FAQ: What fees do Freelancer.com charge?

29 10 2010

In the next of my post in my series of Freelancer.com Frequently Asked Questions, this time I tackle the subject of Freelancer‘s fees.  What are they? How much do you have to pay? Why are they charged?

From a buyer’s perspective, that is, a person posting a project on the site in order to find freelancers, here’s the skinny:

  • It’s free to join Freelancer.
  • It’s free to post your first project.
  • Each subsequent project you post will be charged $5, but this is a deposit that will be refunded upon selection of a provider through the Freelancer dashboard. Requiring this deposit aims to stop people from posting an ad and then recruiting outside of the Freelancer system, thereby denying Freelancer their commission fees.
  • When you select a provider, you get your $5 back, but are then charged a commission fee which is $3, or 3% of the winning bid, whichever is greater. Freelancer charge these fees as their commission for putting you in touch with freelancers and providing the system for you to communicate. It’s only fair really, they are a business themselves, after all.
  • If you purchase a Gold membership, which costs $24.95 USD per month, you don’t pay any commission. I’d recommend that you do your sums and only purchase a membership if you post a lot of projects every month and the commission is likey to be greater than the cost of the subscription.
  • There are a number of upgrades that you can purchase to make your project more or less visible – details about these can be found on the Freelancer Articles page under Fees and Charges > How much does it cost for employers?
  • Aussies! Please note that Australians have to pay an extra 10% GST on all fees.

Fees for providers (freelancers) are slightly different. Here’s a run down:

  • It’s still free to join Freelancer.com as a provider.
  • It’s free to bid on projects (although you are only allowed to make a finite number of bids. This, I believe, starts at 15 bids per month for basic members and 150 for Gold members, and increases by 1 extra bid for every month that you remain a member “in good standing”.
  • If you win a project, you are charged a commission fee of $5, or %10 of the winning bid, whichever is greater.
  • You may purchase a Gold membership for $24.95 per month. Gold members pay only a 3% commission fee when they won a project. Just as for employers, I’d only recommend purchasing a membership if the amount of commission you are likely to be charged each month is greater than the cost of the membership. In my experience, being a Gold member doesn’t make you any more likely to win a project – it’s your feedback and bid proposal that makes the difference.
  • Aussies pay an extra 10% tax on all fees :(
  • A sneaky little charge that Freelancer have disguised under “Other Miscellaneous Fees” is that if you receive money in your Freelancer account that is not directly related to a project (say for instance, you receive a tip or bonus, or you do more work for the client that the original bid amount), you will be charged an extra commission of $0.25 + 2.5% of the extra fees paid. The person sending you this money is not charged at all.

Withdrawal fees:

If at any time you wish to withdraw money from your Freelancer account, there are also fees involved here, as follows:

  • To withdraw funds from your Freelancer account to PayPal costs $1 per transaction. I have been unable to ascertain why Freelancer charges this fee or what it is for! (See my blog post on this! Helpful Sheila at her best again!)
  • To withdraw funds from Freelancer to a Moneybookers account is free, BUT Moneybookers then charge their own commission for withdrawing from them to your bank account.
  • PayPal and Moneybookers are not available in all countries, so for some freelancers, the Payoneer debit card may be your only option if you want to withdraw money from Freelancer. But be aware that there are many fees associated with this. Personally, I think it’s a bit of a rip off! You can see the fee structure here. Yes, you’ll notice that if you live in a number of African, Middle Eastern or Eastern Europen countries, it will cost you $24.95 USD to “activate” your card ($9.95 if you live elsewhere), plus it will cost another $2 each time you want to load funds onto your card, and an extra $1-3 “monthly maintenance fee” depending on how many transactions you make. If you’re unlucky enough to lose your card, it’s $12.95 for a replacement, and yet more fees if you use the card in an ATM (even if you just want to check your balance and don’t actually withdraw money from the ATM!).
  • Wire transfer – I’m a bit confused about this method of withdrawal, because when I click through it, it just tells me I can use PayPal or Payoneer. Perhaps this is for people who can’t use PayPal – anyone know?

So there you have it, Freelancer‘s fees. They can be pretty hefty, which is another reason why I urge everyone who wants to sign up for Freelancer to find out as much about it as possible first so that you can decide if it is right for you, before you discover that it’s not for you at all and complain all over the shop! If you have come across any other hidden fees and charges, please do leave a comment and let me know!

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36 responses

27 11 2010
M Zargham

Aoa
i completed my first project and after getting fund i searched for payment processes. ur article is very helpful cuz before that i was thinking to have debit card. can u suggest me how can we find professional work on internet without so much fee , commissions invloved. thanks, please reply me at my email

28 11 2010
lisaamartin

All the information is there on Freelancer, but I agree that sometimes it can be hard to find exactly what you’re looking for so I’m glad you find my blog useful! I will respond to your email address :)

7 12 2010
guzzer

i uploaded some amount from my moneybookers and webmoney to my Get A Freelancer Account but now when i am looking to withdrawal money they cancel my withdrawal request and reply me that i can only withdrawal only the that money which i got from projects only.
please tell me that i can do
can u suggest me how can we find professional work on internet without so much fee , commissions involved. thanks, please reply me at my email

28 12 2010
Warren

You missed one important fee: the “dormant account fee”.

They do not make it clear anywhere that I can find that there is such a fee but is in fact hidden in the current terms of service (although it was added some time in the last year or two without notice).

Basically, if there’s no activity on your account for a year and you have a positive balance, they charge you $10/month every month without issuing a notice or invoice by email until your account balance has reduced to $0 or less, at which time they email you telling you that your account has been suspended for having a negative balance.

It seems to be a way for them to sneakily whittle away the balance of accounts which are left in credit until there is nothing left to take.

28 12 2010
lisaamartin

Thanks, yes I had forgotten that one! It’s mentioned in the terms and conditions under clause 7.4: “User Accounts that have been inactive for more than 365 days (“Inactive Accounts”) will incur a dormant account fee of US$10 per month until either the Account is terminated or reactivated.”

15 03 2011
Tony

Yes I just got caught out on this, when I emailed to complain and say they could close my account they emailed back to say they couldn’t do that because it had a negative balance.

Basically this is a fee making scam and I would warn anyone away from a business that abuses it’s customers in this way.

12 09 2011
TheDino

Freelancer is SCAM… this stupid fee took my 50USD. they could at least send email before charging this…

So I suggest not to work with them at all all you loos all your money you put there.

12 09 2011
lisaamartin

Hi TheDino, unfortunately for you, Freelancer do declare the fees they will charge you on their website, and you are asked to read and agree to the terms and conditions before committing to register an account. Always read the small print!

12 09 2011
Tony

Hi Lisa, while freelancer may declare these fees in their “fine print”, running down someone’s account in this way can only be seen as a scam of the worst order.

As I said to them in an email exchange if they want their customers to hate them this is a really good way of going about it, like Dino I would urge others not to use them, there are plenty of other better online contracting providers out there.

Interestingly in Australia what they are doing is probably illegal under our unfair contracts law.

29 01 2011
Alexander

I have been chosen a winner for a project and I have been waiting for the client to place a milestone payment so that I can start to work on the project.
The client have not placed the milestone payment yet and I may assume that the project may never start due to that reason.
My question is whether the project commission I have been charged will be refunded?

29 01 2011
lisaamartin

It’s perhaps a silly question, Alexander, but still one worth asking – have you asked the buyer to place a milestone payment? I mean, have you specifically asked him/her by email rather than just specifying it on your bid form? If not, then send your buyer an email and ask him, saying that you require a milestone before you get started on the project. Sometimes buyers, especially if they are new to Freelancer, don’t really understand what their responsibilities are.
If your buyer seems to be ignoring you, then unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you’ll get your project fee back. Freelancer say that they are like an “introduction agency” between buyer and freelancer. Once they have done the introducing, the transaction is between the buyer and freelancer. That said, if the buyer never contacts you, you could always try contacting Freelancer support and carefully explaining what has happened.

29 01 2011
Alexander

Of course, I have asked them to place a milestone payment. They promised to do it but, unfortunately, it has been already 5 days since my first request and still no milestone payment. I read in FAQ that Freelancer.com does not refund commissions to the service provider when the project has been awarded already but I truly believe that is simply unfair as the project may be a scam one. Now I have to pay for what? For their email address? A fat lot I need it!

29 01 2011
lisaamartin

OK well, it has only been 5 days so I would wait a little longer, maybe 10-14 days or so. Accepting a project and not continuing with it has no benefit for the buyer (they’re not going to get any work from you and they won’t gain/lose any money) so I’m not sure why they would do this without a good reason. The buyer could be away, or busy, so give him the benefit of the doubt and perhaps send him a reminder email in a few days (politely). I recently had a similar problem where I was waiting for payment for over a month, but the buyer did eventually show me the money and was very apologetic! If the milestone still doesn’t materialise, I would try contacting Freelancer support, as the buyer may be a known scammer and there might be something they could do. What was the project?

29 01 2011
Alexander

I am a programmer myself and the project is about creating a web site. Certainly, I will keep sending them polite messages to remind them that I am actually waiting. I am just wondering why I would have to pay from my pocket in case the project gets aborted eventually. Not because of my fault, but because of the fault from the client side. Fortunately, I would lose just $12 so it is not a bid deal. I am sure the administration might think out a way to not let such situations but they don’t do it and it is a pity. If we barely pay for email address exchange, then please do not make us exchange email addresses (automatically); I would be fine to work totally via their web site. If I wanted to know my client’s email address, it would be alright to pay for it. That all may seem stupid but it is a way, after all. Of course, it would be a lot better to not bill us before collecting (read: earning) money at all. I have happened upon such a disappointing situation when I had requested all my earnings for withdrawal but the request was canceled at the moment I picked up another project. That happened because the commission fee was taken from the money I set up for withdrawal so that it became “not enough funds”.

15 03 2011
Anjan Bhowmik

I have to agree. I myself had to face such problems. In my case i then had to wait another 8 days, to have the money :) More than 2 weeks passed before i can get my money.

To me, its plainly not fair to cut the service charge as soon as project is awarded. If you can ensure the provider will get paid no matter what, like oDesk does for hourly rate projects, its ok.

But where there r too many scam projects,which sometimes are thousands of dollars worth, just imagine how much u will lose, if u get caught into one!

20 02 2011
Edison

Can you do a post about withdrawals next? I actually think the way they do it is kind of confusing. Like, why is there a cutoff time? What’s that about? Do they only withdraw once a week or something? They talk about how the cutoff got moved but they never say what it was for in the first place.

Something real bad also happened a few weeks ago. I never withdrew before, so I went to do it for the first time. They have to hold my money for 15 days, ok that I get. But then I got a job offer and I accepted and suddenly I realize that I my money level went down, so my withdrawl says ‘not enough funds’. I ended up canceling since continuing to wait for the withdrawl would be pointless. It’s awful that it can happen like that and now I have to do more jobs before I can withdraw again since I don’t have enough….

20 02 2011
lisaamartin

Thanks for the suggestion – I will work on it!

1 03 2011
Anjan Bhowmik

Hi Lisa!

I came across your blog while searching for an answer on why i got charged on moneybookers withdraw from freelancer.com –

“To withdraw funds from Freelancer to a Moneybookers account is free, BUT Moneybookers then charge their own commission for withdrawing from them to your bank account”

This doesn’t seem to the true, for a $225 withdraw moneybooker’s applied a charge of $4.29 on this withdraw, as if it was sent using the normal send money where receiver pays.

The earlier withdraws were really free, don’t know what is wrong with this, the bigger they are getting, looks like the worst their services are getting :(

1 03 2011
lisaamartin

Isn’t that the same as what I said? Freelancer don’t charge you anything (as far as I know) for withdrawing from your Freelancer account to your Moneybookers account, but a fee is charged when you want to withdraw that money from Moneybookers. Well that’s what I meant anyway! It’s possible that Freelancer/Moneybookers may have changed their policies since I wrote that post, or that I am wrong – I only used Moneybookers once to try it out but I prefer to stick to PayPal.
I disagree that Freelancer’s services are getting worse – I actually think that the site is much, much better than it was 1-2 years ago, but it’s true they do seem to want to charge you for every little thing these days!

1 03 2011
Anjan Bhowmik

“Freelancer don’t charge you anything” it was true for a time :) I used to withdraw funds to MB and not see any related processing fees applied to it. Which i just noticed today.

On $225 payment, there is $4.29 processing fee applied by MB which was not applied on other withdraws. Thats what bothers me :) Where money matters you should be as transparent as you can manage.

The constant $2.41 to withdraw to my is present as always.

11 05 2011
Take

What if i bid $500 and buyer choice me, then i get -$50, and buyer get hes %5 back becouse he have choice a winner, and then buyer sop answerin on email? I still have -$50?

11 05 2011
lisaamartin

Yes, unfortunately that is the case! Freelancer informed me several months ago that they were going to introduce a compulsory milestone feature, which would mean that the buyer would be forced to place a minimum amount equal to the commission fee in escrow. Then, if the situation you described occured, you could raise a dispute and if the buyer still doesn’t respond, you would be awarded the milestone. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to have materialised yet!
The best thing to do is to state – both on your bid form and again in a private message to the buyer – that you require a milestone payment. It’s not a foolproof soltion, because the buyer cannot physically create a milestone until you have accepted the project and the fee has already been deducted from your account, but you will probably find that most unscrupulous buyers will avoid providers who insist on milestones, precisely because they intend on doing a runner with your work without paying for it!

30 05 2011
Sonny

Hi, Lisa!

To answer your question about the wire transfer redirecting to another payment, it means that “Freelancer.com does not have the provision to send your money from HSBC to your country.” So you have to use one of the other three options to withdraw your funds.

19 04 2012
Jane

Is this still applicable? Especially on the Miscellaneous fees? On their website, GAF is now charging 10% on all non-project-related transfers.

21 04 2012
flacklist

Reblogged this on flacklist.

3 08 2012
sanilrdpbd

Hello,
Yesterday i have competed my first project on freelancer and after that i have requested for withdraw my money to moneybookers but today i got another project and i accepted that already and my account balance now less witch have been requested for withdraw, Now is this case my withdraw request will get auto deny or should i need to make new withdraw request. Yesterday i request 92USD for withdraw but now my balance is 82USD because i wont a project. So whats gonna be with my withdraw request now? I am confused. Any Help please.

14 08 2012
Abhinit Dwivedi

Really informative article, thanks for posting this. I have one query too, if i withdraw my freelance balance to my paypal account, how much will be the total fee charged for it? Freelancer support guys say it wil be only 1 USD, does that mean if i withdraw 100 USD to my paypal, my paypal balance wil increase by 99 USD? Won’t paypal charge it’s usual 2.9% + 0.5 cent for US users and 3.9% + 0.5 cents for Non-US paypal account holders? if anyone has withdrawn to paypal, please confirm this..!!

14 08 2012
lisaamartin

Hi Abhinit, to my knowledge, Freelancer charges you $1 per transaction to transfer funds from your Freelancer account to your PayPal account. So your example is correct: if you request to withdraw $100 from Freelancer, then your PayPal balance will increase by $99. I don’t think PayPal charges you to receive funds into your PayPal account, but you might want to check this as it may be different in your country or depend on what type of PayPal account you have. PayPal may charge you to withdraw funds from PayPal to your bank account, bit again this might depend on your country and account type.

4 12 2012
stz

This website scammed me of nearly $300 in “dormant account fees”. I had not even logged into my account since 2008, and I left $250 sitting in the account.

When they acquired V-Worker my V-Worker account was merged with my old freelancer account. When checking my transactions history I saw they started charging me “dormant account fees” in 2010–which they never informed me of and which did not even exist the last time I logged into my account in 2008! This scamming website sucked my account dry and then some!

I was one of the largest buyers on V-Worker, and spend around $85,000 a year on software development, so this is not much money for me, but it makes me extremely angry to be cheated like this and I have already made plans to close my freelancer account. I refuse to associate with such a company.

28 07 2013
kamal shah

Hey Lisa! I just wanted to ask you about your opinion? Which is the best method to get your funds from freelancer to Pakistan. I have used moneybookers but it took too long to proceed. WHICH IS BEST ONE?

28 07 2013
lisaamartin

Hi Kamal, I live in the UK and have never even been to Pakistan so I’m afraid I don’t know! Try asking Freelancer’s support team, or other people from your country.

29 07 2013
kamal

Thank for your fast response. Can i add you in gmail? You are such an informative person.

10 09 2013
Bill Trikojus

I contacted them, politely, about the dormant account fee and they were good enough to refund 9 months of fees without any argument. I was impressed. I don’t think the fee should exist but I also didn’t expect them to refund it.

10 09 2013
lisaamartin

Great news, congratulations!

1 01 2014
nicolas

well that is not great news. that is just absolutely normal. they might print that somewhere in the fine prints, that does not make it utterly wrong in the first place. also for 1 refund to a guy who complains, they’ll charge to the 99 who dont.

I had an account there. Now that I have a project to make I of course will not go through them. They have priced that in already, and that is exactly why no business should be made with them.

It says much about how they care hey have in you having a successful outcome.

1 01 2014
nicolas

‘does not make absolve from being utterly wrong’

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