What is a freelance marketplace and how does it work?

A freelance services marketplace is an online platform where businesses can find and hire individual contractors to do some work remotely. Websites like Upwork (previously known as Elance) are very popular among digital businesses. They act as an intermediary providing a safe and convenient way to contract remote experts for one-time projects.

As a customer, you can use a platform to look for freelancers and agencies that deliver a wide range of services, such as design, marketing, copywriting, and software development. Upwork uses big data algorithms to analyze a job you’ve posted and offers you a selection of likely candidates before you hit the Search button.

For service providers, Upwork algorithms offer matching jobs based on their profiles. Freelancers and agencies can also search for projects and respond to client invitations. As the number of successfully completed projects increases, so do the chances of service providers to attract more clients.

Online freelance marketplaces can vary depending on the type of work (one-time projects with fixed rates or ongoing hourly projects), services provided (engineering, design, copywriting, etc.), engagement models, geographical preferences, and so on.

Some alternative examples to Upwork are:

  • Freelancer.com
  • Toptal
  • Guru
  • PeoplePerHour
  • Fiverr
  • CloudPeeps
  • 99designs (a freelance online platform for web designers)