March 13, 2009
In the first corner, weighing in with no membership fees, an abundance of freelancing jobs and insane competition, are the free freelance bidding sites. In the other corner - we have the challenger, weighing in with monthly membership fees, freelancing jobs that are limited in numbers but of higher quality - we have paid freelance bidding sites.
If you aren’t aware, the term “freelance bidding site” is used to describe an auction-style community that connects buyers with contract workers. Business owners and individuals who need assistance with their projects will post the details of what they need to the website, and then freelancers can “bid” to perform the work.
There are advantages and disadvantages of each type of freelance bidding site – here is what you should know if you are considering using these sites to market yourself as a freelancer:
Free Freelance Bidding Sites
Free bidding sites for freelancers make it possible for you to place bids on projects you could complete without paying for a membership fee or per-bid fee. That doesn’t mean it’s 100% free, however. Some sites take commission if you are awarded the work; but paying a percentage of your project fee after you get the work is typically better than paying a flat rate all month without a guarantee of getting the project, right?
There are a couple of disadvantages of using free freelance bidding sites. First, because it is free to create an account and free to place bids on work, the number of people you are competing against is much higher than a freelance bidding site that you have to pay to bid or be a member of.
Secondly, these sites tend to offer the lowest paying freelance jobs. It’s quantity over quality in most cases on the free sites.
Since most of the free-to-bid sites also are free for the buyers to post projects, there are a ton of jobs that are posted that don’t ever get awarded. Freelancers are bidding for the work, giving samples, etc – and it turns out that no one is ever selected, which can be frustrating and seen as a waste of time.
On the positive side of free freelance bidding sites though, you can easily get your feet wet on a free site without risk. You can bid on as many jobs as you think you can handle, get some experience applying and putting your best foot forward, and hopefully land a job or two to build up your client references and testimonials.
Paid Freelance Bidding Sites
There are a number of freelance bidding sites that charge a membership fee for freelancers who want to place bids and apply for work posted on the site. While it may seem like an expense you don’t want to deal with, you might find it to be worthwhile. Jobs posted on paid freelance bidding sites tend to be of better quality (pay more money) than those posted on free bidding sites. You’ll have less competition since only serious freelancers will pay a membership fee or pay per-bid to find work.
Some of the paid bidding sites have options for free bids as well, but typically the advantage will be given to those who are paid members of the site in some way or another.
Examples of paid bidding sites include: