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Nowadays there are tons of marketplaces to choose your freelance designer. Crowdsourcing, micro-lancing and other buzzwords can make you, a small business owner, completely dazed and confused.

But how do you go about separating the good from the bad, and, especially for this industry, the ugly?

I’ve conducted extensive research on major freelancer websites, tested each of them on your behalf, and laid out the pros and cons here, to lend a helping hand to your decision. With comprehensive insights into prices, bidding complications, and the overall quality of the work being done by the freelancers on these sites, this is all the help you’ll ever need to make your decision. Let’s begin, shall we?

99Designs - 99designs.com

Touting themselves as “the world’s leading design contest marketplace”, 99designs is a fresh take on the traditional design marketplace website. Designers compete in contests set up by the clients, to create designs for a variety of purposes. The winning design gets chosen and the designer wins their payment as prize money. The runners up are allowed to keep their designs to add to their portfolios. Founded in 2008, the company currently sits on eight consecutive years of double-digit growth. With more than 1 million registered designers, facilitating over 10 thousand design contests per month, it’s a platform with a lot to offer. CEO and president Patrick Llewellyn said, of the company: “Now when customers come to our site, we see them looking for not only their brand mark, but about what are the other areas to expand their brand.”

Pros

Can be great when you’re not sure what you want (visually) and would like some inspiration, by seeing tons of options before deciding. You can receive up to 30, 60 or 90 submissions, depending on the package you choose, ranging from $299 to $1299 for a logo design, for example. Their briefing process is easy-to-use, and guides you through a style assessment, in order to help designers understand your needs.


Cons

As a crowdsourcing platform, where many contributors work towards one design goal, only the winning designer gets paid, in the end. The others worked for free. This might lead to a big chunk of the submissions being of a lower quality.


Fiverr - fiverr.com

Fiverr is an online marketplace, where freelancers around the world monetise their skills for a range of projects, beginning at $5 per job. The website was launched in 2010, and currently lists more than 3 million services, ranging from $5 and $500. Since their inception, they’ve been able to raise over $50 million dollars in funding. Fiverr co-founder Micha Kaufman, who started the business with his friend, Shair Wininger, says of the site: “The grand vision of Fiverr is really to create a marketplace where people can start small but take this hobby and create a business out of it. Very similar to the revolution that eBay brought to products.”

Pros

Ultra cheap. You can improve your “gig”, as they call the jobs, with additional options, paying extra $5, $10, etc. Can be great for small, mundane jobs, that would take hours of work away from you as an entrepreneur, or that you would procrastinate over forever, such as creating a new social media design, an updated Facebook cover, or a new Instagram promotional banner.

Cons

When it comes to quality, you get what you pay for. So don’t expect something unique for the low, low price of your five bucks. Services typically doesn’t allow revisions, or they only offer one round. Also, the basic gig typically doesn’t include source files (which can be obtained paying an extra fee), so you’re locked out if you want to update your designs in the future.


Your turn:

Check out 99designs and Fiverr and see if they're a good fit for your project. Tomorrow we'll have a few more options.