Hourly billing comes to Freelancer.com

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Hourly billingFreelancer.com, the largest online marketplace for freelance workers, yesterday added hourly billing to their repertoire of services for freelancers and employers. The site’s 2.8 million members can now specify an hourly rate (assuming they have no qualms about going public with pricing), and be hired on short- or long-term contracts by employers with commission starting at just 3%.

The site say they have introduced the new feature at the request of both employers using the site to source workers and freelancers who use it to make money. Job auction sites, on which employers can place work to be completed and freelancers must bid to be given the gig, have been criticised in the past for rewarding low rates and foregoing the freelancer / client relationship, which long-term freelancers will know can be a vital tool in gaining repeat custom.

Freelancer.com say that their new hourly billing feature allows freelancers to get a piece of the online pie without slashing their rates in order to be competitive, and will also allow them to build meaningful relationships with clients just as they would offline. Add into that the site’s existing features such as feedback, ratings, and secure payment facilities and you have a potentially powerful combination.

To be eligible for the lowest rate of commission users must be Gold members (which costs £24.95 per month).

Chief Executive Matt Barrie said of the new features:

“The way we’ve implemented hourly projects will significantly increase the number of employers on site, including those who switch from other platforms. If you do lots of projects and prefer billing by the hour, Freelancer.com is now the place to go for the lowest commissions.”

These changes almost put Freelancer.com in the role of a low-commission employment agency, and the site is predicting that many freelancers will move to their platform to take advantages of their infrastructure.

Some full-time freelancers (in the UK at least) have been critical of job auction platforms for not offering high enough rates to be a viable option (after all, it’s hard to compete when the world is your competition), however these changes seem like a solid step in the right direction. Will you be tempted? Let us know in the comments.

Photo by Ceressa BatemanCC