionals for your job — individuals with 10+ years of work history and great reviews. Upwork interviews them via video to ensure they’re a good fit for your project. This saves you time and avoids you having to deal with inexperienced or misleading freelancers who might bid on your project.
Once you choose to “Post a Job” on Upwork, you will receive a list of freelancers that match your job details. You can select a freelancer and set up a project. If you pay by the hour, Upwork provides a time tracker tool to keep track of your freelancer’s work hours. Otherwise, you will set up your project with a deposit placed into an escrow account.
Your escrow account funds are held until each project milestone is complete. Once a milestone is completed and approved, funds are released to the freelancer. For example, if you hire a freelancer to build your website for $2000, you may pay 25%, or $500, once they set up the server and domain name. Then perhaps you’d release another 25% of the payment after the logo and theme are uploaded and visible on your website.
Upwork provides a free mobile app that lets you stay in touch with your freelancer using text chat or video. In addition, you’ll be able to send/receive documents in a secure environment. For convenience, freelance contractors can use the mobile app to track their time with Upwork’s “Work Diary.” Freelancers can also use the mobile app to document milestone completion for your approval.
Upwork has the best customer service out of the top freelance websites we reviewed. You can contact them 24/7 by phone, live chat, or email. In fact, they are the only one of the freelance websites reviewed that publishes their customer service phone number online. In addition, Upwork has a robust online community with advice and tips from other users.
Upwork prefers to be contacted via email “ticket.’ On Upwork, disputes are handled in two ways based on how your work is set up:
- For hourly work: You can dispute the hours worked but not the quality of the work; however, you can terminate the freelancer if their work isn’t satisfactory.
- For fixed-price projects: You can only dispute money in the escrow account for project milestones that have not yet been approved.
What Upwork is Missing
Like other freelancer websites, scammers sometimes make their way to Upwork. Upwork does a good job of shutting down their accounts. Nonetheless, do your due diligence and research freelancer ratings before you commit your money to a project. Once a milestone is approved and paid, you cannot request a refund.
What Users Think About Upwork
Upwork earns top marks as a website to hire freelancers. What users like is how easy it is to connect and communicate with freelancers. They also like the built-in tools that help them track time worked and project milestones. As a bonus, Upwork manages gig workers’ 1099 tax forms so you don’t have to.
Fiverr: Best for Businesses Looking for Low-Cost Freelancers
Fiverr is best for businesses that have short, quick, low-cost work that needs to be done quickly. It’s a great website to find millennial freelancers and gig workers to do things like proofread your employee handbook, create giveaway packages for a trade show, add music to your company video, run a package across town, build a PowerPoint presentation, or do a little market research. Best of all, freelancer pricing starts at $5 on Fiverr.
With $5 projects, called “gigs,” Fiverr has the lowest entry point of all the freelance websites. Similar to Upwork, freelancer hourly rates are posted and often negotiable. In addition, you pay a 5% client fee, which is nearly double that charged by Upwork. However, if you order $20 or less of work, the fee is a flat $1.
Almost any kind of service you want can be found on Fiverr, from software programming to pranks. You can even hire a freelancer to give hugs to your customers or order a singing telegram from a gig worker who disguises his voice as Batman. No other site offers that!
Hiring a Freelancer on Fiverr
Once on the Fiverr website, the interface makes it easy to find someone who can do the work you need at your price point. Fiverr uses an eBay-style rating system that includes a numeric and star rating of each freelancer along with the number of clients they’ve served. Simply search for the kind of work you want to be done and then view the list of freelancers who claim to have expertise in that area.
Fiverr offers business tools that let you track your freelancers, manage active orders, view completed projects and manage your billing preferences.
Fiverr has an escrow account option like the other freelance websites. Once a buyer makes a payment (which can be done using PayPal), the money goes into an escrow account until work is completed. On Fiverr, orders must be paid for in advance.
You can get the Fiverr mobile app for Apple or Android to help you stay in touch with your freelance worker using messaging tools.
Customer Support & Dispute Resolution
Fiverr offers support through their user forum and via a request from their website ―
You can submit a dispute request directly from the Fiverr website.
What Fiverr is Missing
Low client fees are what’s missing from Fiverr. There are much better freelancer sites to use that charge only of 0-3.5% as a client fee if you’re looking to get larger projects done.
What Users Think About Fiverr
Fiverr earns solid reviews in the 4 out of 5 range on third party websites including ours. What users like is how easy it is to use the website and find freelancers. Some find it frustrating when they contact freelancers who are too booked up to help them or aren’t qualified.
Freelancer: Best Website to Hire Non-US Based Freelancers
Freelancer is best for businesses that want access to the broadest number of global freelancers. It attracts gig workers from all over the world — representing over 247 countries. So you may be able to find one outside the U.S. who can do the work you need to be done. You may also be able to negotiate lower hourly rates with workers in less robust economic environments where your dollar goes farther.
It’s free to post a job on Freelancer. In addition to paying the worker your negotiated rate, Freelancer charges a flat fee of 3% per project. That’s just a bit higher than Upwork (2.75%) and Guru (2.5%). If you want help selecting a freelancer, you can pay an extra $19 per job posting for a service that saves you time and helps match the best candidates to your job. This is similar to Upwork Plus plan at $49/month that provides a freelancer matching service.
Advanced options on Freelancer let you advertise the job for $9 or keep your project confidential for $19 (meaning it won’t be visible to website search engines).
With over 21 million freelancers on the website, Freelancer is the largest of the freelance job websites we reviewed. You can use Freelancer to post a job in one of three formats, including a contest format, which is unique to Freelancer. With a contest, like “best website logo,” you provide details on what you want and multiple freelancers submit their entry. Only the winner gets paid.
Local jobs on Freelancer are the same as what the Upwork calls an “offer” or Guru refers to as hourly. They’re “hourly” jobs.
Freelancer features three kinds of freelancer hiring options:
- Projects: Such as building a website or translating a document
- Contests: Like creating a logo or designing graphics for a package label
- Local Jobs: For example, answering phones, entering data, or running errands
Hiring a Freelancer on Freelancer
Freelancer offers contests to let you see what a freelancer can do before you sign a contract. Contests allow you to see how a freelancer completes a small assignment before you commit to hiring them for a larger assignment.
When a freelancer finishes a project, the client has the opportunity to leave a public review on their profile. This is an awesome feature because if a freelancer has gotten lots of good reviews from other people that have used them, it is likely that they will do good work for you as well.
Freelancer offers an escrow service called Milestone Payments. Similar to Upwork and Fiverr, Freelancer holds client funds until either a service/project is done, or a dispute resolution has been decided.
Like Upwork, Freelancer also has a mobile app for iOS and Android that can be used to organize projects and communicate with your contract worker via text chat.
Freelancer offers 24/7 live chat and email support and also provides online support with step-by-step guides, categorized into easy-to-find topics like “payments” or “contests.” There is no phone support.
Disputes are handled similarly on all of the websites we reviewed, but Freelancer, like Guru, makes you set up your payments using an escrow service before it will help with payment disputes.
What Freelancer is Missing
There’s no phone number to contact customer support directly and you can only dispute a project if you’ve set up an escrow account. This is different from Upwork that will help you with any dispute whether you use their escrow service or not. In addition, you can’t dispute a contest payment after selecting a winner.
What Users Think About Freelancer
Freelancer user reviews are mixed at best ― ranging from 2-5 out of 5 stars. What concerns some is that there’s no way to report bad freelancers until after you complete a project with them.
Guru: Most Established Website for Hiring Freelancers
Guru is best for businesses that want to deal with a proven vendor that’s been around a while. Due to it being the first freelancer website, many freelancers and businesses are fiercely loyal to Guru. Guru also has the lowest transaction fees of all the websites we reviewed, with the exception of Giggrabbers that doesn’t have a client fee.
On Guru, it is free to sign up and post a job. Of course, some freelancers will negotiate with you until you both agree on the price. You can advertise your job for as low as $29.95. On top of the rate you negotiate with your freelancer, there’s a 2.5% transaction fee added to the invoice.
However, Guru offers a rebate of 3.5% back to you when paying via check, e-check, or wire transfer. So if you’re not paying by credit card, you may actually earn a slight (1%) premium on each Guru transaction.
Guru has 3 million users and manages over 1 million projects. Like the other freelance websites, you can search for independent contractors for any kind of work you need doing — hourly or project based. Once you post a job, Guru will then send you a list of freelancers to choose from. Guru encourages you to use and upload a contract clarifying terms in advance.
Hiring a Freelancer on Guru
Like the other websites, Guru provides ratings of their freelancers so you can find the ones with proven track records and great feedback. Once you post a project, you’ll be sent quotes from freelancers offering to complete your work. That lets you hire freelancers who are willing and able to get the job done.
Once you register, you provide job details such a location, rate, and description of what needs to be done. You set your own rates for what you’d like to pay. Of course, some freelancers will negotiate with you until you both agree on the price. You can pay for work done by task or milestone. Or, you can also pay by the hour or set up recurring payments, such a weekly.
Guru offers an escrow account with their SafePay option and encourages you to use and upload a contract clarifying terms in advance.
Guru doesn’t yet have its own mobile app. However, you can access your account from any internet connected device.
Guru provides adequate service according to users. Support is provided 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST via email and phone. There is no live chat option.
Guru offers dispute resolution if both parties have agreed in advance to use the SafePay program, which escrows client funds while waiting for the freelancer to complete agreed-upon milestones.
What Guru is Missing
Guru’s interface isn’t as updated as some of the newer websites, they have no weekend support, and they don’t yet have a mobile app. Also, because some freelancer ratings can be removed at the request of the freelancer (if they’re a Guru subscriber), you can’t always trust that a top-rated freelancer is really that great. So do your homework, use an escrow account, and never agree to pay in advance for project work to be done.
In addition, the invoice auto pay feature pays invoices on a fixed date. Clients need to pay attention to those dates and dispute an invoice before that date if they don’t want payment taken out for work not yet completed.
What Users Think About Guru
Some users claim Guru is not very helpful with dispute resolution, even if you opt for their SafePay escrow service. Others complain that scammers game the system by sending invoices, knowing that “auto-payments” are sent from escrow to freelancers after a fixed amount of time (7/14/28 days), whether the work was completed to the employer’s satisfaction or not.
Giggrabbers: Best Site on Which Freelancers Pay the Fees
Giggrabbers is best for businesses that want to ensure their freelancers are invested in their work. The freelancers themselves pay fees of up to 10% to be on the site. It’s a newer freelance platform and, in addition to not charging any client fees, it has an option that lets business owners use crowdfunding for their projects. That’s something none of the other freelance websites offer.
Giggrabbers is free to you as the employer since the freelancer is the one who has to pay to use the service. Although Giggrabbers is one of the more expensive websites for freelancers to use (there is a 9.5 % service fee for freelancers); it’s completely free for the job poster.
However, if you want help in setting up and managing your project, including finding the right freelancer, you can pay an additional $49.95 per job, which is similar to the monthly rate for Upwork Plus but costs more than similar services on Freelancer.
Like other freelance websites, Giggrabbers lets you find freelancers either by searching for skilled workers — by keyword, category, job type, or location — or by posting a project so freelancers can find you.
Hiring a Freelancer on Giggrabbers
On Giggrabbers, like most of the other sites, you post a job and then sort through the qualified freelancers. Giggrabers also offer a contest option, but it’s limited only to web design contest, whereas Freelancer contests can be for any kind of work product or deliverable. However, Giggrabbers adds an option to help you fund your project work through crowdsourcing.
Here’s the simple three-step process to find a freelancer on Giggrabbers:
- Post a job – complete the online prompts to post your job to the website.
- Hire a freelancer – communicate, complete work, make payments all online.
- Raise funds (optional) – create a crowdfunding campaign to promote on social media.
While most of the websites have a project tracking option to view individual project stages and key dates, Giggrabbers adds a project management tool that gives you a visual look at all your projects at once.
Giggrabbers, like all the other websites, also has an escrow option to ensure payments are secure until work is completed.
Giggrabbers doesn’t yet have a mobile app, but like Guru, they offer plenty of app-building freelancers on their website.
Giggrabbers only provides support by email. There’s no phone or live chat support with Giggrabbers. They promise that their team will respond within 24 to 48 hours.
Giggrabbers provides a dispute center on which you can submit a dispute with details directly from the website.
What Giggrabbers is Missing
As a newer website, there aren’t many reviews for freelancers on Giggrabbers, so proceed at your own risk. In addition, their contests are limited to website development, whereas Freelancer allows contests of all sorts including coding, design, and graphics.
What Users Think About Giggrabbers
Giggrabbers earns 4 and 5 out of 5-star ratings, which is higher than some of the more established and larger freelance websites.
Toptal: Best Website to Hire Pre-Screened Technical Freelancers
Toptal is best for those businesses preferring to work with pre-screened talent in fields like IT, engineering and finance. Toptal vets their freelancers and then charges you by the hour for work they provide your company. In that way, they’re more like a freelancer temp agency that bills you for work its freelancers provide.
Prices for freelancers range from $60-$200 an hour based on the skills you hire for and whether the worker is full or part-time. In addition, be prepared to shell out a minimum of $500 as a deposit when you sign up with Toptal. It’s a down payment on your freelancer that you get back once you make your first hire.
Toptal Pricing Table
Toptal serves as a freelancer matching service. It pre-screens freelancers in areas of tech and engineering, selecting only the top 3%. The way it works is that you provide them with details on the work you need done and they match you with talent, allowing you to interview and select the best hire. It’s pretty similar to what you’d do if you were hiring an employee.
Hiring a Freelancer on Toptal
With Toptal, after you provide your work requirements, you will be sent a list of freelancers to interview. In fact, you get a trial period to ensure the worker matches the job. If you’re not 100% satisfied after two weeks of working with your freelancer, you won’t be charged.
You’ll be invoiced for work completed on an hourly basis. Otherwise, the freelancer will work as any other member of your project work team and can use whatever project management tools you currently use to track team progress.
There is no escrow account. Using Toptal, you are invoiced for work performed on an hourly, part-time or full-time basis.
Toptal works more like a web-based freelance recruiting company providing your business with top vetted talent. Freelancers may be added as users to your business systems and software directly. Toptal has no mobile app.
Toptal provides customer support by email, or by completing a form on their website.
Toptal gives you a two week grace period to ensure you’re 100% satisfied with your freelancer. If you’re not happy with their work, you don’t have to pay for it.
What Toptal is Missing
Toptal serves a niche audience of engineering freelancers serving IT, design and finance functions. It requires an upfront financial commitment of $500 from you in order to get started. It’s not best for quick projects like those provides on freelance websites like Fiverr.
What Users Think About Toptal
Toptal, like many premium services, earns top ratings. Users like that the talent they manage has been pre-screened, similar to working with a recruiting agency. Some complain of minor system glitches and customer service issues.
Alternatives to the Best Website to Hire Freelancers
|Best job board for companies wishing to advertise a job.|
|Businesses that want to outsource work to a virtual assistant.|
|Companies looking to hire sales team members for commission based jobs.|
|Employers that want to hire contractors using free job posts.|
|Those willing to consider part time, remote or temporary employees instead of freelancers.|
|Businesses wishing to hire vetted designers to freelance for them.|
|Companies searching for freelance academics and scientists.|
|LinkedIn users who don’t mind paying to post a job to find a freelancer.|
The best websites to hire freelancers from help you find skilled workers that can complete tasks and projects when you don’t want to hire a full-time employee. Most charge a transaction fee for their service and provide an escrow process to protect you from scams. Ultimately, when working with a freelancer, you get what you pay for. Therefore it’s best to hire top-rated freelancers from a reputable website.
If you want to dip your toe into working with a freelancer, Fiverr is a great way to start. Freelancers on Fiverr start at $5, and for any work under $20, you’ll pay only $1 in fees. You can find over 3 million services available. It’s a great way to try out working with a freelancer. Join Fiverr and start searching for free.