When people want to find freelancers for their projects (design, writing, marketing, development, etc.), the first places they show up to are one of the numerous freelancing platforms that exist. Of all these platforms, Upwork and Freelancer are the most popular, and for good reason. In this article, we recognise the immense hold that both platforms have in the freelancing space.
However, we focus on popular best Upwork alternatives for hiring developers that offer similar (and sometimes, even better) services. Ultimately, we show how the freelancing model itself might not be the best option when you want to hire dedicated developers, especially when you are assembling a pool of development talents to work on a specific project.
What are Upwork and Freelancer?
Upwork, founded in 1999 as Elance, has evolved to become perhaps the most popular destination for finding freelancers. Millions of freelancers are signed up for the platform. Freelancers on Upwork include web developers, designers, writers, translators, data scientists and many other skilled professionals. Upwork makes it easy to post a job, review candidates and hire the best talent for any project.
Next to Upwork, there is Freelancer; the name already says all you would want to know about the website. Like the former, Freelancer is a very popular marketplace for freelancers. Founded in 2009, ten years after Upwork, it has soared really high in popularity and usage over the years. As of October 2021, the site recorded over 55 million users, including clients and freelancers.
Upwork and Freelancer are great, but sometimes, they may not meet one’s needs perfectly. That’s why many clients choose to expand their options by looking towards Freelancer and Upwork competitors. There are several of them, but a few ones, recognised to be top-class have been analysed here. After all, the wider the talent pool you can access, the better your chances of finding the one professional that is perfect for your business project.
6 Websites as a Freelancer and Upwork Alternatives to Hire Dedicated Development
Team In this section, we explore the specific Freelancer and Upwork alternatives that you may consider in your hiring process. All these platforms are well-known for having a wide base of talented professionals, especially developers.
Fiverr is one of the biggest alternatives to Freelancer.com and Upwork if you are looking to hire dedicated software development team.
Anyone who has hired freelancers on Fiverr already knows how dedicated the platform is to provide clients with exceptional professionals. Clients who use the pro version of Fiverr have access to verified and hand-vetted talents. Only 1% of sellers pass the strict vetting process; so, that’s worth something.
One of Fiverr’s best features is Fiverr Business. The talents from Fiverr Business are specially curated and supplied by a Business success manager. Teams using this feature have access to a collaborative interface and advanced management tools that go beyond the traditional freelance hiring approach.
Toptal is one of the few remarkable freelancing platforms with a special focus on tech talents. As a great Upwork and Freelancer alternative, it is the starting point for many businesses specifically looking for development professionals. Toptal’s name is an amalgamation of ‘top’ and ‘talent’ and its catchy tagline is ‘hire freelance talent from the top 3%.’ So, how does that exactly play out?
Basically, Toptal accepts several applications and implements a scrupulous screening process to vet the applicants, of which less than 3% are added to the Toptal pool each month. The process includes a language and personality test, an in-depth skill review, live screening, test projects with real-world scenarios, and finally, their track record.
In addition, if you need to assemble a team of professionals, Toptal project consultants and delivery managers are at hand to supply you with on-demand curated talents that align with your business needs.
This is another Upwork and Freelancer.com alternative. Outsourcely boasts of a talent pool of over 400,000 remote workers from over 180 countries. So, businesses looking to hire here are definitely spoilt for choice. The available skills are of a wider range than Toptal’s but it’s still a good place to find reliable developers and other tech professionals.
When using the platform, you can either search for candidates by scrolling through the lists according to various categories. Or you can post jobs on Outsourcely’s board so that candidates can reach you directly. When using Outsourcely, the client has greater control over the vetting and approval process. Therefore, you can optimise your search according to the specific requirements for the project as it aligns with your business goals.
Also, when you hire professionals on Outsourcely, you can continue communication with your hires on any agreed-upon channels. This is unlike platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr, where professional communication must take place on the same platform. Overall, Outsourcely offers you more flexibility and freedom over your hiring process.
PeoplePerHour also makes the list of the top Upwork’s competitors. This platform allows you to post your project and receive proposals from freelancers. In between the steps, the platform uses the power of artificial intelligence to match your project requirements to the most relevant freelancers. You can also go on to search for talents by yourself, using filters to sift through the listings for the most skilled developers and then requesting a proposal.
During project execution, there is a project stream that helps you keep track of milestones and invoices, ensuring that you can measure progress easily and seamlessly. One of PeoplePerHour’s selling points is that it takes only 10 minutes to task a freelancer. Well, of course, that depends on the exact requirements of your project. However, PeoplePerHour has a straightforward process for finding freelancers.
While other platforms may charge a fee or a commission to use their system to find and hire freelancers, as another major alternative to Freelancer and Upwork, Hubstaff Talent is 100% free. Moreover, it is especially dedicated to helping teams hire remote developers.
In fact, on Hubstaff Talent, not only can you find individual developers, but you can also contract agencies. That is very helpful, especially if you are assembling a whole team of developers. It’s worth mentioning too that Hubstaff Talent is more of a job board; they post jobs on their social media accounts and other websites as well. This offers more visibility, which is good because you can have access to a wider range of talents.
In addition, like Outsourcely, Hubstaff Talent offers a lot of freedom to job posters. There is no obligation to manage your project on Hubstaff. Once you have reached an agreement with your chosen professional, you can take communication to any platform you desire, according to the needs of your project.
Gun.io is one of the freelance platforms designed specifically for finding software developers and engineers. It is not for finding freelancers alone, though; companies can also hire employees through the platform. However, at least the prospect that all you would ever find on Gun.io are development talents is more exciting than having to rummage through lists of irrelevant skills.
Gun.io also seems to have stricter rules regarding hiring freelancers on the platform. Certified developers can be engaged for one month to one year and the minimum monthly payment is $1,000. The pool is much smaller than that of other platforms though; Gun.io has only about 10,000 professionals.
However, these professionals are thoroughly vetted and verified before they can be featured on the platform. Gun.io uses technology to match developers to organisations, with a special focus on organisational culture alignment.
Outstaffing Companies as an Upwork and Freelancer Alternative for Hiring Software Development Team
There is no doubt that even the best alternative to Upwork and Freelancer lists large repositories of talent. However, we must determine whether that’s the best approach to hiring a software development team. After all, there are other ways to go about this process, outstaffing being one of these methods.
If freelance platforms offer direct hiring, the outstaffing approach is based on indirect hiring. This means, basically, that you are partnering with a software development outsourcing agency and by doing so, you gain access to their pool of development talents. All negotiations take place, not with the developers themselves, but with the agency. The developers are not employed by you; they remain in the employ of the agency that they are tied with.
How is this method better to choose a development shop? For one, it is better because it offers you protection as a client. Countless people have reports of hiring developers from a freelance platform whose work turned out to be shoddy. Indeed, some of these platforms have strong dispute and mediation policies as well as accessible customer support.
However, ultimately, if a developer abandons your project or does poor work, you would have lost time, money, and management effort. Surely, no one wants that. If you are working on a highly sensitive project, you are probably risking a data leak with this method.
However, when you use the outstaffing approach, any liability from any developer during the execution of the project is borne by outstaffing agency. For instance, if a developer abandons their task mid-project, the agency simply assigns someone else to take over that person’s duties. That way, work can continue smoothly without interruption and you, the client does not lose in any way.
Overall, outstaffing is a highly flexible model that allows you to transfer the entire project to an offshore remote team or even use staff augmentation so that your in-house team can partner with an offshore team and gain access to talents that are lacking within your company.
ProCoders as an Alternative to Upwork and Freelancer
One of the criticisms of outstaffing is that it gives the client limited access to the developers who are actually working on the project. In some ways, this is true since when a project is outstaffed, that means it is contracted to an agency not to specific developers.
However, at ProCoders, we believe that the best projects are executed as a partnership between clients and outsourcing agencies. Therefore, this philosophy guides us in our relationship with our clients. We allow our clients access to developers in our pool so they can personally verify the developers’ skills and be certain about the team being assembled for their project.
We do this because we are convinced of the skills of our developers, who undergo a rigorous vetting process before they even join the ProCoders team in the first place. That is the secret to how we execute projects with such excellence that our clients all over the world can boldly testify to.
Speaking about working with ProCoders, the CTO at AxisPoint, Brian Herbert, said “For us, they provide full time, dedicated tech staff. Members of the team are willing to be available and work during our hours. The level of service they provide is outstanding.”
We are based in Ukraine. However, we provide offshore development services to clients all over the world. Our developers are proficient in English and highly skilled; so, our projects always come out excellent.
A viable alternative for assembling teams of dedicated developers is the outstaffing model, where you find a software development agency that can supply you with needed talents. This form of indirect hiring is more suitable for long-term projects.
Upwork and Freelancer are great, but sometimes, they may not meet one’s needs perfectly. That’s why many clients choose to expand their options by looking towards Freelancer and Upwork competitors. There are several of them, even some recognised to be top-class. After all, the wider the talent pool you can access, the better your chances of finding the one professional that is perfect for your business project.
Countless people have reports of hiring developers from a freelance platform whose work turned out to be shoddy. Indeed, some of these platforms have strong dispute and mediation policies as well as accessible customer support. However, ultimately, if a developer abandons your project or does poor work, you would have lost time, money, and management effort. Surely, no one wants that. If you are working on a highly sensitive project, you are probably risking a data leak with this method.
One of the best things about the tech industry as a whole is the abundance of options. However, this does not reflect much in the hiring process. Many people acknowledge a talent shortage, but we must also consider that maybe people are not looking towards places they should.
Upwork and Freelancer alternative sites have their own place. If you have a team already but you have one or two spaces to fill, hiring freelancers to close that gap seems like the best option. However, if you are assembling a team from scratch to work on your project, it is definitely not the optimal approach, as we have shown in the latter parts of this article.
A viable alternative for assembling teams of dedicated developers is the outstaffing model, where you find a software development agency that can supply you with needed talents. This form of indirect hiring is more suitable for long-term projects. Yet, it has its limitations.
At ProCoders, we keep refining our process to overcome the limitations of outstaffing. One of our main achievements is how we form partnerships with our clients and foster direct interactions with our developers so that nothing gets lost in communication. If you are looking to hire software developers in Ukraine, you can’t go wrong by starting with ProCoders. We are only a call away.