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Table Of Contents  The Online Freelancing Guide
 >  An Analysis and Review of Popular Online Freelancing Marketplace Sites

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vWorker - Freelancer Community Characteristics
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Report Card for the Big Five Online Freelance Marketplace Sites
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Cost Comparison for the Big Five Online Freelance Marketplace Sites
(Page 5 of 5)

Results

And now, without further ado, here’s how the sites compare for the various scenarios. The percentages in Table 8 reflect the total cost as a percentage of monthly billings for each of the sites in each of the four scenarios. The same information is shown graphically in Figure 15.


Table 8: Freelance Marketplace Fee Comparison by Scenario

Scenario

Beginner

Interme­diate

Estab­lished

Advanced

Elance

12.1%

13.5%

11.7%

10.8%

Freelancer.com

11.0%

7.2%

4.5%

3.5%

Guru

15.0%

12.3%

11.6%

10.7%

oDesk

15.7%

15.2%

15.1%

15.0%

vWorker

16.3%

15.1%

14.6%

14.2%



Figure 15: Freelance Marketplace Fee Comparison by Scenario

Freelancer.com has substantially lower fees than the other four “Big Five” sites, which are all pretty close to each other. At higher activity levels, the sites that emphasize transaction fees become relatively more expensive than those that balance percentage and fixed fees.

 


A few obvious conclusions I draw from this data:

  • Freelancer.com really is in a class by itself when it comes to fees. It is a little cheaper for a beginner, and then its incredibly low transaction fees for gold members (3%) cause it to pull away from the pack.

  • Aside from Freelancer.com, the other sites are surprisingly close to each other when all is considered.

  • The two sites that base all or most of their fees on transaction costs, oDesk and vWorker, seem like a better deal to freelancers because they don’t hit them up for membership fees and other charges. But when you add everything up, they are actually more expensive, even at the Beginner level. And the gap between them and the sites with lower transaction fees only grows as the work volume increases.

  • obviously don’t change much in percentage cost terms as volume increases (vWorker drops a bit due to a higher percentage of repeat work, which receives a discount).

  • Elance is the best of the sites other than Freelancer.com for low-volume work using a free account. However, notice the unusual spike at the Intermediate level: this is consistent with the many complaints about fees that Elance receives by smaller individual freelancers who use the site.

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