Top 10 Freelance Markeplaces For Hiring Web Designers And Developers

Written by_Sajib ( Follow me-

Great web designers and developers are very hard to find. While it’s advantageous to work with local developers and be able to meet in person to discuss a project, it’s not always possible. It’s my opinion that your developer’s skill sets should match what the project demands. That is, if your project is to be created using Ruby on Rails (RoR) then you need to hire someone whose expertise is in RoR. This seems like a no-brainer but its often very tempting to go with a less experienced programmer to save money. Ultimately however, it will likely cost you more in the end because it will take the less experienced developer longer to complete the project. In addition, it’s very possible there will be more post-project problems resulting from their lack of expertise.

If you can’t find someone locally to develop your project, there are several freelance marketplace websites that you can use to find the right person for the job. These websites act as a directory for service providers that permit you to research and review the developers and post your project to receive competitive bids for it. Many of these websites have thousands of developers/companies to choose from and offer lots of great features and benefits to boot.

Most of these freelance sites allow you to post your project for free or for a minimal fee (~$5) that’s refunded to you after the project is contracted and/or completed. They also provide upgrade options for your project posts (i.e. features project, etc.) that aim to help increase the visibility of your project and generate more interest/bids for you.  After your project has been completed by the contracted developer, you will be given the opportunity to write a review of your developer’s work and your overall experience with them.  Keep in mind however that the developer will provide a review of his/her experience while working with you as well.  Thus it is in both of your best interests to maintain a good working relationship throughout the life of the project to ensure that your reputations are in good standing afterwards.

Lately I have been using freelance sites almost exclusively in place of local providers.  It’s not because I can save more money going this route, but rather I believe they provide an extra layer of protection for me and it enforces accountability of the developer.  I’ve been burned before when promised deliverables by certain dates that later turned into delay after delay after delay.  My only recourse was to find another provider without the ability to help prevent the same thing from happening to the next guy that hires them.  There has to be some sense of accountability for poor performance and poor business practices and that’s why, among several other reasons, I prefer using services like these.  Obviously any system can be gamed, but if a developer has a proven track record with shining reviews from several different buyers, then I’ll take that over their own word any day of the week.

Benefits For Using Freelance Marketplace Sites:

  • It’s much easier than shopping around locally or requesting bids one at a time
  • You can reach a greater number of experienced providers
  • Receive more competitive bids for a project
  • They provide a sense of accountability for a company/developer (via reviews, on-site reputation, etc.)
  • Their support teams offer conflict resolution help in case a dispute arises between the buyer and the provider/developer
  • Escrow services help protect you from financial loss and/or fraud

Elance – This is my favorite because it offers lots of great features, it’s designed very well, and their customer support is very good and can be reached by phone. I’ve used this for a few small projects and have had great success with it.  Each buyer and worker is given a profile for which you have access and review.  Profiles for workers include past projects and feedback from buyers, their recent working activity, earned revenue, a programming language skill list, the company’s/worker’s payment terms, contact information, and violation reporting.  This is not just a directory of developers, it goes far beyond that and actually provides tools that help facilitate the successful transfer of payment for deliverables.

Elance screenshot

oDesk – While I haven’t used Odesk personally, the site has a nice feel and the advanced search abilities make finding service providers easy.  oDesk offers up similar features such as developer ratings, logged working hours, past projects, and more.

oDesk screenshot

GetAFreelancer – It isn’t as pretty as the others but it gets the job done.  I’ve noticed that I usually get a lot more inquiries and bids on a certain projects using GAF.  It’s probably the quickest and simplest way to get your project posted and start taking bids.

GetAFreelancer screenshot

RentACoder – Offers lots of informational and instructional help while your creating your post for the project at hand and forging your contract/agreement for your future provider.  The design isn’t as slick and easy to navigate as Elance or Guru but it’s search works well and it is usually pretty easy to quickly find a provider for your project.

RentACoder screenshot

Guru – Very nice site with lots of U.S. based companies and developers to choose from.  The refined search really sucks though.  Every time I try to refine a search to find experienced developers via ‘Member for at least:’ or ‘Signed in within the last:’ it freezes for about 1 minute and then yields: “Error it looks like our server is busy.  Please wait a moment and try again”.  I’ve tried this multiple instances at different times during different days without any success.  I don’t know if it’s just a browser thing or what but it’s ridiculous because it totally prevents me from using the service.  If I can’t even search for a provider, what is there left to do?  I really don’t think its a browser issue because I just tried both Firefox 3 and IE 7 and got the same result.

Guru screenshot

ScriptLance – I am not a fan of Scriptlance for one single reason; they require you to provide them with a copy of photo identification, preferably a photocopy of your passport.  None of their competitors require this and I am not willing to fork over such information, especially a copy of my passport.

ScriptLance screenshot

iFreelance – This is not as well known as some of the others but it has lots of features and it is much more appealing in some aspects.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

iFreelance screenshot

SitePoint & DigitalPoint – These are traditional forum based sites that act more like classifieds ads for your needed web development work but they also allow bidding on jobs as well.  In addition, these sites host domain and website auctions and other typical web forum services.

SitePoint screenshot

DigitalPoint screenshot

Freelance Projects – This site aggregates freelance job postings from the sites listed above.  While it’s really geared towards helping freelance service providers find their next contracted project, it can also be a great resource to help you mine for the experts you need to complete your next project.  You can do this by simply using their search engine to find posted projects that are similar to what you are wanting to do or those that require the same technologies or programming language expertise that are required for your project.  Just type in the relevant keywords and phrases that relate to your project, click on one of the search results, and begin researching the list of bidders (freelance service providers) associated with that project. screenshot