Every year, the share of full-time freelancers on the market is growing. In 2014 17% of the American workforce were freelancers, in 2019 it has increased to 28%. Just imagine, every 4th employed person in the USA prefers freelancing over an office job.
Instead of building expensive new offices, companies would rather pay attention to the places where they can find the best freelancers. The chances of accidentally meeting a professional on the street or among friends are pretty low. Therefore, freelance platforms are the best place for the freelancer and client to find each other.
5 years ago, the most common places to find a job for freelancers were bidding platforms. With the development of the gig economy, new alternatives have appeared — non-bidding freelance platforms. But before listing all the benefits of the last one, let’s look at the key differences between them.
Bidding platforms VS Non-bidding platforms
a) Registration procedure
On the bidding platforms, freelancers register on the website, pass a proficiency test and verification process, after which they can bid for the orders.
Getting an account on the non-bidding platforms takes more time and has a more complicated system. Candidates register on the website, pass a language test, have a live interview with the team and after that, they have to pass a proficiency test. In addition, some platforms like Lemon.io contact previous employers to ensure the candidate is trustworthy.
b) Searching for contractors
After a client places an order with all the necessary details, the process of searching for the perfect contractor starts. On bidding platforms, freelancers name their prices on their own. It may vary sharply from one person to another. The pole of candidates can be a hundred freelancers, half of which, most probably, are either beginners or do not have the required skills.
On the non-bidding platforms, the permanent support team searches for the contractor manually, checking if they have the right experience and skills. Also, they contact the candidate to make sure that he or she is available to work on the order.
c) Selecting the freelancer
Now, out of hundreds of candidates, each with different skills, backgrounds, and prices, the client has to choose only one by reviewing all the profiles. This process is quite stressful and time-consuming for them. Clients have to make sure that the chosen candidate is professional and reliable. Making the wrong choice at this stage increases the chance to fall into a scam.
On the non-bidding platforms, once the team has found the perfect candidate, they assign this freelancer to the order. If for some reason the client is not satisfied with the team’s choice, another option will be proposed immediately. Fortunately, this is rarely necessary.
d) Future communication
Once the freelancer is assigned, the bidding platform has done its job. Usually, it serves more like a base for future interactions between the client and the contractor. In case of any misunderstandings, do not expect much help from the support team. In addition, they charge a fee for their services from both clients and freelancers.
As for non-bidding platforms, their support is more like an independent moderator between the client and the freelancer. If any problems occur, the team helps to solve it.
e) General differences
Bidding platforms have existed on the market much longer than non-bidding ones. That is why such giants as Upwork and Freelancer include thousands of profiles of specialists in different spheres.
However, this makes the process of searching for a project more complicated due to concurrency. You can find more information about Upwork alternatives and their strong and weak sides here.
On the contrary, the non-bidding platforms usually have a specialization: Lemon.io is for software and web development, ClearVoice is for content marketing, Toptal is for software development, design, finance experts, 99Designs is for graphic and web design and nDash is for content writing. On the one hand, this increases the general skill requirements for registering on the platforms. On the other hand, that allows raising the salaries for freelancers, which increases their motivation too.
Despite all the differences, these two types of platforms have both weak and strong sides. Whether you are just a beginner or an experienced freelancer, searching for new alternatives, this article will be helpful.
The BENEFITS of Non-Bidding Platforms
1) Regular work
The main benefit for you as a freelancer is that you don’t have to sell yourself to every new client. Once you pass all the tests to register on the platform, you no longer need to spend hours searching for the new projects as the platform provides you with work regularly.
2) Guarantee of the payment
Another important point is that you don’t have to stress out if the client doesn’t pay you. If you did your work, you’ll get the money from the platform anyway. They respect your work and they don’t want to lose a professional.
3) Assistance with difficult clients
In case of a misunderstanding with the client, you don’t have to waste any time on further negotiations. Your job is to finish the order on time and according to the requirements. The rest becomes the platform’s problem.
4) Direct communication with the client
After you are assigned to the order, all the interactions take place directly with the client, which makes non-bidding platforms much safer and trustworthy. Nobody is checking or controlling the content of the messages you send to each other. Moreover, you can choose the most convenient way to interact. If it is a long term project, you can communicate on any platform which will be the most convenient for both you and the client.
5) Getting loyal clients
Very often, clients are filling so comfortable to work with the specific freelancer, that they are ready to pay a buy-out fee to the platform to hire this person as the in-house employee. In case it happened to you, you can get a job offer with a much higher salary than any platform can propose to you, so you can no longer depend on anyone. However, if you prefer to keep working as a freelancer on different projects, nobody can force you to accept the offer. Also, not all the platforms (no matter bidding or non-bidding) allow this option anyway.
6) Higher profit
As you work for a fixed price or per hour, your salary will be higher when compared with freelancers from bidding platforms.
7) Earning money according to your skills
Working on the non-bidding platform saves you from competing with poorly qualified freelancers, who usually decrease the average price for the orders. You can be sure that your work will be fairly reimbursed.
The DRAWBACKS of Non-Bidding Platforms
1) Time-consuming vetting process
As the platform wants to assure that they will work only with professionals, every freelancer has to pass a multi-layered vetting procedure to prove their skills. Only the best of the best pass all the tests, which include checking your skills, previous places of work, communication skills, and even a live interview with you. In addition, you are not going to earn money from the first day as the onboarding process will take some time too.
2) Inability to negotiate the rates
For those of you who like to be more proactive and more firmly in control of your sales process, non-bidding marketplaces may seem to be less fun. You cannot win the jackpot and get an easy job to do at a very high price.
When you shouldn’t choose bidding platforms?
No doubt, bidding platforms have their benefits too, but most of them are just one side of the medal.
Compared with non-bidding platforms, this is a faster way to get started in freelancing. However, if you look at the long-term perspective, you might spend more time looking for a gig than doing the actual work.
You’ll find your client even if you do not have a rich portfolio, as the number of orders placed in the high season is tremendous. However, you can get scammed too! Most of them are looking for victims on bidding freelance platforms as they are easier to trick. Even if you think that your client has a perfect profile, it could just be a scammer.
There is a big variety of orders of all kinds, which can require almost any skill. On another side,
some clients, once you’ve done the work for them just ghost you and never send the payment. They can also claim that you’ve done a bad job. Unfortunately, the platform may not protect your interests.
In addition, you’ll have to pay commissions. For example, once you have earned the first 500 dollars with a new client on Upwork, the platform takes 20% of your earnings.
Bidding platforms were the only alternative on the market for far too long. However, they do not completely satisfy the freelancer’s needs.
Security, professionalism, and reliability are the main principles for the non-bidding platforms. Here, freelancers’ work is respected and highly valued. Here, clients can trust their businesses to professionals, who care about their reputation and success.
Therefore, if you want to start a career as a freelancer, or you’re searching for new job alternatives, don’t waste your skills, nerves and time on unreliable companies and make the right choice.