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.
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!