Odesk and Elance have merged to become Upwork.com and the leader in hiring freelancers and remote tracking software.
However, they’re only focused on short term projects, not long term workers.
(Check out our comprehensive Upwork review.)
At Time Doctor, we’re part what we call the second generation of remote work.
So, we’ve amassed a list of companies that we think have figured this out as well 🙂
Each of these Upwork competitors on the list has their own unique approach to helping companies hire freelancers and remote staff.
We decided to break this down into two categories: Staffing Marketplaces and Time Tracking Software.
Alternatives to the Upwork time tracking software
The other feature of the Upwork platform is time tracking software that tracks time for the freelancer, and verifies work done with screenshots of the person’s computer screen every few minutes. If you’re looking for an alternative to this component of Upwork then this section of the article is for you..
What it is: It’s us!
TimeDoctor is a time tracking software whose mission is to dramatically improve the productivity of teams, reduce time spent on distractions, and help companies to be able to manage remote workers just as if they were in the same office, maintaining a high level of productivity when working remotely.
Our app has similar features to the time tracking software inside Upwork with an option to take screenshots of the person’s computer screen every few minutes.
Once you install our app on your computer, our app will then track how you spend your time online and send you daily reports to monitor your progress and the progress of your team.
Time Tracking, staying productive at work is about getting more done in less time.
When you can accurately track where time is spent in your business, it’s easier to ensure that everyone is working efficiently.
Time Doctor will not only track the total time worked by every person on your team, it will also provide a breakdown on how much time is spent which projects (or clients) and tasks. Time Doctor’s data is accurate to the second, so you easily bill clients or pay employees based on tracked time.
Website and Application Monitoring, giving you detailed insights on how you spend your time so you know where your weaknesses are and can improve them.
Time Doctor silently records application and Internet usage for all users during work time. Managers receive a weekly report outlining which websites and applications were used, and for how long. Individual users receive the same report outlining their own time usage stats.
This report helps to identify productivity issues. For example, if you’re a developer and you’re only spending 10% of your time on development, you can see what’s occupying the rest of your time and make adjustments to get back on track.
Who it’s for: Time Doctor is perfect for one man armies looking to maximize productivity throughout the day as well as fast growth startups (like ours) who need to manage teams across multiple time zones and continents.
What it is: Rescue Time is a product that really focuses on how productive you are and not necessarily how long you’ve worked. It measures the categories of time you’ve worked and gives you a overall productivity ‘score’ based off what it deems as productive use of your time and unproductive use of your time.
You install the app on your computer and it will read all activity on your terminal and give you an overall productivity score. The app is not really designed to be turned on or off but more to run in the background.
General freelancer platforms
General freelancer platforms contain every imaginable kind of freelancer that a business could possibly want. The benefit to the business owner is that this is a one stop shop for outsourcing talent. You can find a video editor, a blogger, a designer and a developer all on one platform.
What it is: Outsourcely is the world’s easiest way to find, hire and work with reliable, vetted remote workers from 132 countries that are looking to build long-term sustainable relationships (short-term freelance projects).
How it works: Search remote workers by skill or post a remote job. Then connect with candidates immediately using real-time private chat, browser to browser video & voice calling, video & voice messaging or just regular email. This makes hiring fast and easy.
Why it’s different: There are a few major differences between Outsourcely and the other talent marketplaces. The first is the talent pool on Outsourcely is mostly looking for long-term remote work, not short-term freelance projects. This is great for employers who are looking to build sustainable working relationships and long-term remote teams.
The second is Outsourcely allows employers to hire workers directly and pay their hires directly. This can save employers thousands in fees the other platforms charge.
The third is how effortless it is to interview and hire talent with their real-time communication tools built right in. For example, you can connect with candidates immediately using private chat, browser to browser video & voice calling, video & voice messaging or just regular email. This makes hiring fast and easy.
Lastly, once you hire on Outsourcely you can also manage your remote team via their built-in Team Workplace platform. You can even invite your existing team to Outsourcely and manage everyone under one roof.
Best of all, Outsourcely is giving all Time Doctor customers a 30% discount. Just enter “staff30” to get 30% off all plans.
What it is: Freelancer.com is a global outsourcing marketplace very similar in function to Upwork, which allows potential employers to post jobs that freelancers can then bid to complete.
Here’s how it works: You post a job and freelancers make bids to complete. You can then compare and select bidders. You pay once you’re satisfied with the work.
Why It’s Different: Depending on your membership type, you will be charged fees once a freelancer accepts your offer.
On Free, Basic and Plus memberships, you pay $3 USD, or 3% of the total project cost, whichever is greater. Standard and Premium memberships don’t pay any project fees, however, they have monthly fees of $49 and $199 respectively.
What it is: Guru lets you find and hire talented freelancers to help you complete a variety of different projects.
Search for services being offered by freelancers that match your needs. They have a global network of 1.5 million freelancers (called guru’s) to help you complete technical, creative or business projects that you have to complete.
You choose a freelancer by evaluating their profile, which includes reviews, recommendations, and testimonials as well as a relevant portfolio.
Why It’s Different: One of the cool features that Guru offers is the ability for the business owner to manage the project without leaving Guru.com because of the built in project manager app.
Within Guru.com, you can create agreements, define milestones and tasks, communicate, and share documents. All of the necessary functions needed in order to complete a project.
Only when the project is completed do you pay for the service.
Who It’s For: Guru is ideal for small and mid-sized business owners who need a one off project like a website, app, or even a blog post.
You have the ability to “shop” for a guru based on price, experience, and reputation. Some of the Guru’s will outprice small businesses, but there can be some real bargains if you search hard enough.
What it is: When you need it done fast and cheap, you go to Fiverr.com. The place where every service is offered for $5.
Whether you need an explainer video, a product description, a proofreader, an email marketing campaign, or a blog post, you can get it on Fiverr.
First, you browse for the type of service that you need. You’ll get a wide array of service providers to choose from. Once you’ve chosen who you wish to work with, you can “order now”.
You upload your project requirements to the Fiverr system and within a few days you’ll have a completed project.
Why It’s Different: Everything is $5. They do allow vendors to upsell other services, but everyone’s base service is exactly $5.
Who It’s For: Fiverr is for anyone who needs to get something done quick and dirty – very, very dirty. Seriously, you get exactly what you pay for.
The discounted rate for which you get the service completed comes at the expense of quality. But, it’s perfect if you’re looking to validate an idea, build a minimum viable product, or have a box to check off and quality isn’t an issue.
What it is: With PeopleperHour.com, you have three options to get started: Browse Hourlies™, fixed price offers ready to start immediately, post a job and let people find you, or search profiles and contact freelancers directly.
Like other marketplaces, PeoplePerHour lets you choose freelancers based on reputation. You can read reviews of past work and hire someone who fits within your budget.
Hourlies, which is PeoplePerHour’s trademark discovery technique allows you to find a service at a fixed price so you don’t have to negotiate or be surprised by the final cost.
Features: Like Guru, PeoplePerHour.com gives you the ability to manage the project, share documents, and pay for the service without ever leaving the platform.
PeoplePerHour also offers a satisfaction guarantee, and you only have to pay for work if you’re satisfied with the final product.
Who it’s for: PeoplePerHour is ideal for small and mid-sized business owners who need a one off project like a website, app, or even a blog post.
You have the ability to “shop” for a freelancer based on price, experience, and reputation. Some of the freelancers will outprice small businesses, but there can be some real bargains if you search hard enough.
What it is: Witmart.com is a Chinese based internet marketplace and workplace for non-physical products including service, designs and digital goods. Together with their sister website zbj.com they are one of the largest crowdsourcing service companies with over 7 million registered users.
The website provides a place where employers can post their service requirements and providers can bid and work on jobs posted by Employers.
Why it’s different: As you might expect, there is a heavy emphasis on Chinese freelancers. While Witmart is touted as a global marketplace, a cursory glance at the site, it’s easy to determine that most of the labor force will be coming from China.
Like other sites, you can open your job posting up to an auction. This will allow the freelancers to compete for your work via a bid. This is especially useful if the task that you’re looking to achieve isn’t critical to the success or failure of your business.
Who it’s for: Witmart is ideal for small and mid-sized business owners who need a one off project like a website, logo, and other marketing and business functions.
You have the ability to “shop” for a freelancer based on price, experience, and reputation in order to help you find the perfect freelancer for your business.
What it is: YouTeam is a Y Combinator-backed marketplace where you can hire developers from trusted agencies of Eastern Europe and Latin America.
How it works: After you share info about the project over a short call, YouTeam managers will source matching software developer profiles available from the company’s talent pool of 20,000 engineers. The average time between contacting YouTeam and having the first interview with developers is 48 hours.
Even after signing a contract with engineers, YouTeam continues helping with negotiations between client and vendor. With YouTeam’s secure payment process, the software development company gets paid only after the client accepts the work.
Why it’s different: The most important difference between YouTeam and other marketplaces is that developers in their talent pool are not freelancers. They all are employed with the top agencies of their countries that manage all questions related to their salaries, vacations, work conditions, etc, so that developers can concentrate on getting the job done. It also means that developers will be fully dedicated to client’s projects, unlike freelancers who may run a couple of projects simultaneously.
Despite the fact that it’s possible to hire a single developer for a short-term project, YouTeam is more focused on building remote software development teams for long-term commitments.
Who It’s For: The majority of YouTeam’s clients are startups and SMBs from the USA and Western Europe. That’s why YouTeam works exclusively with agencies from Latin America and Eastern Europe to give its clients a chance to hire developers with small timezone differences. YouTeam is also a solution for companies that are open to hiring the best talent, no matter where they are located. The company operates a dynamic database that helps them connect companies with great developers who are available really fast.
Specific freelancer marketplaces
Specific freelancer marketplaces focus on one area of expertise such as design, development, or writing.
The benefit to the business owner is there is typically a quality control mechanism on the site. Whether it is a crowdsourced service, or an upsell to work with an account manager, these sites leverage their domain expertise to deliver the highest quality of work.
What it is: Need a new website design? How about a new logo, brand, T-shirt, or even a car wrap design? Then perhaps 99designs can help.
99designs pioneered the marketplace where vendors compete for your cash in the form of a contest. You create a design brief stating what you need. Then you launch a contest to the marketplace. You’ll receive dozens of images, give feedback, and ultimately pick a winner.
Why It’s Different: 99designs offers you two ways to get design done:
- You can start a design contest which allows you to work with dozens of designers before choosing which you like the best.
- Or you can use their “Find a designer” Tool that will help you to find the right designer for your project by filtering per industry, projects and reviewing portfolios.
You can have an idea of what design has been done via the platform in your industry here.
Who it’s for: 99 Designs is perfect for the one off project that you need completed to move your business, brand, or website forward.
With affordable pricing starting at $299, you get to launch a contest and receive approximately 30 designs.
What it is: TopTal.com is a marketplace exclusively used by companies who want to hire software developers. Unlike other tools such as Upwork, there is an extensive screening process that ensures you work with only the best of the best.
You tell TopTal what kind of developer you need to build your software, they find the perfect developer to suit your needs. And the best part of TopTal is that you get to work with the developer risk free.
From their website:
“If, for whatever reason, you are not completely satisfied with an engineer you have been paired with, you will not be liable for any payment, and we can either part ways or we will restart the entire cycle with you at absolutely no cost.”
Why It’s Different: As I said, TopTal’s key feature is it’s sophisticated screening process to make sure you work with the top 3% of all developers who apply to be in their marketplace.
TopTal’s tests include a language and personality test, a timed algorithm test, test screenings, test projects. And all developers must maintain “continued excellence”.
Who it’s For: If you’re a one man army looking to build a MVP to validate your idea, then TopTal is probably not for you. They are one of the most expensive hiring marketplaces on the web. But you pay for quality.
While pricing varies, here are some of the numbers quoted from their FAQ page:
- $1,800 – $3,200+/week per full-time Front-End or Back-End engineer
- $1,000 – $1,600+/week per part-time Front-End or Back-End engineer
- $1,200 – $1,800+/week per full-time Quality Assurance (QA) engineer
- $600 – $1,000+/week per part-time Quality Assurance (QA) engineer
What it is: DesignCrowd is an online marketplace providing logo, website, print and graphic design services by providing access to freelance graphic designers and design studios around the world.
DesignCrowd gives business owners access to a ‘virtual team’ of 467,374 so they can crowdsource designs from some of the best designers from around the world, at a low cost. On average, each design posted by a businss owner can expect to see over 50 designs.
Why it’s different: DesignCrowd is a lot like 99 Designs in that it is a crowdsourcing platform. You submit a project, wait for designs to come in, and then you pick a winner.
However, unlike 99Designs, DesignCrowd gives you the opportunity to guarantee that you’re going to pay a winner.
This might not sound like an advantage to the business owner. Why would you want to guarantee that you’re going to pay?
The positive consequence to this feature is that business owners who have used both 99Designs and DesignCrowd say that because the freelancer knows they won’t be working in gratis, they are much more receptive to your design changes.
Who it’s for: DesignCrowd is perfect for the one off project that you need completed to move your business, brand, or website forward.
The pricing on DesignCrowd is entirely up to the business owner.
What it is: Need a freelance marketplace that caters exclusively to Europe? Then Twago is the marketplace for you. Twago, which stands for Teamwork Across Global Offices, bills itself as the leading platform for online work in Europe has 225,000 experts using its platform to complete projects.
Why it’s different: As mentioned, Twago is built exclusively to cater to the European freelance marketplace.
After that, it works similarly to some of the other sites that were listed here. First, you create a free profile and a job listing that outlines skills needed, requirements, and budget. Once contractors review your job post, they will ask questions, provide feedback, and the most qualified will apply to win your project.
You will then review feedback, answer any questions, and choose the most qualified applicant to get the job done.
You pay through Twago’s system and then finally monitor the job the freelancer is doing.
Who it’s for: Twago is designed for small business owners who need a freelancer to do a one-off job. These jobs can range from a logo design, to building an app, to a complete website redesign.
What it is: Need a new blog post? How about an ebook, email, or even a press release written for your business? Then perhaps Textbroker can help.
Textbroker is a marketplace designed specifically for businesses who need custom content.
With Textbroker Self-Service, you determine the quality level of the content you buy as well as its cost.
Why It’s Different: Textbroker gives you multiple options at multiple price points for small business owners. First, you can purchase content by quality. Content is ranked on a scale of two stars to five stars.
You can also purchase content either by commissioning an individual author, by hiring a team of writers, or by making your order available to over 100,000 proven, qualified authors.
Who it’s for: Textbroker is perfect for small business owners looking to create custom content that will help you reach prospects and clients. With Textbroker, you can brand yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
What it is: crowdSPRING is a marketplace that focuses on logos, graphic design, and company naming. The platform offers you two ways to work.
First, you can crowdsource your project. In other words, post a job and pick your favorite design. Or you can browse through their database of 176,000 designers to find the one that you most want to work with.
Why it’s different: You get to pick from 43 categories including logos, stationery, web design, and even get help naming your company. As the job poster, you get 100% freedom on your price and your deadline.
This is another crowdsourcing platform, however, crowdSPRING boasts an average of 110 entries from designers and freelancers.
Once you’ve found a design that you liked, you can work with the designer to perfect your favorite design. And like many of the other crowdsourcing sites, you’re protected by a 100% money back guarantee.
Who it’s for: crowdSPRING is perfect for the one off project that you need completed to move your business, brand, or website forward.
What it is: FreeeUp is a marketplace to find virtual assistants, freelancers, and agencies in eCommerce and digital marketing. You can quickly find, hire, and start working with experienced and reliable professionals to help you grow your online store, get your products selling on Amazon, create mobile apps, create content, handle your digital marketing strategies, and much more. Freelancer prices range from $5 to $75 per hour with fixed rates available as well.
Here’s how it works: It’s free to create a FreeeUp account and submit job requests. All job requests are reviewed by FreeeUp’s internal team and you are introduced to qualified freelancers one at a time until you find the best fit for your work. Once hired, FreeeUp’s software allows you to track hours billed, manage all of your hires, and pay securely each week.
Why It’s Different: FreeeUp was founded in 2015 after its founders struggled for years hiring from other marketplaces online. They hated the time it took to post a job and interview 20+ applicants before finding the right hire. They also ran into too much turnover and felt left on their own by the marketplaces. They decided they wanted a better solution.
FreeeUp is different in that they:
- Interview and vets thousands of freelancers each week for skills, attitude, and communication then only allows the top 1% into the platform.
- Offer a no turnover guarantee to clients. In the rare case that a freelancer quits, FreeeUp will replace them immediately and cover applicable replacement costs.
- Have a 24/7 support team for both clients and freelancers. They take customer support very seriously and you can always speak with someone from the company.
Local freelancer marketplace
The local freelancer marketplace is relatively new to the scene. These are sites that enable you to hire an individual for housework or if you need an extra set of hands in the office.
What it is: If you need to hire someone local, then TaskRabbit is the platform for you. TaskRabbit allows you to hire people to do a variety of skilled and unskilled labor for your business.
While initially started as a consumer marketplace, TaskRabbit has several useful applications for business. If you need a personal assistant who is local, or a handyman, work on an assembly line, or even someone to be a bartender at the company picnic, TaskRabbit can help.
Why it’s different: Unlike the other platforms, TaskRabbit is entirely local and designed for people who need to hire an extra set of hands.
Who it’s for: TaskRabbit was initially built for the consumer marketplace, and still markets itself extensively as a business to consumer platform. However, small business owners who need additional help that only a local person can do can also take advantage of the service.
What it is: Bidvine connects customers with trusted, local professionals to help them accomplish their projects efficiently and effectively. Whether you’re looking to hire a domestic cleaner, personal trainer, handyman, piano tutor, or you have another project in mind, the professionals on Bidvine offer hundreds of services, so you’re sure to find the right expert for your job.
How it works: When a customer submits a free request, local professionals send bids that detail their skills, areas of expertise, and a quote for the project so customers can easily compare bids to hire the best.
Why it’s different: Bidvine does the legwork for the customer. Easy communication makes hiring simple so that you can get back to doing what you love.
Who it’s for: Bidvine is ideal for individuals looking to hire a local professional to complete their project.
Small task crowdsourcing sites
What it is: Is a crowd-sourcing marketplace owned by Amazon.com that allows you to hire people to perform tasks that computers are currently unable to do.
Amazon calls the businesses and entities who post “Human Intelligence Tasks” as requesters. These tasks include things like writing product descriptions or finding the phone numbers of tech companies.
Workers in the marketplace can browse and complete those tasks within their qualifications in return for monetary payment set by the Requester.
Why It’s Different: Mechanical Turk offers a turnkey solution to get your work done.
You load the task that you want completed and get results from a crowdsourced marketplace. There is little to no interaction with the person (or people) who complete your tasks.
You simply pay when you get the results and system will disburse your funds accordingly.
Who it’s for: Mechanical Turk is perfect for businesses that need jobs completed on an as needed basis. Much of the work that is performed by the workers do not require a lot of task specific training. Therefore, workers can be assigned a task and work can be completed rather quickly.
Let’s be blunt here. Mechanical Turk is the marketplace when you need to hire someone to do the grunt work.
Remote job posting sites
Finally, remote job posting sites are for the companies looking to add employees without adding real estate overhead.
Unlike the freelancer marketplaces which are typically designed for one off projects, remote job posting sites allow you to hire someone who is going to work with your company for a period of months, or even years.
What it is: OnlineJobs.ph is a job board for companies who want to exclusively hire Filipino workers. Because this is a remote job posting site, you will be hiring someone who is going to work with you on an hourly or monthly salary basis. These are not contract workers.
However, if you’re a western company looking to outsource tasks to a highly skilled workforce at a reduced price, then OnlineJobs.ph can help you find the skilled talent needed to scale your company.
Why it’s different: As mentioned, OnlineJobs.ph is designed to help companies find highly skilled Filipino workers. Because the staff will be working from home, you will be able to get an affordable rate. The cost of living is lower in the Philippines than it is in western countries and you don’t have to add real estate and office supply overhead to your business.
At the time of this post, OnlineJobs.ph boasts 85,000 Filipino workers actively looking for employment on the platform.
Who it’s for: OnlineJobs.ph is for startups looking to scale their business by finding high quality talent in the Philippines. The companies who use the platform are looking to add long term team members who will help grow your company over the course of the next year, or more.
Do it yourself options
One of the benefits to using the platforms listed above is that they offer a lot of automation once you hire someone on their platform.
For instance, when you use Upwork, you get a software that will manage the time of your freelancer so that you know that you’re paying them a fair wage.
And with some of the crowdsourcing marketplaces such as 99designs, you’re guaranteed that the work will get completed, or your money back.
Another alternative is to find the person yourself through your own network, either through referrals or through sites like LinkedIn or even Facebook.
I’m sure we missed a few of your favorite Upwork competitors to hire freelancers and remote staff, so we want to hear from you.
In the comments section, tell us what your favorite online staffing marketplace is, and why you love it, and we’ll be sure to include it in our next roundup.
Rob Rawson is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve work productivity and help keep track of what your team is working on, even when working remotely.