Freelancing websites play a perfect role in connecting clients in need of getting projects done and freelancers, from all over the world, who are willing to provide services and get paid. For two sides to come together, freelancers can bid for any potential projects and clients will pick the most suitable one for their projects.
Having the intention of building a freelancing site, you must be wondering what steps you should take to realize your idea and bring it online. This is also the topic I’ll be covering shortly. But before that, I will talk about freelance marketplace concept as well as niche markets for your business.
Bid-based freelance marketplace
Freelance websites like Guru, Elance, and Upwork use reverse bidding as the operating concept for their marketplace. What is it?
Let’s first mention ordinary bidding (auction) in which buyers will compete by offering high price to get a good or service. The buyer paying the highest price wins. In reverse bidding, seller and buyer roles are interchanged. Sellers are the bidders. Buyers will consider among different bids and decide which to pick. The chosen seller doesn’t need to be the one offering the lowest price.
Similarly, in a freelance site, when a client posts a project, multiple freelancers will bid for that project. Client will then pick up the freelancer he thinks is the most suitable.
How this concept works on a freelance site?
In the first place, a client will sign up on your site and post a project with detailed description, requirements, estimated budget and time.
Then, freelancers on site browse through the page and find this project. If they are interested, they can bid for the project, offer price and give estimated time of completion. Besides, the client can invite their favorite freelancers to bid for the project.
Client will review each bid offer and have a look at bidders’ profiles (portfolio, working experience, reviews and ratings on site). Based on such evidence, client will choose a suitable bidder and accept the bid. After that, he makes the payment which is held by site admin and will be transferred to freelancer upon project completion.
During the project, client and freelancer can communicate and exchange information via private chat box on site. Website admin can control the project progress by management tools.
Once the project is finished, freelancers will get paid for their services.
Choose a niche market for your business
You may have the question that if the market already has many freelancing sites, why you should join in! Well, while above mentioned successful freelance bidding sites go global covering multiple industries in various regions, you can avoid the severe battle by going small. This is the strategy I think small and medium businesses should consider. The approach could come from two aspects: geography and industry. The former concerns with the range of regions where services are provided, whereas the latter is types of goods and services available on site. Normally, a broader range means more work, larger budgets, and more difficulty.
With some unique features, it’s not an impossible mission for you to create an outstanding freelance website. It can be a place dedicated to WordPress related stuffs only where people post projects about WordPress and freelancers with proficient WordPress skills will offer services on your site. Moreover, you can build a bidding site for users in your city only. Local people posts their requirements and freelancers living nearby who find these projects interesting will bid for them.
Think of must-have functions for your freelance bidding site
To make your bidding site seem as what it is, build its skeleton in which the most basic and important elements are considered in the first place. For instance, you implement several functions on site but leave bidding function for later. It’s not the way you do it as your site cannot be seen as a bidding site without its typical feature. Below is a list of some necessary functions in a freelance bidding website.
- Signup & User Profile
Projects on your site can be viewed by visitors. However, to do certain tasks, visitors are required to sign up and become a member. Only logged-in users can view private contents, submit projects (client role), bid for projects (freelancer role), make payments, contact with clients or freelancers.
User profiles for two roles should have two distinct design as freelancers might have other things to showcase. In a freelancer profile, fields needed include self description, experience, category, skills, portfolio, reviews and ratings. In profile space of clients, there’s no portfolio, category or skills. Instead, clients will need the ability to manage his projects. Specifically, submitted projects are listed with details about budget, working freelancer, date and time, service delivery. Also, clients can edit, pause, archive or delete any project. Moreover, he can post a project from here and control bidding offers from freelancers.
- Project Submission
This is of course a must have function on a freelance site. Clients needing jobs done will submit a project with job title, detailed description, estimated budget, required skills, project category, any attachment, etc. Next, site admin will review the project content and approve for the project to be published on site. From this time, freelancers can browse for projects and apply.
To make money from this function, you can ask clients to buy a package with which they can post 15 projects in a specified period of time.
- Project Bidding
This is the reverse bidding concept mentioned at the beginning. With every project posted, clients hope to employ the best freelancer to do the job. The bidding function helps clients attract potential freelancers. A bidding form is expected to have project detailed offer in which freelancers outline their plan to execute the project, price, project duration and attachment.
For admin, to monetize from this function, freelancers will have to pay for each bid made. Freelancers can buy a package allowing for 10 bids for example.
Clients can invite specific freelancers to bid for the projects to increase the rate of choosing the best freelancer.
- Private Message
Effective communication is the key to success. A private chat space will boost the interaction between client and freelancer, clear any job requirements to produce the best outcome. Every time a new conversation is initiated, a notification email is sent to the receiver. Users can send text message, attach any necessary files from this.
- Project Management
Now that the project is started, freelancer will embark on the task. During this period, you should provide both parties – client and freelancer – a tool to track the progress and manage the overall project.
Milestone is used to break the project into smaller stages. Each milestone has a deadline and different statuses. Upon completing a single milestone, freelancer will deliver the result and change that milestone’s status to Completed for example. Client will review and change the milestone status accordingly. If he is satisfied with the delivery, it is changed to Finished and freelancer will move onto other milestones. Otherwise, client will reopen the milestone and freelancer has to work more on it.
In case conflict happens, both parties have the right to send a dispute to you. You are the judge to decide who wins and gets the money. To make this decision, you can access to all information and material exchanged between the two on your platform, such as message, any files, milestone, etc.
- Project Payment
Provide popular payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout or the ones frequently used in your local.
In this freelance model, after client makes payment for a project, the money is not directly transferred to freelancer to avoid the situation in which freelancer might get away without completing the task or not do his best for the project. Therefore, the payment from client is withheld by you – the third party between client and freelancer. Escrow system is a good solution. Once the project is finished, money is automatically released to freelancer.
Technically prepare for these things
- Domain: Get for your site a name. You can read some tips here on how to choose a good domain name.
- Hosting provider: After domain, hosting service is what you need for online presence. Choosing a good provider to host your website helps avoid server downtime and ensure fast loading time.
- WordPress: This is by far the most popular content management system. Unless you aim to build a global business with tens of thousands of customers per day, WordPress is an effective platform for you to get started.
- Premium Freelance Theme: Currently, there are some freelance bidding WordPress themes available on the market. Do a research and explore pros as well as cons of each theme to choose a suitable theme for your needs.
Take a look at FreelanceEngine Theme
FreelanceEngine is a powerful WordPress bidding theme for freelance marketplace. Main benefits include:
- Powerful Income Tool: There are multiple ways to make profits from your freelance marketplace website. You can charge fees for posting jobs, featuring jobs with ads included, and take commission fees of each project via Escrow system.
- Safe, easy project bidding and transaction: With Escrow system, freelancers can effortlessly bid for favorite tasks while clients can invite specific freelancers to bid, and everyone can be secure in the knowledge that all the money is safe with this system.
- Highly customizable without coding knowledge: FreelanceEngine Team dives deep to produce the best and highly customizable theme for you and ensure a smooth user flow. Build any layout you can imagine with intuitive drag and drop editor – no programming knowledge required.
- More exciting features: Besides, FreelanceEngine has tons of supportive features to help you build a great freelancing bidding website.
Writing this post, I hope to provide you an overview of general steps to build a freelance bidding website for your business. It is to understand how the bidding concept works on freelance platform, then determine your niche market, dig into major functions you’re gonna bring on site, find out technical requirements for an online business, and buy a premium freelance WordPress theme working along well with your strategy.
Featured image by Freepik.