PeoplePerHour.com is a services marketplace, where employers come to find talented freelance professionals across all disciplines to outsource work to reliably and with accountability.
In theory People Per Hour is the perfect solution for both freelancers looking for new commissions and companies looking for freelancers alike.
The way it works is simple, companies add their briefs to the website and then the freelancer is able to bid on the job. The company then gets to choose which bid they like the best. In a lot of ways it has much the same principle as ebay, only the bounty at the end of this journey is commissioned work rather than a spangly new cardigan. To the layman, a bid is a proposal.
The sectors it covers include IT/Web/Programming, Design, Writing/Translation, Admin/Secretarial, Accounting/Legal, Marketing/Sales/PR, Telesales. It's free for companies to post jobs and up to a point it's free to bid - However, the freelancer has to pay PPH a 10% commission on completion. Still, not a bad prospect considering it's work one would otherwise not have.
As a freelance designer myself, I've found PPH a useful resource when looking for ways to enhance my working repertoire. It certainly won't make me rich but it does have its obvious benefits.
To get going, one simply creates a profile by adding a photo and personal details including experience in their relevant industry. There is also an opportunity to rate ones own skills and where appropriate you can upload examples of work to create your own portfolio.
As with a lot of these kind of sites, there are 3 options comprising of the 'standard' free option, followed by the 'gold' and 'platinum' options, both of which have a monthly subscription each offering different 'benefits' over the free option.
Generally the site is intuitive and relatively easy to navigate. Its handy dashboard view allows one to have a straightforward overview of their account including messages, Job status, bidding status, their watchlist, payments and general settings. There's even concise videos giving overviews of the site.
As a user of the PPH site, my first gripe is with the limited file upload limit that comes in at a measly 1mb! Ok, I can deal with this when it comes to attaching further work examples that compliment my bid, but when it comes to sending final artwork to clients, and lets face it, this is a must, more often than not this tiny limit is exceeded. This is obviously a large pitfall, especially as PPH frown upon one corresponding with the client away from the site. You can even find yourself having your account closed. The simple answer would be to upgrade to the 'gold' and 'platinum' options which allow for a larger upload limit. However, this seems slightly excessive as there's actually no guarantees of wining the bid in the first place.
I should also mention that if like me, the user has the basic account, they are automatically given 10 free bidding credits per month. However, should they want to exceed this limit they have to purchase a minimum of 10 more bids. I find this fact rather unfair and somewhat annoying because PPH already take 10% of all the money one makes anyway; isn't this enough? Their answer to that would probably be to upgrade to one of the paid accounts that offer lower percentage deductions from job payments. That's fine but is it worth taking the risk of paying a monthly premium when ultimately one could end up not actually winning any bids?
In terms of job security, PPH do have a good system set up for making and receiving payments. When the freelancer places their bid, they can state how much they require as a deposit. PPH recommend at least 50% of the final fee. The freelancer isn't expected or advised to start the work until the deposit has been paid into the Escru account. The money stays in there until the job is completed. At no point before the work is finished, can the freelancer access the money, so it gives security to both parties. This certainly takes away the fear that one will do the work and never see the money. So a big thumbs up for that feature.
Another feature that I find useful is the daily email alerts. I basically get an email every time new briefs are published for bidding. In my profile I have already stipulated the categories I am interested in bidding on, so everything in the emails is relevant. If I don't have time to bid, I can simply add any jobs I like the look of to my watchlist; another useful feature.
The style is very clean and functional with its overruling white background juxtaposed against its orange and blue logo. As previously mentioned the illustrative tutorial/overview videos have been well executed and do the job well. The site certainly won't win any design awards, it is what it is.
From the point of view of a business looking to appoint a freelancer, PPH is a great concept. No one in business will turn their nose up at the concept of a virtual workforce that one can dip into when needed, it's certainly a more cost effective solution than employing staff, especially as this privilege also comes without any extra costs to the business.
However, as a freelancer I would say there is a fundamental problem with this site.The amounts that the clients are offering are often very low, I've even experienced cases where the amount offered for the work required would come in under the national minimum wage!
I would say there is an obvious reason for the low prices offered: It stands to reason that a site based in the UK is going to attract a high percentage of UK freelancers. However, the jobs are also open to freelancers worldwide. So what appears to be happening is that a lot of the businesses have latched onto the fact that in various countries, the bidders are more than happy to do the work for considerably lower prices, as they reflect favorably against their own economies.
If they know there's people out there prepared to do the work a lot cheaper, they will obviously offer a fraction of the budget; ultimately it's their prerogative who they give work to, and after all, business is business isn't it?
However, for western designers it's a huge worry as it's sites like this that can make it increasingly harder to get the clients who are prepared to pay the going price for good, skilled, experienced workers.
I guess the moral of this one is to use the site cautiously and don't see it as the answer to filling ones client diary with highly paid commissions. Be warned!