I have been a freelancer for three years more or less with accounts in Odesk, Freelancer, Elance, Guru, and other writing platforms such as Greenlight Articles and iWriter. Although I’m not active in some of these platforms I normally visit all of them to check on my account (Wishing I’d see some $$ in my account lol).
Freelancer is one platform in particular where I have an account but with no feedback as of yet. When I experienced a downtime with some of my clients and with Odesk, I checked Freelancer. Anyway, I received an email from its country manager some time ago so I said maybe it’s time to bid on some jobs there.
Surprise, Surprise From Freelancer.com
When I logged into my account, I was surprised to learn that I could no longer bid on the jobs being offered until I pass their exams. So off to the exams page I went to take the exams recommended to me. To my surprise, I have to pay $5 for the exam that I have to take! Whoaa, I blurted.
They want to make money from me now I said to myself. A little more checking and I learned that I have to pay each time I take an exam so that is $5 per exam that I take and if I flunk the exam, I have to pay $5 again? Sheeez!
Freelancer.com Charges You 10% For Every Job Whether Completed Or Not
After finding out that Freelancer.com apply charges for me to take their exams, I became suspicious and went to read more about their terms as well as reviews of other people posted in websites and blogs. I learned that when I finally get a contract with an employer, they will automatically charge my account 10% of the amount representing the total contract price.
Since Freelancer.com will charge you 10% for every project if you have basic membership, it follows that you must maintain a cash balance with them, so you have to give your credit card number or Paypal account where they will draw the money. This 10% is charged even before you start working on the job and whether or not the job is completed successfully.
If the job does not push through, I cannot refund the 10% charge anymore. This already sounds like a scam to me but if you think it is still pretty normal then read on.
You Also Have To Pay For Membership Upgrade
Contractors like me can start off with a free member account but the 10% charge is something that is discouraging and the restrictions are crippling so Freelancer.com is also offering membership upgrade for a fee.
With a membership upgrade, the charges can go down and the number of allowable bids can be increased among other so-called perks. But the amount of money required in maintaining an upgraded membership is also prohibitive for freelancers like me in particular. Just look at the following membership plans and fees.
- Free member = lots of restrictions
- Basic member= $4.95 per month
- Plus member = $9.95 per month
- Standard member = $24.95 per month
- Premium member = $49.95 per month
Just looking at the monthly fees especially the premium membership, it follows that you have to be an agency with many freelancers in your team to do the job that you can get from Freelancer.com. As a contractor who does the job alone, I cannot afford to pay even $29.95 per month just to get a job from Freelancer.
When I look at the job offers there, I can also see lots of trash offers from employers such as $1 for 300 words article so what is the advantage to me? It is also the same method as other platforms such as Odesk and Elance where you have to bid on job offers so no advantage whatsoever. It would have been an equalizer if Feelancer.com can guarantee you a job without bidding but this is not the case.
I have several complaints about Odesk but by far, it has more legitimate approach as compared to Freelancer.com. I would not categorize Freelancer.com as a scam site for online freelancers but even though they appear legit as of now, I would advise as many freelancers as I can to stay away from this site. Spread the word.