Rating: 3/5 stars
What makes a great freelance web site a great freelance web site? Is it the quality of projects? The quality of work providers? The interface? The ease of us? The pricing structure?
Okay, you might imagine me looking like this as I ponder these questions, but in the case of Project4Hire.com, the rhetorical nature of my opening paragraph will start to make a little more sense.
Why? Because Project4Hire.com is an excellent case study for us to ponder what makes a good freelancing site. For example, there will probably be differing opinions about Project4Hire’s pricing structure, including an odd little twist that I’ll detail in greater depth later. Does this pricing structure bring Project4Hire down a peg or two, or is it something that’s really spit in the ocean as long as it can deliver plenty of well-paying, quality clients?
I’ve got my conclusions for this Project4Hire.com review – let’s see what yours are.
The Twist: Pricing Gone Mad
Before we get to anything else, I don’t want to leave you waiting for the aforementioned “odd little twist” like this is an M. Night Shyamalan movie or something. Instead, let’s get it all out in the open quickly. In fact, I’ll just let Project4Hire explain itself:
Once a project is awarded to a freelancer, the freelancer must pay 5% of his winning bid in order to accept the project, receive the client’s contact information and begin working on the project. Note that the Project Acceptance Fee must be paid BEFORE the project can be accepted. No exceptions.
Until a project is accepted and the commission fee is paid, the project will remain “frozen”.
Huh? The freelancer has to pay money upon someone hiring them? That sounds exactly like the type of scheme people use at online job sites as they spam the living guts out of everyone within a fifteen-mile radius. This is the first freelance site I’ve encountered that has such a pricing structure in place, and it’s going to be a very difficult obstacle for the rest of the Project4Hire.com experience to hurdle, for sure.
Oh, and by the way: if you pay a project acceptance fee and the client disappears, you have to contact Project4Hire to get your money back. Just sayin’.
Sure, you do pay a portion of your project over to freelance sites in most cases, but doing this upfront – before you ever get paid – is the twist. And it’s a twist I imagine very few beginning freelancers would be comfortable with. Maybe it filters these freelancers out and leaves the veterans to deliver the quality work, but it’s not good news for everybody.
The good news about the pricing structure is that Project4Hire does very little else to get in your way as you look around for the best projects to bid on. Still, I’d rather only pay my fees upon getting paid myself rather than take a leap of faith.
The Deliverables: Does Project4Hire Stack Up Otherwise?
The upfront fees notwithstanding, there is still plenty to like about Project4Hire that I imagine many freelancers could be excited about. Here are a few basic features I’ve come to know and love:
- Escrow payments
- Easy registration and sign-up
- Low commitment of money
- Highly varying projects with room for plenty of freelancers
Don’t believe me on that last one? Take a look at all of the project categories yourself:
In other words, there’s plenty to occupy yourself with should you become a freelancer over at Project4Hire. And if you’re someone who’s looking for a freelancer, you should have no problem finding people to submit bids and ultimately win your affections. In this regard, Project4Hire doesn’t vary much from the other freelancing job sites in delivering it to you straight. After all, that’s what these sites are here for: to allow people to meet.
There are a few interface problems that I’m still not comfortable with. For one, you can’t set a flat fee for a project – instead, you have to estimate how much time it will take for you to complete a project and then come up with an overall fee based on that time. Huh? What’s wrong with a flat fee? Charging a flat fee is fundamental to the basic pricing structure of many a project all across the Internet. To leave this option out seems unnecessary and even a little amateur.
If you’re going to have a restrictive price plan that requires upfront investment, you should be able to have more options on how you handle things on the back end. Besides, the 5% fee you pay over to Project4Hire.com seems flat enough – it’s not as if they can’t handle it.
Again, this all comes back to the questions I asked at the beginning of this review: what exactly makes a good freelancing site good? Depending on your own qualifications, Project4Hire.com might be a steal – or it might be a major inconvenience. It seems a little too black-and-white to call it either/or.
Project4Hire.com does do a good job of bringing projects and people together, the basic function of any site like this. But that’s not saying a whole lot. While the pricing structure does allow for low prices, it also makes for some inconveniences and means you’ll have to adhere to a rather rigid way of doing business. If you can handle that, you could be in for a bargain. If you can’t, you’ll probably want to focus your freelancing efforts elsewhere.
Building a business off of Project4Hire.com exclusively is probably not a good idea. Instead, you’ll just want to sign up for a free account and keep your options open. It doesn’t hurt to have another tool in the shed, even if that tool is a little one-dimensional. That is, unless, you can find another tool that does the same thing – but has other options, as well. I just wish Project4Hire was a tool with more options.