The three freelance sites I’m using continue to baffle me. Here’s what I’ve found out so far.
Jobs may be closed to bidding but they may not be awarded. Of the ten jobs I’ve bid in the last few weeks, only one seems to have been awarded. The rest? The job descriptions are still on-line, they are listed as closed to bidding, but there is nothing to indicate that anyone has received the assignment. I know people are notified because one job clearly states that it has been filled, with the winning bidder named.
Many assignments are impossible to bid accurately. Descriptions commonly state that they need writing help, they throw out a budget, say two or three thousand dollars, but they don’t say how many articles they want, the word count, the subject, or a deadline. How can one possibly bid this way? Query the employer? At freelance.com you are not allowed to private message a job poster. There is a public message board, which some people use, but you must first have a favorable review before using the board. Which counts me out, as well as all others new to the site.
Accepting a bid can be risky and expensive. Freelance sites typically take a 10% arrangement fee. With freelance.com, that money is due immediately upon accepting a job. If you are awarded a $3,000 contract you owe the site three hundred dollars. Now. Before any work has begun. You had best know, therefore, every detail about a job before you take it on. Mistakes are hard to correct. When I had to back out of a freelance.com job I was given credit to apply to site charges, but not a reversal to my credit card.
Summing up? I still think freelancing sites are a good idea. The work is there, seemingly. Ever-the-optimist, I will keep submitting proposals a while longer. Another ten bids? Two things seem obvious. It will take as much effort getting work on-line as it does off-line. And, as with job hunting on the street, the hiring process, unfortunately, may remain hidden and mysterious.