Let us take the stress out of Self Assessment
Get your tax return sorted by experts for only £200 £100+VAT!
Take the stress out of Sole Trader Accounting, for just 1%+VAT of your money earned. No monthly subscriptions! With CrunchONE
Get 25% Off Crunch Pro and Premium for the first 3 months!

Save your seat! Live e-commerce webinar

Register and soak in the wisdom from top industry leader! May 23, 2024 1:30 PM

Best Freelance Job Sites That Actually Pay Well

Man using a phone and laptop | Crunch
Picture of crunch software on mobile

Professional Bio Templates & Examples

Create a compelling professional narrative for a proper, attention-grabbing introduction.
Website bios
Speaker intros
Professional Profile

As a freelancer, the hustle never stops. You are always on the lookout for your next job, and there are several websites that can help you find projects to suit you. However, many of these platforms are full of low-paying and highly competitive jobs, so securing a project that pays your worth can be tricky.

In this guide, we’ll dig deeper into the world of freelance job sites, and compare some of the big players so you can enter your next era of sole tradership with the confidence that comes with knowing your value.

There are dozens of freelance job boards online, some targeting specific industries and others with a more general approach. One common issue is that these websites typically host a plethora of low-paying jobs that can be very time-consuming to sort through, and even then, the win rate is low. 

However, that’s not to say you should avoid all freelance job sites. They can be a great way to grow your network and build your reputation, especially if you are new to the freelancing game. Ready to learn more about how to make the most of freelance job sites? Keep reading.

Types of freelance job sites

Each freelance job site is unique, with each having a slightly different structure for both contractors and clients. The common setups are:

Bidding freelance platforms

Clients list jobs on these sites and contractors can bid for the work. This usually involves writing a proposal, including examples of past work and setting a price. The client can then sort through bids and see any reviews on your profile before deciding who to hire for the job.

 Often, price will be the biggest factor for clients on these sites, and it is common for freelancers to be outbid by those willing to work for less. As a result, bidding freelance platforms are less reliable, but still a solid solution for new contractors who have the time and resources to bid for projects. UpWork and PeoplePerHour are two of the biggest bidding freelance websites.

Non-bidding freelance platforms

While bidding platforms typically cover a large range of services, non-bidding websites tend to be more specialised. Platforms like Lemon.io flip the freelance site structure on its head by listing its contractors and encouraging clients to apply to them to work on their projects. These websites are harder to get listed on, and typically, you have to prove a certain level of experience and skill, but the results can be much better than on bidding sites.

How to win jobs on freelance job sites

While each freelance job platform has different criteria, there are a few universal factors that will help towards your success. These include:

Building a strong profile

It all starts with your profile. It pays to spend time creating a profile that’s both eye-catching and detailed so any potential client will get a good feel for what you’re like to work with even before they send that first message.

Including examples of past work

Some platforms allow you to upload examples of your work from other clients, so it’s recommended that you take advantage of this feature.

Know your worth

While price can be a sticking point for clients on some platforms, it’s vital not to pitch too low as this might make your client suspicious about how you are able to deliver a quality service for such a small fee. 

Not sure how much to charge? Understanding your finances and cash flow is important to long-term freelance success. CrunchOne can help you take control of your business finances. A combination of powerful software and expert accounting advice gives freelancers the data and guidance they need to better price jobs,  understand outgoings and manage cash flow.

{{cta-sole-trader-crunchone}}

Comparing freelance job sites

To land the juiciest gigs, you have to specialise. While the bigger boards like UpWork and PeoplePerHour do still exist, it’s unlikely you will find well-paying jobs there (more on those later). Here are some of the best freelance job sites that we’ve seen bring sole traders work:

Bark

Find the perfect professional with Bark. The site covers hundreds of UK professional services, which allows you to find a match for your requirements. Each customer is asked a series of service-specific questions to determine what work they need to undertake. Once suitable leads are delivered, there is the option to send out a custom bid for the work. 

Behance

Behance is a creative network owned by Adobe. You can find assets, browse inspiration and apply for jobs via the platform. Clients can also use Behance to hire freelancers by browsing the vast directory of creatives. 

Dribbble

Specifically designed with creative professionals in mind, Dribbble allows both designers and clients to search for their ideal partnerships. You can create a portfolio of your work and bid for jobs, while clients can scour the full directory and approach you directly if they like what they see.

Elevate

For the IT contractor crowd, Elevate will cut out the recruiters and place you with the best clients quickly and easily - and with no finder’s fee carved out of your day rate, you’ll probably end up earning more. Upload your CV and receive job matches automatically.

Contently

If you’re a writer, Contently is worth investigating. You might have one of their free portfolios already, but there’s a whole agency set-up lurking behind the scenes, connecting writers with brands looking for content marketing expertise. Rates are usually in the hundreds or thousands of dollars per article, and Contently is worth checking out for its game-changing payment-on-submission alone.

Lemon.io

A specialist developer site that promises to match clients with contractors within 48 hours. Lemon.io lists contractors rather than having clients list jobs. This is an alternative to the traditional bidding method and allows clients to find the contractor with the best skillet for their project. 

OnSite

The private members club of freelance job sites, OnSite is an invite-only network for the digital crowd. Project Managers, Developers, Designers and the like will find quality, curated jobs from top brands and agencies. If they can get in, of course.

Journalism.co.uk

Freelance journos may well frequent Journalism.co.uk anyway, and while their jobs section features mainly permanent positions, there’s a whole other section of the site where freelancers can list their services and location, letting editors quickly find and hire beat-reporters for one-off stories or ongoing work.

YunoJuno

YunoJuno is a popular option on the freelance job site scene and offers high-quality jobs from high-quality clients. A great option for the design and creative crowd, the site promises to (in their words) “cut through the freelancer recruitment forest with a sharp angry axe”.

The tidy little earners

You probably won't hit your ideal day rate, but if you've got some spare capacity you could always find some passable work at one of the following little-earners.

TaskRabbit

If you enjoy completing tasks that others might not, you could make some decent money on TaskRabbit. TaskRabbit is a people-as-a-service website that lets punters hire freelancers for hourly waged or one-off tasks like cleaning, assembling furniture, or even standing in line on their behalf. You can set your own rates - hourly rates of up to £20 aren’t unheard of.

Fiverr

The name of this site gives you a clue as to the value of the jobs on offer - so if you’ve a specific talent or produce that can be sold cheaply and often, you could make some cash on Fiverr. Jobs on offer include designing artwork for weddings, Excel data processing, photo retouching - just about anything!

Upwork

What happens if you mash together Elance and oDesk, two of the biggest freelancer job sites? Well, you get Upwork. That size has pros and cons, though. You’ll have a tremendous client base available to you, but you’ll also be competing with millions of other registered users. The jobs available are also worldwide, and a well-paying job in Bangkok translates to peanuts in Basingstoke. Nonetheless, there’s some good work available if you look hard enough.

PeoplePerHour

A UK-centric spin on the Upwork model, featuring both remote and on-site work, as well as fixed-price projects and “hourlies”. The GBP pricing certainly increases the earning potential, and jobs like £400 for a day of filming aren’t uncommon.

Guru

Guru is another outsourcing site, but it focuses on larger projects rather than bite-size individual jobs. Many of the “gurus” for hire have minimum project values in the tens of thousands of dollars. If you fancy getting your teeth into a big contract, give Guru a look.

Alternatives to freelance job sites

A successful freelancer has their fingers in many pies, so don’t just focus on one way of getting work. Here are some alternative places to find work:

Local networking

Depending on where you live, there’s likely an abundance of opportunities right on your doorstep. If you’re used to working online, you might have forgotten about the power of in-person networking. Search on Google for local networking events and get out and about chatting to local businesses, you never know what a conversation might turn into.

LinkedIn

The professional social network is a vital resource for any freelancer, as many businesses will take to their feeds to ask for recommendations. You can find recent posts looking for contractors by typing your niche or job title into the search bar and sorting results by new. 

You should also look to grow your network with like-minded businesses and contractors offering complimentary services. For example, a web developer will often need the skills of a UX designer, so this is a good way to make acquaintances with those types.

Reach out to past clients and employers

It’s not always about making new connections. Don’t forget to keep in touch with past clients and even previous employers, as they already know how great you are at what you do, and you never know - they might have another project on the horizon. 

Freelancing explained without the jargon

Whatever stage you’re at, the world of freelancing is full of uncertainties. But once you’ve mastered it, freelancing can be the best way to work, giving you the freedom and flexibility to do what you love while living life to the fullest.

Don’t forget to get your accounts in check from day one with CrunchOne. Whether you’re going freelance full-time or starting a side hustle, Crunch’s dedicated sole trader platform can help you take control of your business finances and make the right decisions to help you grow. 

FAQs

Do you have to be registered self employed to bid for work on a freelance job site?

If you are earning money from any of these sites and reside in the UK, you must register as a sole trader. 

Do I need to submit a self-assessment if I am using freelance job sites?

Many of these freelance job sites are registered outside of the UK, but you will still be paid for your work in your bank account, so you will need to pay tax if you earn above a certain threshold. Regardless of your earnings, you will need to submit a self-assessment.

What happens if a client doesn’t pay on a freelance job site?

Each platform has a different process in place. Bidding sites like UpWork will require clients to upload payment, so you don’t have to chase for payment. Your project simply needs to be completed and approved by the client for the funds to be released. However, not all sites are the same, so it’s worth checking each platform’s payment terms before signing up as a contractor so you can have oversight of your cash flow from day one.

Save your seat! Live e-commerce webinar

Register and soak in the wisdom from top industry leader! May 23, 2024 1:30 PM
Dive into e-commerce basics
Expert industry insights
Practical tips and savvy tricks

Speak to an accounting expert

If you're unsure what level of support you need, our friendly team are on hand to help you pick the right package for you.
Self Assessment tax returns done for you, from just £200 £100+VAT
Take the stress out of Sole Trader Accounting, for just 1%+VAT of your money earned. No monthly subscriptions! With CrunchONE
Get 25% Off Crunch Pro and Premium for the first 3 months!
Share this post
Ross Bramble
Content Executive
Updated on
May 8, 2024

Knowledge Hubs

Take control of your accounts, today

Crunch’s effective software package includes being able to talk to an expert client manager and a Chartered Certified Accountant. You can count on Crunch to make you productive and profitable.
Picture of crunch software on mobile

Professional Bio Templates & Examples

Create a compelling professional narrative for a proper, attention-grabbing introduction.
Website bios
Speaker intros
Professional Profile

Unlock Your Free Limited Company Expense Guide!

Expert Insights
Actionable Tips
Strategic Advice

Save your seat! Live e-commerce webinar

Register and soak in the wisdom from top industry leader! May 23, 2024 1:30 PM
Dive into e-commerce basics
Expert industry insights
Practical tips and savvy tricks
Pro Tip
Boost your business finances with our Ltd Company packages!

Award-winning software with support from expert accountants

Pro Tip
Take the stress out of Sole Trader Accounting

Just 1%+VAT of your money earned. No monthly subscriptions! With CrunchONE

Pro Tip
Get 50% off your Self Assessment

Get your tax return sorted by experts for only £100+VAT!

Pro Tip
Using cloud-based accountancy software to manage your finances gives any small business a big advantage!

At Crunch we provide affordable cutting-edge, easy-to-use software with real human support from expert chartered accountants. That’s probably why 81% of our clients would recommend Crunch.

Pro Tip
Did you know - you have access to a Chartered Certified accountant for free on our paid subscriptions?

Book a call with our one accountants and get your questions answered. Just £25.50 +VAT for Crunch Free users.

Pro Tip
Get 50% off your Tax Return!

Crunch’s Self Assessment service provides an expert accountant to complete, check, and file your Self Assessment for you for just £100 +VAT.

Pro Tip
Did you know - We have a free plan that is great for sole traders and limited companies?

Why not see for yourself? It’s simple and easy to use and 100% free.