Freelancing sites reviews
My freelancing journey started in 2005 and for several years I got to experience both sides of the outsourcing world.
- As a freelancer, working through freelancing sites was no picnic: most of the projects had ridiculously low budgets, the competition was fierce and was driving prices even lower. Clients were calling the shots – so it could take forever to get them to mark the project as complete.
- As a client, it didn’t seem much better either: you had to select from dozens or hundreds of applicants, most of whom were just throwing at you canned replies without reading the brief. Plus, without a vetting process in place, selecting a developer was a gamble, you had no guarantee of the quality of work delivered.
That’s why for a long time I stopped using freelancing sites altogether. Until September 2014, when I ran into an ad of a company called Codeable who was looking for WordPress developers for a new freelancing platform. I wasn’t very optimistic about it, but decided to apply anyway. One week later, I got an email I was accepted. And three and a half years later, I’m still working with them.
So I thought I’d share what working with Codeable has been like and how it differed from my previous experiences.
As a freelancer
These are the aspects that will come as a (pleasant) surprise, particularly if you’ve worked on other freelancing platforms.
- Developers are colleagues, not competitors
When I first joined the platform, I saw older members always greeting new members, giving them pointers on how to get more jobs or deal with clients. But the most shocking thing for me was this (sort of a) shared custom among experts: whenever a new developer – with 0 tasks completed – estimated on a new project, all the other developers refrained from estimating, so that the new developer could get his/her first project.
Moreover, developers are all connected via Slack. So, whenever you have a question, run into an issue you just can’t figure out, need feedback or some quick advice, the other devs are always willing to help (and send a pretty giphy :P). This was another shocker for someone used to working alone.
- Support team means more people who are helping you
If you have a personal problem and you can’t complete a project, you notify support and they’ll find you a replacement so the project gets finished and the client is still happy.
If you’re new, the support team will help you land your first job.
If you’re struggling or if you just ask, they’ll give you feedback on anything that you could improve: your communication, your estimating, your planning, your portfolio, your expectation management skills and the list can go on and on…
If you need help with anything, support will step in and try to help.
- Steady stream of high quality, well-paid projects
The projects posted on the platform are varied: from small CSS tweaks, migration, speed optimizations, plugin or custom theme development, to highly complex builds. Even though we do run into the occasional “I want a Facebook clone for $500“, there are enough projects to make a living out of Codeable. And if you’re looking for inspiration, I suggest you read my colleague Nathan’s post on how he managed to earn $300,000 in 2 years.
- There is no bidding and no competing on price
On Codeable, developers post their estimates and clients get one price averaged out of all estimates, no matter which developer they choose to work with. So there is no “race to the bottom” on pricing.
As a client
These are some of the things that might make you appreciate freelancing platforms again:
- All 300+ developers are handpicked and thoroughly tested
Codeable is not an open freelancing platform, meaning a developer can’t just create an account and start interacting with clients. There is a rigorous testing process for developers where only 2% succeed, so you don’t need to worry about the quality of the work.
- You don’t need to worry your favorite developer is going on vacation or is too busy for your next project
When a developer becomes unavailable, support steps in and reassigns any client requests to other developers with similar skills.
- You get an entire team with an extremely varied skillset
Since collaboration, and not competition, is encouraged, developers start to do a strange thing: they recommend other developers who are better suited for a particular task. Even though we’re all WordPress developers, each one tends to specialize in certain areas – some specialize in design, others in SEO, or speed optimization, or Genesis, WooCommerce, LearnDash, membership plugins etc. So when one of our clients comes in with a task that’s not right up our alley, we just put him in contact with another colleague who specializes in that area.
Negative Codeable Reviews
71,225 has been completed through Codeable and 98.9% of them are rated with 5 out of 5 stars. That’s all great, but this means 1.1% are not rated with 5 starts. How does this happen? Here are a few situations I’ve encountered:
Sometimes there isn’t enough chemistry between client and developer and the communication keeps get worse, while frustrations rise on both parts.
How is this handled? If the project is still a long way from being finished, support can step in and assign another developer on that project.
- Unclear scope
This usually happens because some requirements have not been clearly and explicitly stated, so each party considers different things to be implied. As a rule of thumb, what isn’t explicitly asked for by the client or offered by the developer shouldn’t be expected to be delivered.
How is this handled? Support steps in and tries to clarify the situation; depending on the case, the client can either understand that the parts not specified were not included in the estimate, or they get a refund, or they get another developer assigned.
- Extra work requested for free (aka scope creeping)
This is probably the most frequent situation which results in a rating < 5. After the project is complete, a client might request additional work not covered by the initial scope. In some cases, the client understands and funds an additional task; in other cases, the client gets offended and just gives the developer a bad rating.
As with anything, try to keep an open mind and get different perspectives from different people. Not all freelancers are the same, just as not all freelancing platforms are the same.