Freelance WordPress Developer Service Marketplaces Ranked

Comparing WordPress Service Marketplaces

If you need to hire a freelance WordPress developer you better be looking in the right place. There are many online marketplaces where developers set up profiles to be hired for jobs large and small but not all these marketplaces are equal. As a developer myself, I can tell you that the best developers choose the best marketplaces to pick up new work. That means if you are looking for a developer on the wrong marketplace you could likely end up with a poor developer who is unhappy to be working for you. Alternatively, if you are selecting a developer from the best marketplace you are more likely to find a successful developer who loves taking on new clients and work through that marketplace.

In this post, I want to dive into some of the pros and cons of the different WordPress development marketplaces to give other developers and clients a better idea of where to look for work or talent. I’ve interviewed a handful of my associates who are also freelance WordPress developers to get a better idea of their experiences on the various service marketplaces out there today. My general findings are that there are actually very very few marketplaces where the best developers enjoy getting new work from. This means if you are looking to hire a new developer you want to make sure you are going to the right place so that you aren’t working with a developer who hates their life which is no fun for anyone.

As you continue to read through this post you’ll be inclined to think I’m being a little biased based on my conclusions but I assure you I’m not the only developer who agrees with what I’ve wrote below. It’s also going to seem like I am bashing some of these companies which is not my intent at all but instead raising my doubts that have shaped my opinions, please take my comments with a grain of salt.

Best WordPress Service Marketplaces Reviewed and Ranked

1. Codeable

Codeable.io is hands down the very best marketplace for finding a top-notch WordPress developer for your task/job/project large or small. As a developer, I have never seen anything like it from my perspective or the clients perspective. I wrote another post, Considering Codeable.io? Developer Q&A with New Client, which you should read that gives a ton of information on how Codeable works.

I want to elaborate here on why if you ask any developer who freelances on codeable why they agree codeable is the very best WordPress freelance marketplace for outsourcing your WordPress development work. I recently did a video interview which will be published soon for a content series Codeable is producing called ‘Changing Lives’ that I will post here but you should also hear from three of my Codeable developer associates who have already been featured:

Changing lives: Alexandra Spalato
Changing lives: Nathan Reimnitz
Changing lives: Spyros Vlachopoulos

Update: My Changing Lives Interview Video.

These interviews showcase what a very happy developer looks like. Happy developers = happy clients. Think of it as related to any other industry… have you ever received service from someone you know hates their job? How was that service? Developers at Codeable love their job because Codeable makes it easy for them to do a really great job and be compensated fairly.

Codeable does not support ‘bidding’ like most marketplace which is simply a race to the bottom, not good for developer or client. Instead, Codeable developers are only allowed to ‘estimate’ a task in which they know they can complete for the client at 100% satisfaction. These estimates are averaged together which is the price the client sees making sure the estimates are fair for both parties.

There are many other aspects to the Codeable platform that I described in my other post and can be heard in the interviews posted above that put Codeable a notch above the rest. If that’s not enough for you then I suggest you watch this interview by Patrick Rauland of speakinginbytes.com with Per Esbensen, Codeable co-founder and CEO, that although slightly dated really puts a nice punctuation mark on my comments above:

2. There is no equal to Codeable.

When ranking the WordPress service marketplaces it was extremely difficult to decide who to put at #2. So difficult, I decided it would serve the reader best to just re-iterate how much better Codeable is than any other option out there for finding a high-quality WordPress developer.

In all honesty, each of the following WordPress service marketplaces I would not even put in the same category as Codeable. Each marketplace below has a different approach to how they set up the client/developer relationship which makes them all unique but not necessarily better than one another.

Codeable truly values their hand-selected and time-tested team of expert WordPress developers and puts them first, ahead of clients. You might think it’s crazy but it shouldn’t be news to you that the client is NOT always right. Codeable goes above and beyond to protect their developers from abusive clients and have systems in place to keep their developers happy. I’ve never seen this level of support for the developer from any other platform or service marketplace out there.

3. Upwork (formerly oDesk)

The elephant in the room earned the 3rd place on my list here but not because they are the best but because they are the most well-known. Many of the best developers I’ve spoken with have at some point done work through Upwork but they have since started working for Codeable they no longer bother with bidding on jobs at oDesk.

It doesn’t take much to see the problems with Upwork, just post a task on there and you will see. Sure, you’ll likely get a much cheaper estimate than most service marketplaces but that doesn’t come without a greater cost down the road. Have you ever heard the saying “Price buyers are twice buyers.”? Well, that holds especially true with Upwork because many clients will simply choose the lowest bid that looks good to them. This results in a “race to the bottom” for developers on who can post the lowest bid the fastest gets the job. As a developer who focuses on quality above all else, I’ve vowed to never compete on price because I believe developers are expert practitioners.  You can read more background on my beliefs about this in a book review of The Win Without Pitching I wrote here.

I’ve got word from my associates that Upwork is actually starting a program called Upwork Pro that will be more of a curated marketplace with only the best developers. The problem with this though is that ‘the best’ developers for them are the ones who have already proven themselves on Upwork by being the best at the race to the bottom while still satisfying clients. Client satisfaction with high-quality work is everything but I just can’t see Upwork being able to bridge this gap even with their re-branding. Why did Upwork re-brand from oDesk anyway? Perhaps I could suggest because their reputation was not the best as oDesk, but they say it’s because of a bunch of new features, features that don’t really help me as a developer.

4. Envato Studio

Envato Studio has a great reputation but a different approach. You can read about how Envato Studio works but the gist of it is that you select talent(developers) than supply the brief. This is a client-centric approach in that the client gets to pick who they want to give a chance to see their brief then decide to hire or not. This same setup is also available on Codeable with ‘preferred contractors’ but the problem here is that the developer may have no interest in taking on your project based on their availability, your brief, or a multitude of other reasons. A developer-centric approach would be that the client posts a brief that developers can review and decide if they want to ask questions or estimate.

When I get selected as a ‘preferred contractor’ I rarely ever actually take on the development job if it’s for a new client. I have a good eye for spotting briefs that fit my skill set or not. So more often than not I’m faced with having to explain to the client why I am unable to take-on or estimate their job because I was never interested in the first place. This is a big waste of time for me and the client.

I should note I did apply to be a web development provider for Envato Studio but never heard back other than the confirmation they received my application.

5. peopleperhour

My associates informed me that this marketplace has lots of good things going for it. It’s pretty straight forward as developers are able to offer “hourlies” they call it where you can hire by the hour.

I just applied for a profile here and was advised it would be reviewed within 3 days. My assumption is that this is a great service marketplace but you can’t expect work to just come to you through it. I’ll add more here once I have a chance to get my hands dirty on the platform.

Update: I was ‘Approved’ about 12-hours after submitting my application. Thing sounds really promising, “we are delighted to welcome you to the highest quality freelance marketplace online today” looking forward to getting started.

What impressed me the most is that similar to Codeable, they use a ‘trial period’ with certain requirements which they’ve actually defined for me and included some tips. re:

we expect new Freelancers to complete two separate projects and receive a 4+ rating from Buyers within the first three months of joining.  PeoplePerHour will facilitate by promoting you to different Buyers and routing you only the most relevant jobs.

We’ll see how it goes. The platform is really well-design and has a cool user experience.

Looks like there are currently 557 WordPress developers on PPH… Codeable has about 100 active or so which means less competition between developers (there is actually no competition on Codeable).

Another Update: Attempting to land my first job there has proven much more difficult than Codeable. The briefs from clients are much less quality. When I attempt to ask questions on the ‘clarification board’ it tells me I’m not allowed to ask questions until I submit 3 proposals first? How backward is that? How can I submit a proposal if the task is not clarified? For example, this task was for a WordPress migration but the client stated nothing about if e-mails were involved or what the current site URL is to see size of site…

Error

Furthermore, when I try to submit proposals, although my settings are to use USD it asks for my proposal in Euros…

6. Toptal

Toptal claims “Hire the top 3% of freelance talent” which actually translates to the 3% who actually complete their screening process. I’ve spoken to a handful of some of the best WordPress developers in the world who all told me they closed their application with Toptal before completing it because the screening requirements were “impersonal” and “unrelated to real-world applications”. These are developers who make regular commits to WordPress core, esteemed theme & plugin builders, and names you’d likely recognize from very helpful/informative articles across the web. And NONE of these guys I spoke with actually want to work for Toptal or bothered completing the screening process. So just be warned you are not actually getting the top 3% of freelance talent.

I also applied for Toptal just to see for myself and had exactly the same experience eventually providing my feedback for them which you may read below:

  1. Nowhere could I find the benefits of working at Toptal in terms of compensation. Although there are many other great benefits. They say you choose your own rate as a developer but when searching web forums you find Toptal developers who disagree saying their rates were dictated by Toptal. Not sure why they can’t just be transparent about this and post on their site how developer compensation actually works.
  2. I’ve heard multiple reports of developers not being supported by Toptal if a project starts off on the wrong foot. Gotta stand behind your developers Toptal support.
  3. Skills test, and application process in general, appear to be relatively time-consuming and in my opinion a very poor way of evaluating what makes a great developer.

Lastly, as a developer, I want to work for awesome companies and awesome people. This post has haunted Toptal for a while now: http://yuriybabenko.com/blog/my-experience-joining-toptal and you can see the CEO has created a PR mess for himself in the comments there. And if you want to hear more from actual Toptal developers you can read here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10107448

What’s funny to me here is at the time of writing they are actually looking to hire a ‘Head of Public Relations’ position: http://www.toptal.com/careers/head-of-public-relations which I’m normally not a huge fan of “PR” in general but in this case, would do wonders for the company.

7. GoDaddy Pro Marketplace (Elto)

They are still young and I do have high hopes from GoDaddy with this service marketplace. Their deal is “Find an expert WordPress freelancer for any project. Get three free, no-obligation quotes from expert WordPress freelancers.” which seems like a pretty neat service from a trusted name.

GoDaddy bought Elto, which my associates don’t have good things to say about that old platform. But we’ll see what GoDaddy does with it…

I applied as a “pro” with GoDaddy and took a few of their tests and found the test to be very poor in terms of what actually makes a great freelancer or WordPress developer. It seems as though I was not approved for some unknown reason. I see other developers who were approved although they are only ‘familiar’ with WordPress according to their test results you can see the directory here: https://marketplace.godaddy.com/directory

I think the platform is just still young and thinks they are working on it to improve and this might be a good marketplace in the future. If only I knew why I wasn’t approved seeing as 100% of my tasks on Codeable have been rated by the client with 5 of 5 stars… I like to think I’m qualified but I guess not.

It’s cool they choose 3 developers for you based on your brief you submit through their form. But inherently this has the same problem as Envato Studio above in that the developer may be too busy or have no desire to take on the project. Shouldn’t the developer be the one to decide if they are able to do a great job for the client? I know every time I have to convince myself to take on a job I usually regret it and wish I had said no to enable me to say yes to the right job.

8. Gigster

Name dropping

Source: http://imgur.com/gallery/gU9oj

Seemingly newer on the scene, but not to be ignored, is Gigster claiming “Gigster connects you with Silicon Valley based product managers and top 1% software developers from our vetted talent pool.”

Some really innovative aspects of this platform is an artificial intelligence engine and project managers manage jobs not client throughout the entire development process. You can learn more about Gigster in this TechCrunch article. Comments on that article tell a good story as well.

I have not applied here yet as I don’t see myself working for this company based on the claim above. I’m actually just confused… top 1% from their vetted talent pool? So they have a pool of software developers but only connect people with the top 1% of those?

Sure ‘Silicon Valley’ is a buzzword for big tech but just because your ‘based’ out of the Silicon Valley really has no relation to being good at managing projects. But they do deserve credit for their innovation and I would ‘venture’ to guess they produce some high-quality work from happy developers.

9. Fiverr

Fiverr can be great for some things. WordPress services… not so much. Here you can browse all their ‘gigs’ available starting at just $5:

https://www.fiverr.com/categories/programming-tech/wordpress-services/

I’ve added Fiverr here to provide some perspective on the low-end of things. I think Fiverr has a great business model and really recommend you check out the platform if you never have.

I just don’t know if I’d trust someone to fix, speed up, or work my site for $5.

Conclusion

I’ll update this post as time goes on to make it more informative but I hope you’ve found it resourceful. I’m sure some of the companies mentioned will not be exactly stoked on my review. I was extremely motivated to write this post position Codeable the way I have as compared to the other WordPress service marketplaces. I’ve never heard of any other platform where the developers are as truly happy as my associates on Codeable. As for the clients, the key performance indicators listed on Codeable’s homepage are a true testament to what you will experience there. 98.9% of all tasks rated with 5 of 5 stars. You can view my profile on Codeable here: https://codeable.io/developers/raleigh-leslie/

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