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Please note that only the services/plans that are available for free (no monthly membership fees) have been reviewed in this article.

UpWork

Bids per Month30 Free bids per month

Fees

20% (plus VAT calculated only for the 20% service fee) for the first $500 you bill a client across all contracts with them
10% (plus VAT calculated only for the 10% service fee) for total billings with a client between $500.01 and $10,000
5% (plus VAT calculated only for the 5% service fee) for total billings with a client that exceed $10,000

Let’s get something clear from the beginning, I love UpWork! I started my freelance career on UpWork. I found the best clients I’ve worked with to date on UpWork, and I continue to land awesome new jobs on this platform.

Based on my experience with all major freelance platforms, I can confidently state that the highest paying jobs can be found on UpWork. Many big corporations and high-funded startups use this platform.

UpWork’s marketplace/job feed is very intuitive and user-friendly, security is on a very high level, the messaging system is awesome… The only thing that I don’t like is the long funds-release period. For example, you can withdraw the amount you have earned after two weeks for hourly contracts, and one week for fixed price jobs. You can withdraw your money directly to Local Bank, via ACH direct deposit, wire transfer, PayPal, Payoneer, and M-Pesa. Please note that you can start using a newly added payment method only after the 3-days security period has passed. Detailed reports, certificate of earnings, and statistical data are also accessible through your account dashboard.

UpWork’s customer support responds in several hours.
These guys provide a feature-rich time tracking app so that you can easily track your hourly contracts. You can also communicate with your clients directly through the app.

UpWork’s community is very helpful, and you can get your questions answered in less than one hour in the community forums.

 

PeoplePerHour

Bids per Month – 15 Free bids per month

Fees
20% Service Fee for the first £500 | €600 | $650 earned within the month
5% Service Fee after the first £500 | €600 | $650

PeoplePerHour is being used primarily by clients from The United Kingdom, which is really not a bad thing. I’ve worked with many trustworthy clients on this platform. The projects’ budgets are adequate. Security is on a good level. Competition is at normal levels. You will find many web design jobs on this platform.

Freelancers on this platform are being evaluated both based on feedback score and the number and the scope of the projects that they complete per month (performance based cert rating).

PPH’s customer support responds in about one hour.

You can withdraw your earnings via PayPal, Payoneer, ACH deposit (Only for USA), and wire transfer. Funds are being released and can be transferred almost immediately after the client approves and pays your invoice.

 

Guru

Bids per Month – 10 Free bids per 30 days

Fees

8.95% flat fee

Guru is several times smaller than UpWork. You will find less jobs there, and you will be able to apply to only 10 jobs per month. The good thing is that the competition dynamics are also lower, i.e. there are fewer active freelancer bidding for projects. The $2 per hour spammers haven’t attacked this platform yet.

The bare-bone design of this platform contributes to the overall smoothness of its user interface. Everything is very intuitive and easy to use.

You can withdraw your earnings via direct deposit, PayPal, Prepaid MasterCard, and wire transfer. Payment processing time varies from immediate to five business days based on the chosen withdrawal method.

Guru’s customer support responds in less than one hour.

Bottomline, it’s not a bad platform, however, things tend to get boring from time to time. You refresh for new jobs over and over again, only to see the same job feed entries. Well, new jobs come in eventually, but due to the overall lack of traffic, I cannot recommend Guru as a main freelance platform. I personally use two of the other platforms listed in this article as main platforms and check Guru’s job feed only once or twice per day.

 

Freelancer

Bids per Month – 8 Free bids per month + daily promo free bids

Fees

The fee for fixed price projects is 10% or $5.00 USD, whichever is greater, and 10% for hourly projects.

Freelancer is a very, very overcrowded platform. What makes the freelancer’s experience even worse is the fact that 90% of the other freelancers are bidding at unbelievably low rates. In spite of that, I find the platform very interesting. You get experience points for the tasks performed on the site and you can exchange these points for skill tests, bids, etc.. It looks and feels almost like a game.

You will find many jobs on this platform, but once again please be aware that the competition is fierce. Many people claiming expertise in almost every online sphere, offering services at rates that simply don’t make sense.

Freelancer’s customer support responds in a couple of hours.

You can withdraw your earnings via bank account transfer, wire transfer ($500 min.), PayPal, Skrill (not available for transfers in USD), and Payoneer.