There has been a monumental shift in the design atmosphere, where more and more designers are moving into freelance work. In the UK alone, freelancing has grown 14% in the past decade and 34% of the U.S workforce are now working as freelancers.
It’s not hard to understand why, there are a bunch of appealing aspects to working freelance. From the ability to work on a range of projects for an array of different industries at once, to being your own boss, choosing your rates and picking your hours.
The only downside of being a freelance designer? The drag of constantly finding work. In a recent survey by Contently, 34% of freelancers said that securing enough work was their biggest daily obstacle.
Luckily there's a new wave of sites to help you find great projects to work on, with honest and up-front information about fees and pricing. We've picked out 7 of the best sites to keep your project pipeline topped up.
“Recruitment agencies have long felt broken and in need of disrupting.”
Here’s a list of the best, new age, design recruiter alternatives to get you where you want to be:
What is YunoJuno?
YunoJuno is a community of 8,000 of the best freelancers, changing how the creative and tech industries resource their business and manage their workforce.
They're now the largest provider of freelancers to the creative and tech industries.
How is YunoJuno different from other freelancer platform on the market?
"We were founded by the creative and tech industries that we aim to serve," explains Steve Cater. "Our founders were once freelancers and employers within creative agencies. This helps a lot as we’re tackling every problem that we once had and are well placed to create the best solution to help freelancers find and manage their work as well as enable the industry to create the best solution for the dramatic shift to freelance."
"What’s more we are creating an end-to-end solution for the industry. One that enables forward thinking businesses to unlock the true potential of freelance."
That means fixing the problem of freelancers getting paid. All YunoJuno members in a YJ contracts get paid weekly on 14 days.
It also means streamlining the operational process of managing 100+ freelancers at anyone time.
"We have the collective experience and knowledge that has enabled us to create solutions for the industry. The whole industry. That’s why we’re trusted by global networks, independent agencies and the individuals that are fundamental in creating the future of work in partnership with us."
How much does YunoJuno cost?
Free for freelancers, as well as the promise of getting paid on 14 days - members also benefit from great discounts on things like software and co-working space as well as community events.
For employers they charge a percentage on top of the day rate that they agree directly with the freelancer. So if a freelancer negotiates £400 / day, they get £400 / day. Their standard fee to employers is 9%.
What is Crew?
Crew is a vetted network of acclaimed designers and developers that have won Emmys, Cannes Lions, Apple design awards, and have built products used by tens of millions of people for some of the best companies on the planet.
How is Crew different from other freelancer platforms?
"We focus on quality and trust first and foremost," explains Michael Sacca."We want our members to get paid on-time, and our project owners to receive high-quality work on time, every time. But we’re not just talk: we back it up with our Project Protection that protects project owners and creatives throughout the entire process."
How much does Crew cost?
Crew charges a 20% service fee for each project to cover payment security, the cost of running the site, 24/7 support before, during, and after your project, as well as their legal security such as their built-in NDA and IP protection.
"We accept two methods of payment: bank wire or credit card. Bank wires are free. Credit card transactions have an additional 3% fee for transaction costs."
"We just helped redesign Om Malik's blog, redesigned food startup FreshMint's web presence and helped Tymn Armstrong redesign Palo Alto Staffing's brand and we can't wait to hear what ideas you have next. And if you've got some freelance design and development chops that you want to share with the world, come join us."
What is Availo?
Availo is a platform that gets top freelancers the best jobs at startups, studios and agencies, all within a single app.
How is Availo different from other freelance finding services?
"Most existing sites are either advanced job boards, where clients post numerous job descriptions and hope a decent freelancer applies to them, or they're walled gardens, where both freelancer and client have to be using to same platform to find each other." Rob Bye tells us, "Availo is different. We’re not building a job board, a recruitment site, or a portfolio site. Instead, we’re focussed on building a solid platform that is effectively a funnel, allowing us to bring in work for freelancers from various sources, with the endpoint always being Availo; making it extremely easy to manage inbound work."
Right now Availo are a simple web and mobile app that allows clients to search, find and hire a freelancer within minutes. But over the coming months, Availo will expanding to everything from booking widgets on portfolio sites, through to API integrations into HR systems. "We're going to become an invisible third party helping clients quickly find freelancers, whilst getting freelancers a consistent flow of work."
How much does Availo cost?
Availo is totally free for freelancers to use. Clients are charged between 7.5% and 15% per booking, depending on how many hires they make per month and if they've hired that designer before.
"We're still an invite-only platform for both clients and freelancers, so if you're interested in become an Availo freelancer or want to hire some great designers, do apply via our site. We've also got some great events coming up, so keep an eye out for this as well."
What is OnSite?
OnSite is a curated marketplace that matches qualified, available talent to freelance contracts with the best agencies, studios and start-ups.
How is OnSite different from other freelance finding services?
OnSite is focussed on placing freelancers in contracts at agencies, studios and startups, rather than completing small individual projects directly with the client.Both sides of the marketplace are properly curated - around 25% of company applications are accepted, and 15% of freelancers - ensuring both the work and the talent is of a consistently high level.
There is no middle-man. Again this is claimed by others, but OnSite focusses on discovery and then gets out of the way. There are no time-sheets to fill in, no contracts to sign, and no limits on how you communicate with and book talent. And there is definitely no percentage to pay on bookings.
There is no race to the bottom with OnSite. Day rates are not visible to freelancers on contracts posted, and matches aren't filtered by cost - so their is no incentive to compete on price.
How much does OnSite cost?
OnSite is currently free for both hiring companies and freelancers (it will always be free to freelancers - and their will never be a percentage to pay on bookings).
"There will be a new version launching soon that adds many more tools for building rosters of talent (instant search, availability notifications, better filtering and sort). There will also be more options to interact with the platform without having to sign in (better transactional emails and slack integration)."
What is it?
Dribbble is show and tell for designers. Web designers, graphic designers, illustrators, icon artists, typographers, logo designers, and other creative types share up to 48 small screenshots (shots) per month that show their work, process, and current projects. Dribbble is also a place where designers and companies promote their work and products, find designers for hire, and receive work inquiries.
How does the 'Hire me' and designer search features work on Dribbble?
Members with Pro accounts can indicate that they are available for work. Doing so displays a ‘Hire Me’ button on their profiles that signed-in members can use to send messages about work opportunities.
How much does Dribbble cost?
Basic Dribbble accounts don’t cost a thing, they just require an invitation from a member. The Pro upgrade costs $20 annually.
What is Folyo?
Folyo is a platform for finding freelancers and clients that you love to work with.
How is Folyo different from other freelancer platforms?
"We don’t get between the clients and the freelancers in terms of pricing or project management," Robert Williams tells us. "Using our service is completely free or you can pay a small fee to access bonus features that increase you chance of finding the right match. My favorite feature in Folyo is that we limit the character count on replies, so you’re able to save time on writing to each client, and the client has to spend less time reading replies."
How much does Folyo cost?
Folyo is free. You get additional benefits like attaching your portfolio to your project reply for $39/month. Posting a project is also free, with an option to upgrade to a featured post for $79.
"I made the pricing structure on Folyo this way because I believe sites that charge a percentage of the project work, own the clients. I don’t want to own the client relationship. They’re your clients, you’re going to service them. I don’t want to try forcing you to stay on the platform, in fact I encourage that once you agree to terms with a client you move the relationship elsewhere."
What is Hubstaff Talent?
Hubstaff Talent is a freelance directory where skilled freelancers and businesses can connect.
How is Hubstaff Talent different from other freelancer platforms?
A free resource for the world's top remote workers did not exist, until Hubstaff Talent decided to change that. Hubstaff Talent is 100% free - no hidden fees and no markups. Businesses and freelancers can connect with one another free of charge without having to worry about hidden costs.
How much does Hubstaff Talent cost?
"Getting started on Hubstaff Talent is extremely easy, all you have to do is create a profile. Once your profile is done, businesses can search for freelancers based on skill, availability or location, if they feel you would be a good fit for their team they can contact you directly. There are no middlemen or third party communicators involved, businesses and freelancers can communicate directly to one another."
Know any more places to find freelance projects? Let us know on Twitter!