Freelancer.com is frequently the target of complaints. If you really want to read what the naysayers have written, just Google
is freelancer.com a scam?
I also have read many positive reviews. My own experience is mostly positive. Motivated by what I consider to be the vast potential of this site, I took the time to figure out how to deal with the negative aspects of the site.
Problem: Browsing projects on the website is already cumbersome. Wading through the garbage to find gems is time-consuming. From spammers to lazy students to outright fraudsters, there is no shortage of bogus project listings.
My solution: I set up a feed reader to monitor relevant feeds from this freelancer.com feed list.
After the feeds began sending project announcements, I added filters to the feed reader. These filters are supposed to prevent listings from appearing. They’re not perfect, but I spend much less time keeping up with the latest projects.
Limited Proposal Capabilities
Problem: Compared to other freelance sites, Freelancer.com’s support for proposals is anemic. I can’t attach my detailed proposal document, I can’t link to my portfolio and I can’t share images from similar projects in order to enhance my bid.
Ironically, most of these are available in my Freelancer.com profile but, first impressions shouldn’t require extra work on the part of the prospective employer.
My solution: I did the best that I could to make my profile stand out, just in case the employer does check. Beyond that, I use good old-fashioned copywriting to piqué interest.
If the employer does initiate contact, I can then freely send attachments, but I still am not allowed to link to anything that may give the employer a way to contact me directly.
Winning a Project Can Be Costly!
Problem: Frankly, this is my biggest gripe about Freelancer.com. As soon as I accept a project, 10% of the total value is deducted from my account!
My solution: I have to make sure that the employer funds the project. Other than keeping a bit of a reserve in my Freelancer.com cash account, there is nothing I can do to mitigate the hit.
Freelancer.com has changed its membership offerings, again. As of May 1, 2016, all fees are 10% pre-paid, except for members in the Preferred Freelancer Program who accept Recruiter projects. The fee is 15% and is not charged until the employer pays.
Like anything else, you get out of Freelancer.com what you put in. If you work hard at it, you will get out more than you put in. Don’t worry about competition, lowball bidders or scammers. Be aware of them and move on. I’ve met many wonderful professionals on Freelancer.com!