Are freelancer bidding sites worth your time?


I’m doing an experiment to find out. I’ve signed up for bidding sites in the past but never took them seriously, branding them just a little above contest sites. Sure, you don’t work for free but from what I’ve seen, you work for cheap. While I believe that price shouldn’t be the major determining factor in hiring a designer, maybe I can be more open to these sites now as one way to build a portfolio and real work experience for those just starting out, but we’ll see.

The Rules

For the test, I’ll be using since it seems to be the most popular one around. Except for my usual rates and work hours, my other guidelines apply—I will not bid on projects
  • asking for spec work
  • asking for X concepts and X revisions
  • that go against my ethics
I will require a deposit (they call it “milestone”) and if selected, I will limit the hours (uh…1 hour?) I will spend on the project.

The Plan

Since I can’t spend too much time on this, I’m stretching it over a few days with time limits each. Here’s the plan:

Day 1 – Create profile

I created a username, a logo and filled in some basic information. I only put down logo and graphic design as my expertise. allows up to 20 skills and you can take exams at $5 each. Never mind.

Day 2 – Create portfolio

I’m not being “totally real” here so I don’t want to put in my real projects. Up to 5 items are allowed for a free membership, more if you want to pay monthly fees of $4.95, $24.95 or $49.95. I’m doing free so I initially planned to quickly create 5 logos for fictional projects. Interestingly, I checked out the profiles of a few of the top freelancers (more than one thousand projects completed) and there was nothing in their portfolios! I stopped at three logos.

Day 3 – Bid on projects

Free membership allows only up to 10 bids a month. I plan to use up those bids in one day with the following specifics:

Bid 1: Minimum budget to be completed in 1 day
Bid 2: Minimum budget plus $5 in 2 days
Bid 3: Minimum budget plus $10 in 3 days
Bid 4: Average bid plus $5 in 1 day
Bid 5: Average bid plus $10 in 2 days
Bid 6: Average bid plus $15 in 3 days
Bid 7: Average bid plus $20 in 4 days
Bid 8: Maximum budget less $10 in 1 day
Bid 9: Maximum budget less $5 in 2 days
Bid 10: Maximum budget in 3 days

Days 4-7 – Await results

The clients have up to a week to choose a bidder so by next week, I will be able to report some results. I can’t believe I’m actually excited ha-ha. I may not even win any bids but that would be just fine. I’ll have some sort of analysis to guide the beginning designer in deciding if bidding is worth it, even just for starters.

I’m off to doing the bids now. Why don’t you add me to your reader so you won’t miss out on the results.


  • June 6th, 2012 /

3 Comments to “Are freelancer bidding sites worth your time?”

  1. Sheila says:

    Fascinating. Thanks for being the guinea pig, I’ve always *wondered* about these bidding sites but was never morbidly curious enough to brave them.

    Whenever I visit those sites I always get depressed, especially after someone bids a job at $19 for 3 logo concepts, an identity package with 5 revisions, and a website 😉

    I wish you luck, and I look forward to hearing the results!

  2. Grace Oris says:

    Thanks Sheila! I had to condition myself first not to be too critical of the low budgets and the clients these sites attract. I’m pretending to be new to online freelancing all over again 🙂

  3. Completely agree and with your follow-up response. I have signed up for several freelancer sites and haven’t come across any new clients either. It’s difficult to risk spending hours submitting bids to ‘maybe’ come up with an insanely cheap job and a picky client–not a good practice for all I can tell. Extremely disheartening to be taken advantage of and make people think they can get good design so inexpensively.