Freelancing Platforms

By Nadeeshani Dayarathna

In the age of technology, freelancing is an easy choice for people. Freelancers are self-employed and are not necessarily committed to a particular employer long-term. Always when entrepreneurs are first starting a new business, they tend to assign their tasks to freelancers to carry out, rather than full-time employees.

As the digital lifestyle grow with the rise of popularity, the number of freelance resources out there has increased as well. Most of the existing freelancing platforms are centralized.

Freelancer is an online global crowdsourcing marketplace where employers and freelancers can connect each other. Every user can register as either freelancer or client. Clients can post jobs with details of specific skills, cost and schedule requirements. Also they should indicate whether it is small job, large job or anything in-between and fixed price or hourly terms. After posting a project, employers can invite freelancers to submit bids, or browse relevant freelancers and make an offer. After receiving replies from freelancers they can choose best freelancers by browsing freelancers’ profiles, chatting with them and comparing proposals. Then they give project to freelancer and finally release payments according to a schedule or pay only on completion. Freelancers have to pay a 10% fee for membership.

Upwork is a global freelancing platform very similar to Freelancer. It allows employers to interview, hire and work with freelancers through the platform. Upwork announced that the service fee for freelancers will change from flat rate of 10% to a “sliding service fee” of 5% to 20%. Upwork’s payment system transfers the funds to freelancers after a 6-day period.

Toptal is an online freelancing company that provides freelance software engineers and software designers to companies. Employers can post jobs with details of whether a single freelancer or a team. Then Toptal matches requirements with freelancers and then notify employers. After selecting freelancers they can work with their jobs.

Fiverr is also a freelancing company for developers and designers. Every registered user can either freelancer or client. Users can find services by browsing the Fiverr catalog in different categories and using the search. It provides a special service called Gig which describes the services of freelancers. A Gig contains information such as a description of the service, samples of work, and the prices. To find freelancers, a client can select Gig relevant to a project and place a custom order which allows clients to connect with freelancers. Working with projects and handling payments are somewhat similar to the Freelancer and the Upwork.

Summary of comparison of above freelancing platforms can be represented as follows.

  Toptal Upwork Freelancer Fiverr
Creating Account Free Free Free Free
Account Types Two separate accounts for freelancers and clients. Select top 3% of freelancers who are applying. Two separate accounts for freelancers and clients. Every user can register as either freelancer or client. Every user can register as either freelancer or client.
Online Test Not allow Multiple skill tests Multiple skill tests Not allow
Working with projects No-risk trial Period to decide whether continue working or not Pre-fund payment for milestones Complete payment before start working Complete payment before start working
Fee for Clients Fee for Clients Initial deposit of $500 (Basic fee) 3% 2.75% Basic fee 3% 2.75% Basic fee
Fee for Freelancers Hourly rate 20%, 10%, or 5% 10% 20%

According to existing literature there is no question that most of people have discovered the benefits of freelancing.

  • You can choose your own work hours. Also you can choose with whom you work and find a place in which you work best.
  • No longer you have to work for a flat rate, no matter how large the projects.
  • Also no longer have to answer to anyone but your clients and yourself.

But there are considerable drawbacks in freelancing. Major issues are risk of not getting paid and issues in reputation management because most of the current freelancing sites are centralized systems. So considerable percentage of payments goes to system administration.

References -

  1. “Freelancer,” Freelancer, [Online]. Available:
  2. “Upwork,” Upwork, [Online]. Available:
  3. “Toptal,” Toptal, [Online]. Available:
  4. “Fiverr,” Fiverr, [Online]. Available: