Sydney-based outsourcing website, Freelancer.com announced that it had reached $US100 million in user earnings, and claimed to have saved businesses about $US1 billion in labour costs.
Freelancer.com is a website that provides an online job marketplace for freelance workers from around the world. Formerly known as GetAFreelancer.com, the company was founded in 2004 by Plendo Sweden, headed up by Magnus Tibell of Swedish web solutions company Innovate It. GetAFreelancer.com was bought on the 7th May 2009 by the Australian company Ignition Networks. The buyers changed the name to Freelancer.com in October 2009.
Freelancer.com is an online platform that hosts a space for companies to post a project online. Then, registered freelancers can compete to win and complete the work. At project completion, employers can post reviews, which work as reference letters: the more positive reviews one freelancer gains, the more chances it has to be “on demand”.
Freelancer.com chief executive, Matt Barrie, said outsourcing the labour force was cost effective for businesses, which would otherwise face higher rates from professionals based in industrialised economies; he also said the quality of the projects benefited from competition.
“Through an established platform like ours, outsourcing results in quality output while simultaneously reducing costs,” he said. “We estimate that the $US100 million in projects paid out through the site has saved businesses around $US1 billion in equivalent skilled labour costs in industrialised economies.”
Freelancers’ rates start at $US30 and, according to the website, the average cost for completing a project is $US200. To protect its clients, Freelancer.com provides a system that withholds payment until the employer is satisfied with the work delivered.
“Employers want to know they’re hiring reliable and capable freelancers, so these decisions are not determined by price alone, but a combination of a freelancer’s bid, their reputation, and suitability to the task,” Barrie said. “Reputation is the most valuable long-term investment for a freelancer”.
According to the figures disclosed by the website, Australia is among the biggest outsourcing countries, preceded in order by Canada, India, United Kingdom and United States; while the top five sources of freelancers are India, United States, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Philippines.
Businesses can choose to post their projects in any of 400 categories of work, with the most popular being PHP, website design, graphic design, data entry and copywriting. Employers can join and post a trial project for free when they register for the first time, while a $US5 fee applies for any subsequent project.
Users of Freelancer.com fall into two main categories: buyers and providers. Buyers are individuals or companies who wish to outsource their work. Other leading sites that provide similar services are ODesk, Guru, VWorker and Elance.