Top 5 Freelance Writing Contract Sites

By Laura Castonguay

freelance writing sitesWhen it comes to finding a job on the Internet, there are hundreds of sites that gather data about possible jobs and make listings available for the prospective job seeker. But what if you are a freelance writer and you aren’t looking for one job, but for a hub of consistent contract work?

Listed below are five contract websites ranked in terms of benefit to a freelance writer. Not only do all of the sites allow a writer to create a profile, download a portfolio, search for specific contracts and then bid on jobs, they provide a network that encourages professionalism for both freelance writers and employers.

1. oDesk

By far the site with the most benefits to a freelance writer, oDesk offers free membership with no option for costly membership packages. This maintains that all freelancers have equal opportunity for jobs. In addition to a user-friendly profile, they offer hundreds of free skills tests to allow employers to view your abilities, thousands of contract jobs, employer endorsement ratings, and a dispute assistance guarantee. Though oDesk’s 10% commission fee is higher than some of the other sites, it seems the benefits far outweigh the administrative cost.

2. Elance

With a simple, easy-to-use interface and a free sign-up option, Elance ranks second only because of its $10/month option. While the site claims a paying member is twice as likely to score a job, this may account for the allowance to apply to twice as many jobs. The free option isn’t a dud though – it includes free skills tests, a profile that allows up to 5 portfolio pieces, and a lower commission rate than oDesk at 8.75%. Limit for free membership: 15 clients/month.

3. Freelancer (a.k.a. Getafreelancer)

Though this site boasts a wide array of membership packages ranging from $4.95 to $49.95/month, it does offer a free membership. The basic plan includes a healthy dose of perks including: up to 10 bids/month, 20 free skill tests and 5 portfolio entries. Like oDesk, it takes a 10% service fee. The reason it beat out Guru for 3rd place… Prize Competitions.

4. Guru

While providing a free user-friendly interface, the site charges a whopping $4.95 for each skills test. Though it maintains the same options as the other sites, paying to show off your skills to potential employers doesn’t seem like a benefit – especially when the commission fee is as high as 11.95%. Signing up for membership packages can decrease the fee by 2% and if you’re willing to pay, Guru will make sure it puts you ahead of your competition.

5. PeoplePerHour

Offering a free membership and most of the other benefits of the other contract sites, PeoplePerHour charges a fee for its skills tests and does not offer dispute assistance. The positive side: Service fees as low as 4.5%.

Laura Castonguay
Laura Castonguay is a freelance writer in Pittsburgh. Her creative writing is featured on her blog FinallyWrite, where she delves into the intricacies of life and nature. When she’s not writing, she can be found on her porch, watching her garden grow.
 

  • Elisabeth Kauffman

    Great article, Laura! I’ll be re-visiting oDesk tomorrow :)

  • http://twitter.com/JTDabbagian James Dabbagian

    Yeah, but I think oDesk is the most demanding of private info…I believe it makes you enable a webcam or screencast so people know you’re working. Is it really worth it? 

    • http://blog.emilysuess.com Emily Suess

      I think that’s only for the hourly jobs. I use oDesk occasionally for fixed-price (I’ve never done hourly) and have never had to submit screenshots or anything.

    • LCastonguay

      Yes, oDesk does ask for private information – however, it is up to the contractor to divulge as much information on their profile as they wish. As for the software to track hourly work, it is not a requisite for all jobs, however it appears that most clients do ask that you download the application in order to better gain contractor trust. The program is not a webcam and does not gather any personal information from your computer. I have not used the software, but did spend a good deal of time looking into it so I would be better prepared if a client requested I download it. 
      Per the information on the website about it, it is not an information invasive program. It merely tracks the times you are using the keyboard and clicking the mouse. Of course, there are certain disadvantages to this, because a client will not know how many hours you are reading/researching online without typing or clicking. It seems that if a client requests this service, they are familiar with that disadvantage however. 
      Lastly, I wanted to add that each client is very different in regard to their requests for your accessibility and most, as I’ve been able to tell, are fairly upfront about what they want/need. Some state they want you to have access to them through email, texts, Skype, etc; some merely want you to send them the finished product. 
      (There is a lot of additional information on oDesk about all of this information – so if you are wary about that software, check it out!)

  • Kate Riemersma Sluiter

    This is a great article, Laura!  I am pinning it for future reference!

  • Sherri Ledbetter

    Good job Laura! I’m pinning it too.

  • http://www.mycyberhouserules.com/ Marie Nicole

    Which one will you choose to join Laura? Have you joined one yet?

    • LCastonguay

      Thanks everyone! I’ve actually been a member of oDesk for a little while, though I’m still working on creating a profile to take full advantage of the services. In order to do my research for this article, I did in fact sign up for all of them! (Imagine the amount of junk mail I’m now getting :) But by far my favorite is oDesk. It just feels the most professional, helpful, informative, and easy to use – and it’s entirely free across the board!

      • http://blog.emilysuess.com Emily Suess

        Way to research, Laura! :)