Whether you need a website fix or client research, the freelance job sites are full of people waiting to help. Here are 5 ways to use them to get the result you want.
#1 Buy a pre-defined task
The first way to do this is when freelancer offers a job for sale at a fixed price and you buy it then and there. It’s usually fairly fixed, though the more expensive the job, the more customisation you can expect. Low-cost Fiverr is based almost exclusively on low-cost, quick turnaround jobs like this, and it’s a mainstay of PeoplePerHour.
It can be a good way of trying a service out, and of getting to know how a site works. Some freelancers will use it as a way of offering something at a lower price than they’d normally charge in the hope that it leads to further work.
#2 Buy hours of work
You agree a fixed number of hours from a freelancer to do a particular task. This is a good way of evaluating different freelancers on a small task before selecting one for a more extensive work, particularly where the job isn’t closely defined. Elance offers a screen snapshot service so you can see what the freelancer is working on during the time you’re paying them.
#3 Post a job for everyone to see
If you know what you want you can post a job, listing what you need doing, the fixed price or hourly rate you’re willing to pay, and any other requirements. Freelancers then submit proposals to you. The key to making this work is being as specific as possible about what you want. It’s also important to remember that for lower price jobs, it may not be worth someone investing a lot of time in sending a thorough proposal, particularly when they guess that dozens of others will be doing the same thing. Although it’s great if you do get very specific proposals back, it’s often worth looking at someone’s profile and, if you’re seriously interested, asking them for more information.
#4 Post a job and invite people to make a proposal
It can be more effective to research freelancers whose work you like, or with good recommendations, and approach them directly. You can do this by posting a job but making it open only to people you invite to apply. That way you’re more likely to be taken seriously.
#5 Choose other freelancers, but ask them to work through a freelance site
If you’ve found a freelancer you like, but they don’t work through any of the jobs site, you might be able to ask them to join it. It means that you use the site to track the work, and you both get the protection of payment and work guarantees, rather than having to set up your own contract. Be aware that freelancers have to pay fees to all the sites, so you may need to negotiate who pays it.