Should you hire freelancers from freelancer marketplaces?

While many people have recognised the benefits of working with freelancers, there are still many questions around how they should go about sourcing for the right freelancers.

Sourcing for the right freelancers can be as challenging as recruiting a full-time employee if you do not know where to begin. There are several ways you can find freelancers right now, and we’ll explore their pros and cons.


Open freelancer marketplaces

Marketplaces like Upwork,, and Fiverr connect businesses to millions of freelancers globally. These marketplaces typically limit your interaction to their freelancer network in their ecosystem, preventing you from contracting these talents off-platform.

– Millions of freelancers in one place
– Relatively quick to setup
– Affordable

– No vetting process resulting in poor freelancer quality
– No mechanism to enforce timely deliverable with acceptable quality
– Difficult to collaborate with freelancers outside the marketplace due to lock-in mechanism


Verticalised (specialised) freelancer marketplaces

There are several specialised freelancer platforms that curates talents with specific skills and domains. These marketplaces generally focus on the top talents in their fields and spend significant effort vetting and validating the credentials of their freelancers, making your sourcing process much easier. Examples include Toptal for engineering talents and Reedsy for ghostwriters.

– High-quality freelancers in one place
– Built-to-purpose platform with more specialised features for specific types of work

– Expensive as platform curates top-notch talents and take large fees
– Difficult to collaborate with freelancers outside the marketplace due to lock-in mechanism


Direct hiring

Many people recruit their freelancers by posting job openings on online job boards such as LinkedIn, Indeed, or Monster Jobs to ensure they find talents that have the right skillset and cultural fit. Alternatively many companies recruit freelancers through referrals from other freelancers or employers. This is typically highly effective as referees tend to understand your needs better and can find the right talents quickly. Referrals also significantly shorten the recruitment time.

– High quality freelancers
– Generally more affordable as there is no middlemen
– Direct relationship with freelancers make it easy to collaborate using various tools and work arrangements (in-person, remotely, etc)

– Takes more time to recruit as talents may not be readily available
– No centralised platform to manage freelancer activities, tasks, and payments


How to decide which approach is best for you?

There are several things you need to consider before making this decision.

  1. Do you need your freelancers for the long haul?
    If you have big projects that require mid- to long-term dedication from your freelancers, it’s best to have a direct relationship with your freelancer so you can integrate them into your team, build better relationships, and possibly negotiate better long-term rates.
  2. Do you need to collaborate with your freelancers a lot?
    If you need to co-work or co-locate with your freelancers, then your best bet is to have direct relationship with your freelancers. If your project can be done remotely with minimal collaboration tools, then the marketplace is your best bet.
  3. Will you need to hire the same talents again in the future?
    If it is important for you to re-hire the same freelancers again in the future, it’s best to have a direct relationship so you have a direct line to them whenever you need their help. This helps when you have very specific needs that require people with very niche/specialised skills.
  4. Does it take you a long time to onboard your freelancers?
    If it takes you a long time to onboard your freelancers and get them to understand your processes, requirements, workflow, etc; it’s best if you hire them directly. This way you can meet your freelancers in person, work with them directly, share files, etc easily.
  5. Do you have complex projects without clearly defined scope?
    If you need a freelancer who can help you conceptualise, design, discuss, brainstorm, and co-create solutions that are not clearly scoped from the outset, then you are better off hiring your freelancer directly. This way, you can dynamically adjust your requirements as your freelancer helps you design and create the best solutions for you.


Should you hire directly?

Here are some freelance talents that you might prefer to work with directly, rather than through an online marketplace:

  1. Freelance coaches and trainers
    These talents need to understand how to run your training sessions well, and you may need to co-locate with them to run training sessions.
  2. Freelance journalists, writers, and editors
    If you are in the media industry, you know that it is super difficult to find talents that can communicate using your corporate tone, positioning, and language. You want to have direct relationships with these people as their skills are not easily replaceable.
  3. Freelance designers
    Similarly, in the design world, you want to have relationship with someone who understands your branding guideline. It takes significant effort to make sure they get their designs right, and you want to make sure you keep them close.
  4. Freelance experts and consultants
    If you have a need for experts with niche skills, you might be better off hiring these people directly as freelancers as your chances of finding them on open marketplaces is slim to none. At the same time, these people are often highly sought after, so you want to have a good relationship with them to make sure they will take your projects.
  5. Freelance engineers
    Similarly, engineers who have done work for your before are more likely to be able to pick up where they left off rather than hiring someone new.


Hiring freelancers directly as opposed to through marketplaces may require more effort upfront. However, as you scale your business and operations, having these direct relationships will not only save you time and money, but will also help you ensure quality and consistency.

Ravenry is an on-demand platform that connects you with Asia’s top 5% of writers, analysts, and consultants within 24 hours, so you can save on all that interview time. A strict vetting process is also of top priority, so you can be certain to get matched with only talents of the best quality, catered to the productivity needs of your business.

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